An informal, unstructured conference where attendees set the agenda rather than following a conventionally structured programme of events. Unconferences tend to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as presentations, and top-down organisation.

What is an unconference?

The full and original article was published on Crisp by Henrik Kniberg


An unconference is basically a conference without predefined topics. There is a high level structure and theme, but actual topics are generated by the participants on the spot, and breakout groups are formed dynamically based on interest and relevance.

If you know what an Open Space is, an unconference is really just an Open Space event with some added structure at the end to make it fit for company-internal events. This is a pretty awesome format for cases where you want a super-flexible and participant-driven agenda and structure.

What are the benefits of this format?

The key benefits of this decentralized setup is:

  • Higher energy level. People focus on issues that matter to them.
  • Less up-front planning. No need for someone to set up a detailed agenda ahead of time.
  • More flexibility. Once we have everyone together, we may discover unexpected topics that are of great interest and importance. With a dynamic agenda, we can capture the moment and maximize the value of the conference.
  • Spontaneous conversations. Often the most valuable parts of a conference are the informal conversations that happen between people in different teams or roles, who don’t normally work together. People get to know each other, exchange knowledge, and build trust. The open space format encourages this.

If the purpose of a conference is to collaborate and communicate, then an unconference will often fulfill the same purpose in a more simple, fun, and effective way!

Credit: The full and original article was published on Crisp by Henrik Kniberg

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