To give you an idea of the types of sessions to expect, or some formats that might help with your session, here are some from prior Leancamps. You’re not limited to these though! Sessions run for half an hour each.
Show and tell
Done something you want to share, or maybe you want to show something and get feedback? Do a talk! We’ll have projectors, whiteboards and flipcharts.
A fishbowl conversation is a form of dialog that can be used when discussing topics within large groups. The advantage of Fishbowl is that it allows the entire group to participate in a conversation.
Four to five chairs are arranged on stage. This is the fishbowl. A few participants are selected to fill the fishbowl, leaving one chair empty, while the rest of the group watches. The moderator introduces the topic and the participants start discussing the topic. The audience outside the fishbowl listen in on the discussion.
Any member of the audience can, at any time, occupy the empty chair and join the fishbowl. When this happens, an existing member of the fishbowl must voluntarily leave the fishbowl and free a chair. The discussion continues with participants frequently entering and leaving the fishbowl. When time runs out, the fishbowl is closed and the moderator summarizes the discussion.
Group Interview (In The Founders’ Studio)
This is like the fishbowl above, but the person being interviewed stays in the fishbowl, and the rest of the people can sit in and become the interviewer. You have to join the fishbowl on stage to ask a question, so this creates more in-depth discussion than Q&A sessions. It’s a great way to dig deep and learn from someone.
You might want to grab a small room for 10-15 people and sit around a table. Sometimes, that’s all the structure you need!
This is a good way to share or generate ideas in a group. It starts with a question that your group will be brainstorming answers to. For example: “What are possible uses for Product X?” Write the question or topic on a whiteboard. Ask the group to brainstorm answers individually, silently writing their ideas on separate sticky notes or index cards. The silence lets people think without interruption, and putting items on separate notes ensures that they can later be shuffled and sorted as distinct thoughts.
After a set amount of time, say 5-10 minutes, ask the members of the group to stick their notes to the whiteboard and quickly present them. If anyone’s items inspire others to write more, they can stick those up on the wall too, after everyone has presented.
Post Ups can be used in the is way to capture ideas at the end of a session.
A variation is to have each person explain their post-it in a sentence or two, as they put it on the wall.
If you have a great workshop to run, please propose it!
If you’d like to see or do a panel discussion on a certain topic, please propose it. Make sure you say what types of participants you’re seeking – founders who’ve been funded, designers who’ve built a mobile interface, etc. – or you can name name’s specifically and ask them to join. We’ll try to help, but it’s up to you to take responsibility for the people you need.
For panel discussions, please keep the topics constructive and actionable. It’s best to have topics where the panelists can offer a range of solutions, and where there’s a specific context so the discussion doesn’t get too general.
Epic Deck (Choose Your Own Adventure)
This is great if you’ve given a range of presentations before, and you’re not sure what the audience wants. Bring them all on a USB key, and offer them as a menu to the audience. After covering the first topic for a few minutes, go back to the USB key and let the audience know what related topics you could cover next. A quick show of hands to see which is chosen, then a few more minutes on the new topic. Dave Gray and Janice Fraser have done this at past Leancamps.
Tag Team Decks
For the experimental – this hasn’t been attempted before! To explore solutions from different disciplines, it’s like Epic Deck, but with two people presenting in turns. The first speaker shows their ‘menu’ then speaks on the audience’s choice for 2-4 minutes, then speaker 2 offers their menu, and speakers for a few minutes. Then, back to speaker 1, and so on.
It’s helpful to start this with a specific challenge someone is facing, ideally where that person in the room to give quick answers and insight to the speakers so they can respond in context.