Facilitator of a freeform interactive session on the rough topic of “Doing more with less”, Elizabeth Whyte is looking for volunteers…


We hope you have had a chance to thoroughly familiarise yourself with the LIANZA 2009 Conference programme and that you’ve lined up an interesting few days for yourself.  If you haven’t looked at it already, we’d like to draw your attention to the ‘What Would You Do? – Doing More with Less’ session on Tuesday afternoon.  This has the potential to be a highly interactive and thought-provoking hour and a half where ideas are thrown up, spun around, and looked at from fresh new angles.

However, to ensure success we need to have presenters!

Have you already decided what you’d like to talk about? Would you be prepared to jump up and present on something dear to your heart?  Or, have you got a question or issue you’d like to pose to your audience of participants? Maybe they will have some solutions or even just a new and different way to approach it.

If any of the above sounds like you, please get in touch with either Paul Sutherland (paul.sutherland@ccc.govt.nz) or Elizabeth Whyte (whytee@cpit.ac.nz) by Wednesday, 7 October. Don’t worry if your idea is not fully-formed or even if you don’t have all of the answers. Remember, these presentations are short and snappy conversation starters.

The only ‘rules’ we have are that each presentation must be no more than 5 minutes. If you’d like to use PowerPoint slides, maybe follow the Pecha Kucha formula and use only five:  1 minute per slide = 5 slides. These are not restrictions to make it difficult for you. They are a way to help you distil an idea or issue quickly and succinctly. You’ll have a chance to discuss more once the session breaks out.  Think of it as a doing more with less kind of approach!

We want this time to be your chance to let loose with your creativity and imagination. We can’t do it alone though so don’t delay, get in touch!


Today’s post comes from Elizabeth Whyte of CPIT library who is involved with “a session with a difference” at this year’s conference.  Here she lets folks know a little more about what’s in store…

Still a little unsure about what to make of the ‘What Would You Do? – Doing More with Less’ unconference/Pecha Kucha session? Here are a few tidbits of info that might give you the confidence to jump up and present your own creative solutions, ideas, or even pose questions to your audience of participants.

Dan Pink from Wired magazine wrote a short and snappy description about Pecha Kucha and, to illustrate, has had a go at creating and presenting on a topic close to his heart: signs.

You might want to check out the official Pecha Kucha Night site to find a bit about the origins of Pecha Kucha and to get a flavour of what happens at these worldwide events. Those of you lucky enough to be in or near Christchurch or Dunedin will have the chance to experience Pecha Kucha firsthand on September 16th when both cities are hosting a Night.  As you’ll see from the site, they are popping up all over New Zealand!

New Zealand Open Government recently held a Barcamp which they described as an “alternative, participant-driven event “.  Some of you might have attended or heard about others that did.

How do these sessions relate to libraries in particular? Check out Walt Crawford’s wiki of a variety of library-associated unconferences and barcamps held over the past year or two. They should give you a good idea of how these types of sessions have been adapted and used in a library environment.

Our session is ‘in the spirit’ of these sorts of events and will therefore borrow elements from right across all of them. The key thing to remember is that the topics and how they are presented is up to you. Start the conversation here; post your questions and ideas in the comments to get the ball rolling.
Most importantly: Have Fun!

Also, don’t forget Deborah Fitchett’s  ‘Getting People On-side: making allies to support your innovation’ . It promises to be another interactive participant-based session in a similar vein. It’s on in the morning so you could almost have an entire day of un-conferenc-ing !

Paul Sutherland: paul.sutherland@ccc.govt.nz ; Elizabeth Whyte: whytee@cpit.ac.nz

ChipsAs a bit of a conference newbie (I’ve only been to one and seemed to spend most of the time being either frantic or tired) I’m a bit confused by this conference/un-conference stuff.  Sally’s post earlier in the year helped some but I thought going to the source (or as it turns out, sauce) might be a good idea.  And so it was that Elizabeth Whyte and Paul Sutherland, facilitators of a “partcipant driven event” at this year’s conference, over a pint and some chips (see sauce-laden picture), gave me the lowdown on an their un-un-conference session.

Unconference, as I rather feebly understand it, is an unstructured, interactive approach to communicating that breaks with the traditional “speaker at the front, talking to a powerpoint” kind of session.  The idea of unconference is to be freeform and for the topic of discussion to be guided by the interests and ideas of those who turn up on the day.  In this way the Tuesday afternoon session that Paul and Elizabeth are involved with definitely has some “unconferencey” qualities.  However Paul is very keen to let me know that it’s not really an unconference session, pointing out that there will be some structure.

For instance a loose theme of What would you do? – Doing more with less, has been decided upon.  Also the session will be “seeded” with a few speakers who each give short (2-3 min) “presentations” to get the ball rolling.  Paul says that they will have to “distill an idea or issue but not dwell on it” which is very much in the tradition of Pecha Kucha and should hopefully generate conversation and ideas amongst the session attendees.  As Elizabeth puts it the idea is “to throw it out there, let it bubble and let everyone discuss it”.

Paul also feels it might be a good session for people who are too intimidated to put their hands up in the Q & A sections of the more formal sessions that conference offers, as “everyone will ask questions”.

So, a few quickfire presentations as well as an interactive, brainstorming sharing of ideas component?  Well, I think I might just have got my head around this un-unconference…and also had some chips which is a result as far as I’m concerned.