I have been immersed in arranging the “hosting team” and schedule for the online component of the 2009 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference, coming up in November.
There was an overwhelming response to our call for volunteer hosts – over 60 people contacted me altogether. Some did not pursue that original expression of interest and others had to withdraw for various reasons. But a large number of folk remained to join the hosting team.
Putting together a hosting schedule was a complex logistical task .. I won’t say ‘nightmare’ :) Our generous spirited volunteers came from all around the world and were all available at different times of the day or night in their own time zones. And the ‘spread’ of those time zones covered UTC (GMT) -8 to UTC +11!
I used an Excel spreadsheet to work all this out. And I am sure anyone watching me could have been concerned enough to call for medical help. Many sighs, lots of running my fingers through my hair and constant muttering at the computer screen. :)
Given the restrictions of folks’ availability, moving a single person from one spot to another produced a ‘domino effect’ where others had to be moved as well. Only a small number wanted to be (or could be) scheduled for more than one shift per day. I also wanted, wherever possible, to mix up those who would be ‘on duty’ at the same time so team members would have the delight of meeting and getting to know more of their fellow team members.
By the end I was cross-eyed, brain-fried and seeing Excel cells in my sleep! :)
I am sure there is probably a software program ‘out there’ somewhere that would have done the job. But I find myself wondering …By the time I’d entered all the data and variables, would it have saved me any time in the end?
We now have a draft schedule and a team of 48 people who will be working in pairs (or threes) and ‘passing the baton’ from one to the other in two hour ‘shifts’ for 24 hours a day during the entire four days of the conference. Whew!
Our hosts are an amazing group of folk from all around the world. They will be joining the conference from Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Guatamala, Jamaica, Kenya, Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Uganda, the UK and the USA!
So if you would like to know more about Appreciative Inquiry or become more involved with the worldwide AI community and can’t get to Nepal, do register for the online conference!
Throughout the conference, there will always be at least two of our hosts online who share your interest in Appreciative Inquiry. And our hosting team, like good hosts anywhere, will:
- Help you feel welcome;
- Assist you to find your way around, highlighting any items of particular interest;
- Invite you to participate in particular activities or events;
- Answer any questions that arise for you during your stay;
- Help with introductions to others online; and
- Generally make sure you have a great time!
So please join us and raise your voice with ours as we focus on “creating a positive revolution for sustainable change“!
Yeah, Sue. You did an amazing job. It will make the online conference so much smoother and easier for people to participate it. It was such a huge job that you undertook, and we are ready to move forward. Yeah again….onto the next step. These virtual chats are great, and it will be fantastic to have a real one in Kathmandu over a local …….whatever Kathmandu folk do ….. I was listening to Cat Stevens today singing “Katmandu, I’ll soon be seeing you….”
Thanks Robyn .. and I am so looking forward to meeting you in person in Nepal! It will certainly be fantastic to share those conversations over a ‘whatever’ the local sustenance may be. And ahhhh .. Cat Stevens. Tea for the Tillerman was one of the first LPs I ever bought. Now I guess we’re both showing our age? ;)
David Appenzellar says
You never cease to amaze me. I saw the original call for help and thought perhaps you were advertising for it, not realizing that you were a big part of putting it together. Hearing a conference going to be in Nepal and I live in Huntsville, AL USA can seem so far away but after watching the promo YouTube video, could see that it is a global community of like minded individuals coming together for a common cause. Here in the states we have enough drama over what our legislators and president are doing to the country and society in general. The past election saw the largest turn out of a younger crowd that will be the “grown ups” of tomorrow and needing to take an interest in the world we live in. As each year goes by, it is more a global community and people of the sort wanting to participate in the conference are the ones that have a voice for change. You are such a positive person and luckily have been able to channel that energy into a business to where you can teach skills to others to be the best they can be. An eighth grade teacher liked to change the desk around weekly to the moans of her students but her reply was “Variety is the spice of life!” and to this day I remember that. For one teacher to make a comment that is remembered some 30 years later is a testament to how a positive person making a statement can affect a person and their beliefs. From an outsider looking in, I want to take this time to personally thank you for your efforts and time. All along, with the brief chats and emails that I have received from you, you have maintained the positive outlook and have never forgot your friend on FB in the states. I am appreciative of that. Keep up the good work and if you need anything from me, do not hesitate to let me know.
David, thank you so much for your comment and your kind words! And you are so right about how much even one positive comment can resonate for a person many years later. Our young people are our future – and I believe the way we speak with them (or to them) has a huge impact. I guess we all need to be mindful of this as we raise them (as parents), teach them, coach their sporting teams, or even just share a bus or train journey with them. :) As the old saying goes, ‘they won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’.
Augusto Cuginotti says
I was browsing around to find out a way to allow my blog subscribers get only one category etc… and found your page below. Funny was to see that one of your categories had “Appreciative Inquiry” and that here you are talking about the conference in Nepal that I was fortunate to attend – and also obviously did visit your work online while there.
Small world – thought it’d be nice to share.
Hi Augusto – you are right it’s a small world! :) Great to hear from you. The conference in Nepal was indeed an incredible experience – and it’s an amazing coincidence that you arrived on my blog while searching for something else entirely.