The original “Stoos 21” selected Amsterdam and 6+7 July for the next event of the Stoos Network. And then I stepped forward to try and make it happen by being a Management 3.0 leader…
The team that organized the Stoos Stampede didn’t need to be empowered. There is no authority responsible for the Stoos brand, therefore anyone can empower themselves to organize an event under that name. (The public will decide if what you do also makes sense.)
We decided to experiment with a format in between open space and regular conferences. An issue with “normal” open space unconferences is that sessions are proposed only at the start of the event. This means that attendees have no idea what will be discussed during the event and cannot prepare for the sessions. The issue with “normal” conferences is that they allow people to prepare, but they leave very little room for improvisation and self-organization. We hoped to have the best of both worlds with a format in between these two extremes.
This was just one a number of choices we made. Other decisions included the choice of an old church monument instead of a conference hotel, session leaders instead of speakers, a program wall instead of a program guide, and buttons instead of badges.
We hoped that the attendees would self-organize as well. The location, in Amsterdam city center, was specifically selected to allow for spontaneous gatherings in Amsterdam’s many lunch rooms and restaurants. The venue itself enabled people to gather spontaneously in the bar, on the balconies, in the foyer, and in the big hall. And we specifically decided against printing a static program guide, so that people felt free to change, add, and delete sessions on the fly. By having a central program wall in the foyer we enabled people to take ownership of the program.
As I said on Friday morning when the event started, “The organizers are done. Now the participants should take over.”
And they did. (With a little help from Deborah Hartman-Preuss!)
The second view of Management 3.0 is Empower Teams. Smart managers understand you get the best results when people can take ownership of the outcome and make decisions together at the last responsible moment.