ChangeCamp Toronto 2009

Summary: 
At the first ChangeCamp in Toronto we invited participants to write and dot ideas for "next steps" during the closing plenary. Although Dotmocracy was not the focus, some very popular ideas were recognized in about 20 minutes.
Date / Time: 
January 24th 2009
Name of Facilitator(s): 
Jason Diceman, Daniel Rose
Number of participants: 
60
Total number of ideas dotted: 
10
Preamble: 
Daniel briefly invited the participants to grab a sheet and write an idea for "next steps" for the ChangeCamp community. The sheets were provided on cardboard clipboards with pens attached. Participants were instructed to put their one dot, sign and pass it on.
Details: 

The idea of using Dotmocracy was a last minute suggestion that Daniel Rose, the ChangeCamp facilitator was happy to try out.   The focus during this 20 minute closing plenary was on getting people to speak on ideas for "next steps".  Participants  Many of the participants had wifi laptops and PDAs and prefered to record their ideas via Twitter, blog or wiki.  That said, 10 ideas were drafted and many if not most of the participants who were handed a sheet, did dot it.  Some people forgot to sign, and thus some of the sheets have more dots than signatures.

The top 5 agreed ideas were:

  1. "Getting Gov staffers together w/ social innovators, tech folks, etc..."

  2. 'Tools for conversation with government should be in multiple languages'

  3. 'Government departments should provide raw data...'

  4. 'A continental exchange between Canadian and Brazilian ChangeCamps...'

  5. "Run a 'Code for Canada' contest for open gov't applications"

View scans of all the results in detail on Flickr

 

Learnings: 

Through out the conference I had invited people to use the Dotmocracy sheets during their sessions.  While only one of th approximately 30 groups bothered to try (and they were too small, I did hear back from other participants that "we could have used your sheets in our session".  As no surprise, it is once again obvious that if there is no buy-in and facilitation for using a Dotmocracy process by a group leader, then the group is not likely to use it. As well group leaders are not likely to try something new without some practice before hand.

The passing of clipboards during the closing plenary did work ok because the lead facilitator announced and supported the process.  Take-up for writing new ideas was slow, I'd guess because:

  1. Participants were burnt out from 8 hours of workshops.
  2. Many participants were posting ideas via Twitter and the event wiki.
  3. People were not bursting with ideas for "Next Steps". Very few people were interested in speaking orally to the question either.

But still once some ideas were written particpant did dot and pass while listening to the plenary. So the model can work.

In the future, I'd collect ideas for dotting through out the day, conducting dotting in the mid afternoon and just announce results in the closing plenary when people are tired.

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