, posted: 14-Mar-2008 10:55
New Zealand has a healthy barcamp movement. There are several groups forming barcamps - generally we need only a venue, but with some sponsorship barcamps also have catering, and T-shirts!
BarCamp is an ad-hoc Unconference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees. Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join.
After conferences many people say that the best aspects of the event were the people they met and the impromptu hallway conversations they had. An unconference amplifies these connections and conversations. Barcamps are unconferences organised by a community of interested individuals and participated by those same individuals. Anyone can organise a Barcamp around any area that interests them.
There is no corporate agenda, no vested interests, no absolute authority and often no cost to attend. Instead Barcamps are a way for like minded people to come together, collaborate, innovate and make things happen.
Instead of providing a predetermined schedule the participants construct the schedule first; typically on the day. The event starts with an introduction by the organisers articulating the purpose of the event, the guidelines for conduct during the day and any parameters such as session lengths.
The most important rule (and often the only one) for a Barcamp is:
NO SPECTATORS, ONLY PARTICIPANTS
If you are not learning or contributing it is your responsibility to respectfully find someplace where you are. This is known as the Law-of-Two-Feet. Overall Barcamps are governed by these basic principals.
- Whoever comes are the right people.
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
- Whenever it starts is the right time.
- Whenever it is over it is over.
In New Zealand a couple of successful Barcamps have been run to date: Barcamp NZ eGovernment and Barcamp Agile with several others in the pipeline – see the Barcamp Wiki for more information on upcoming Barcamps.
If you or your organisation care about innovation in your local economy then the best thing you can do is attend, help organise or support these events and make things happen.
Barcamp - "It's not a place for sheep!"
 Barcamp Wikipedia Entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BarCamp
 Unconference Wikipedia Entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconference
 Barcamp Rules: http://barcamp.org/TheRulesOfBarCamp
Open Spaces Principals: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Space_Technology
 Barcamp NZ E-Government: http://barcamp.pbwiki.com/BarCampWellingtonNZegov
 Barcamp Agile Wellington: http://barcamp.org/BarCampAgileWellington
(most of this blog post is a copy of a barcamp definition assembled by Robert O'Brien)
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