Open Source

I have more ideas for creative gatherings than I know what to do with.

Rather than keep these ideas to myself, I thought I would offer them up, to people who want to play around with them. In fact, people are already doing this, so I am simply giving this a nudge.

Below are some short descriptions – enough to give you a sense of what might interest you. If one of these catches your eye, get in touch, and I will give you some more detail. In return, I ask that you acknowledge the source and give me feedback about what happens.

My belief is this will create some interesting collisions between ideas and people. Since your context is different from mine, you will see or do thing with these ideas that I wouldn’t. The currency of exchange here is learning – we both stand to learn something.

One caveat though, if you represent a business with a commercial interest, I am unlikely to be so forthcoming. it’s the exchange of ideas and learning I am interested in, not subsidising someone else’s R&D.

Reading Weekends

I designed and created a ‘Reading Weekend’ for the Oxford Praxis Forum in September 2013.  It was a huge success. We will be running a number of these during 2016. In the UK The School of Life also runs Reading Weekends, with psychologist Oliver Burkeman.  It is a very simple but powerful idea that could be used in many ways. I can give you some idea about how we do it and what we learn from it.

The Creative Tapas Experiment

A weekend of improvised, self-organising creativity. I positioned it as a party masquerading as an inquiry into leadership and creativity, or vice versa. Though it seems very complex, what you actually need to do to set one of these up is pretty simple, though it does require some boldness. Also, I did it on a pretty grand scale (fifty people or so) – you could easily try something more modest.

Learning Circles

A virgin idea this one, in that I haven’t got around to trying it out myself. The notion is that a group of people (maybe fixed, maybe permeable) meets periodically and each time a few people share something that others would like to learn. It occurred to me when I realised Hilary Gallo, my colleague in Parenthesis knows all about negotiation – and everyone needs to know something about negotiation. I then realised that almost everyone knows something worth sharing – whether it is how to make roti (flatbreads), how to use Twitter or how to negotiate.

Learning Exchange Group

Another simple idea. I convened a group of facilitators to share tools, tips and techniques during an evening. They all worked with groups but they all had different perspectives and used different techniques. Which made for a rich exchange. It could be a group from any shared field, obviously.


Another one I have yet to do, this one inspired by Oliver Burkeman’s lovely book ‘The Antidote’. In it he has a chapter on the problems and limitations of always having goals. My idea, is thus, to hold a meeting for no purpose whatsoever. So far I haven’t got beyond drafting the invitation, but even that has been pretty instructive.