I've been pondering the initiation of a series of semi-structured
discussion events at Hive13. I don't have a better name than "salon"
right now, but I'm soliciting your feedback.
I think some of the best times at the hive are when we get a chance to
just talk, debate, riff, bullshit, ponder, and propose crazy ideas. I
know we've talked about doing lightning talks or five minutes of fame
in the past and it's never seemed to pan out. I'm trying to think of
a way to make a little bit of structure around it - just enough so
that it becomes its own thing, not just random conversations. I don't
know if this will be possible or not. There are many different
directions we could go.
I think it would be enjoyable to have some sort of regular discussion
group with specific topics that we find interesting. I'd like it to
be a little bit more structured than just "show up and see what people
feel like talking about". One way to go would be to have some sort of
pre-assigned blog post or news item (or book) for people to read ahead
of time and then we can discuss that. Another way to go would be to
have individuals commit to giving short talks ("lightning talks",
"Five Minutes of Fame") and then we can discuss that.
Another variable to consider is when to hold these discussions. We
could have them on Tuesdays after the meeting, or we could do them
some other night of the week. Doing them on Tuesdays is nice because
lots of people are there, but Tuesdays are also bad because lots of
people are there and everyone is distracted. Another night of the
week might work since it might bring people in for a specific purpose
and would be less hectic, but other nights are bad because many people
only make it to the hive one night per week and choose to make Tuesday
their one night.
Another variable would be how many talks to do at once. One way to do
it would be the traditional "lightning talk" format where a number
(say 5 or 10) people all talk for a very short time consecutively.
Another way would be to space them out over the course of the month so
that on any given night there is just one talk/topic to talk about.
If we do a lot of topics on one night, we'd probably do it once every
month or two. If we did one topic per night, we might be able to do
one every week.
So, the two concrete proposals I've sort of come up with are as
follows. Definitely there are many ways these could be tweaked
depending on what others think.
Proposal #1: One Monday of the month is "Meta/Meme/Salon Night"
instead of Fab Lab Night. A topic is proposed at least a week in
advance and people can read up, then show up and discuss. The agenda
would include starting with a summary of the idea, what makes it
interesting, etc, followed by discussion.
Proposal #2: Every Tuesday night, after the business meeting, there
will be a talk or demo about something someone finds interesting. The
topic should make it onto the agenda before (or worst case during) the
meeting so that it can be announced to attendees. Tours of the space
that traditionally occur at this time would probably be delayed until
after the talk/demo.
Anyway, it's just an idea I've had rolling around in my head and I'm
trying to figure out a way to make it work. I just don't know what
will work best. I'm willing to put in some organizational work and
pick out a handful of topics to talk about. At the same time I don't
want it to turn into cat-herding where either it's too hard to get
everyone together at one time, or it's too hard to get topics that
people feel like talking about. Historical evidence seems to suggest
that this might be what will end up happening, but I just wanted to
start the conversation again and see what others think.