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!
- 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“!