IIW uses the Open Space Technology process for self-organizing the conference. The importance of all of this is often unclear to the newcomer, but people come around, as they come to understand that there rules generate a conference that works much like the hallways and bars in traditional conferences. The whole thing becomes a great swirling stew of fascinating interlocking conversations, and real work comes out of it.
This starts with four principles:
1. Whoever comes are the right people. These people came to this session because they wanted to be here. The mix of opinions, ideas, and questions that result are exactly what we are hoping for.
2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have. These sessions are generative. What happens is not always what you thought might happen, but that’s ok! Let go of your expectations and enjoy the flow of ideas.
3. Whenever it starts is the right time. Start on time, even if you are expecting more people. Someone may join mid-way through, and that’s ok.
4. Whenever it’s over it’s over. We give over the space to the next sessions on time. If you are still in the middle of a great conversation, move somewhere, or schedule a follow-up. If the conversation is over, or the part that interests you is done, then you may leave.
Plus, the important Law of Two Feet:
You have both Mobility and Responsibility! Move around if you like. if a conversation isn’t interesting, just move. It’s common that there is several interesting sessions at the same time slot — move around, sample and enjoy.
Book of Proceedings:
Every IIW generates a Book of Proceedings, containing the notes from every session. it’s important that someone at each session takes notes. There is a simple, standard format for the notes, to include the sessions number, location, convener, title and note-taker.