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Aidan's notes for facilitating the meeting: File:2015 01 26 HUB16Script.pdf

Get involved in organising this and other HUBs!

What and how? HUB16 - Open Space Technology - Helping find a collaborative project for HUB/CUB

When? January 26th, 18.30 - 21.00

Where? Hoersaal 12a, Grabengasse 3-5, Building 2170, 2nd floor

Who? A team of people working at several different life-science organisations within Heidelberg are organising HUB, with your help (just get in touch or add your comments to this page).

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Open Space Technology is an approach to organising meetings that is a common format used for unconference or unseminar sessions. It focuses on delivering almost complete control of content of the meeting to the people who turn up for the meeting, with little or no control assigned to organisers/facilitators of the meeting.

Quoting from the Wikipedia page on this topic (from December 5th 2014]

'Harrison Owen [1] explains that this approach works best when these conditions are present, namely high levels of:

  • Complexity, in terms of the tasks to be done or outcomes achieved;
  • Diversity, in terms of the people involved and/or needed to make any solution work;
  • Conflict, real or potential, meaning people really care about the central issue or purpose; and
  • Urgency, meaning that the time to act was "yesterday"

[1] Owen, Harrison (2008). Open Space Technology: A User's Guide (3rd ed.). Berrett-Koehler. ISBN 978-1-57675-476-4.'

Despite this being such a commonly-used format for unconference/unseminar sessions, we've never tried it at HUB, as we aren't sure whether the conditions described above are met, or whether it will work well with a typical HUB crowd size (20-30 people).

However, part of the reason we organise HUB is to experiment with different meeting formats, so we've decided to give it a go - maybe it works superbly?

OST apparently works best when there is a clear focus/problem/question for the meeting to address/solve, so we've chosen to focus the meeting on exploring ideas for a collaborative (coding? writing?) project for HUB to work on, together perhaps with CUB in Cape Town.

These links give more information and description of OST:

- Notes by Chris Corrigan


Room is set up with participant chairs are arranged in a circle

Introduction (10 min) Aidan

Introductions to:

  • Unseminars
  • HUB (bioinformatics, science communication, exploring alternative meeting formats)
  • to our plan to find a collaborative coding/writing/etc. project to work on together
  • how OST works

Initial pair-wise engagement with the topic (10 min)

Two 5-minute chats with one other person (pairs of people you ideally don't know already) to think of topics for collaborative projects - to quote the Open Space Technology wikipedia page "thinking through and identifying any issue or opportunity related to the theme."

Aim is to find topics you'd be enthusiastic/passionate about discussing related to the theme of the meeting i.e. choosing a project for us to develop together in HUB/CUB, and thinking about how to choose between possible projects in an open, inclusive way.

And/but if there are other "how do we develop HUB/CUB in general" topics you're passionate to discuss, you can go for those too!

It's not that everyone has to find a topic they're passionate about! Hopefully some of us do, but if not, we'll all go to the pub early!

Make the bulletin board (5 min)

People who have specific ideas for collaborative projects, how to organise/choose projects, etc. come to the centre of the circle, give their name, and write short (maximum 7 words if possible) description of it on a piece of A4 paper, and pins it to a flipchart/blackboard, with their name on it. These people should care/be passionate/enthusiastic about chairing a discussion on this topic. After putting their topic on the blackboard/flipchart, they announce it.

People who propose topics must be passionate about discussing the topic and take responsibility for making a set of notes on the discussion be shared at the end.

Village market place (5 min)

Once everyone's done their announcing of topics they put on the bulletin board, the others at the meeting put their names on the topics they most want to talk about, to set up the initial discussions.

Breakout discussions (50 min)

The topic proposers then go to different parts of the room, with their topic stuck on the wall by them, and people join the topic they're most interested in discussing.

Aim is to come up with ideas for projects to collaborate on together, and ways of choosing between them, this is what we aim to collect together at the end.

Someone is chosen to make notes on each session.

No discussion of the topics at the end, rather the summaries are posted online afterwards (here on the Wiki) for everyone to read afterwards.

If only one person (the proposer) turns up for a session, Wikipedia provides the following suggesitons:

"In this case, that person has several options:

- use the session as free time to think the issue through and record their thoughts as a contribution to the proceedings - join another discussion leader on a related topic and see if they're open to joining topics together - drop the topic altogether (then they just indicate on their post how they resolved no one showing up so that the session has been accounted for)."

You are free to move between discussions as you like, chatting/networking between them, again as you like.

Great if, as a result of these discussions, people decide to do particular things - but no pressure for that! Key thing is we spend the time, and no more time than needed, discussing things we enjoy discussing with each other.

Convergence (10 min)

To quote this website:

"CLOSING -- We try to keep the closing simple and serious. Simple in that there are no formal presentations and speeches. But serious, for this is the time for announcing commitments, next steps, and observations about what the event has meant. The closing event is best conducted in a circle with no "head table." Start anywhere, and go around the circle allowing each participant, who wants to, the opportunity to say what was of significance and what they propose to do. But do make it clear that nobody has to say anything."

Introduction to HUB as a Verein (5 min)

Quick intro to what the Verein is and why we've made an organisation linked to HUB

Join the HUB Verein (5 min)

Register with HUB Treasurer (Matthew Betts) if you want to become member of the HUB Verein (15 Euros per year) (5 min)

HUB Verein Annual General Meeting (20 min)

Voting for positions of 1. and 2. Vorstand

Description and voting of proposed changes to the Verein Satzung (constitution)

These are the proposed changes File:AgendaOfSecondSetOfChangesProposedToHUBSatzungV2.pdf

This is the new version of the Satzung we are voting to approve File:ThirdVersionOfSatzungHUBV2.pdf


Off together for a drink at the Marstall, just across the road...


Short Report

In the words of Snoopy "It was a dark and stormy night..." that awaited us on the evening of HUB16, snow swirling around (although not really settling on) Uniplatz, while the anti-Pegida demonstration got ready to kick off. We had shifted the day to Monday rather than Thursday, to give people who can't do Thursdays a chance to come along, although that of course meant that people who can't come on Mondays couldn't make it, for example those like Maik who went along to the Python meet-up.

These things probably played a role in this being the smallest HUB so far, with ten of us gathering to try our hand at Open Space Technology as a meeting format.

With a group of this size, it's perhaps not surprising that we ended up with only two break-out discussion groups. One of these focused on Matt's proposal of a project to code together a development of the speed-dating-for-match-making-for-longer-meetings tool he previously used for one of the NGS networking meetings, the other talking about bioinformatics and academic careers in general.

In my opinion, OST did indeed do a nice job of getting us talking on and around topics we were all interested in; the format is rather free-form compared to the structure we typically use for HUBs, and I personally look forward to trying it out again in other contexts. A key take-home message from this for me is the importance of the people who turn up to an OST that they share one/several topics they are really keen/passionate to talk about.

The "conclusion" from the "career" discussion group was that "making sure you don't work with people you really don't like or in a work atmosphere you find unpleasant is really important when looking for a job", something I certainly think bears repeating and remembering!

Following the OST session, we had a meeting of the HUB Verein in which we voted to accept the proposed changes to the constitution. More details of that (i.e. a link to the official minutes from the meeting) will go up soon.


Task List

A list of tasks that need to be done on or before the meeting day. Just sign your name to say that you'll do a task, and the same again when the task is done.

To arrange before evening Person responsible Done
Drinking Water and Cups? Matt
A4 signs in plastic envelopes to help people find the room Pierre
Create the poster Holger Holger
Print and display poster where relevant
  • BioQuant: Matt
  • EMBL: Holger
  • DKFZ:
  • ...
  • BioQuant:
  • EMBL: Holger
  • DKFZ:
  • ...
Advertise on linkedin Aidan Aidan
Send reminder email on day of event Aidan
Prepare a detailed script/plan for the evening Aidan

To do on the evening Person responsible Done
Open the room Matt
Hang up signs to the room Pierre
Setup and welcome attendees Pierre
Tidy and close room Pierre