Monday, June 4, 2012

Associations, Flash Mobs, Meetups, Popup Restaurants & Unconferences: What's the connection?

Random thoughts on options for associations:
  • Years ago, an AMC in Arizona talked about the “unconferences” that one of her clients held during weekends.
  • I first heard about flashmobs and meetups in Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody
  • Now, I’ve been following media stories about popup restaurants
These all seem to fit within Seth Godin’s “how much for a really small slice?

Can “mainline associations” – who typically follow strict protocol and structure for services such as conferences – reach more people with smaller, spontaneous events?

Here are three examples of “unstructured gatherings” at work around the world:
  1. The Unconference.   The unconference format creates space for peer-to-peer learning, collaboration and creativity. At the start, the whole group will gather together and will have the opportunity to put conference sessions on the agenda. All sessions are welcome. One or more facilitators keep the process and discussion moving.
  2. Flashmobs & Meetups.  Meetup allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as politics, books, games, movies, health, pets, careers or hobbies. Users enter their ZIP code or their city and the topic they want to meet about, and the website helps them arrange a place and time to meet. Here’s an example of a flashmob ... “What a crazy, ever changing world...! Who could have thought that in 2012 young people in Moscow would put on a "flash mob" happening, dancing to an 83-year old American song written by a Russian born American Jew (Irving Berlin) whose last name is the capital of Germany. 
  3. Pop-up Restaurants.  The “pop-up” restaurant trend – in which restaurant owners let their establishments be taken over by amateur chefs and/or foodies for a night – has been thriving in the U.S. and Europe for a couple of years. Pop-up restaurants have been hailed as useful for younger chefs, allowing them to utilize underused kitchen facilities and "experiment without the risk of bankruptcy.” Facebook’s definition: "Pop-up restaurant -- A venue that is turned into a restaurant featuring a chef and culinary team that is normally not in that kitchen or venue for a limited period of time." 
Has your association experimented with one or more of these unstructured meetings?

If not, what’s holding associations back?
1. Afraid to experiment? Past your adventure window?
2. Older board members )and/or staff( unwilling to try something new?
3. Don’t see how it would make money?

Share your answers and/or thoughts about the “nimble/mobile” future.

No comments:

Post a Comment