Camps Pilot Notes from the Field: Reflections

Claire Sale's picture

On April 22, Billy announced the launch of the NetSquared Camps Pilot. During each of the 8 weeks since then, Amy has been reporting using the camp-notes tag here on the blog about the progress, lessons learned, and questions that have arisen as part of the pilot. We've known from the start that this pilot was a chance for us to learn and experiment together as a community and we know that the more we share, in real time, the more we can learn.

While we still have two more NetSquared Camp events occurring later this summer, the 8 weeks we scheduled for Camp planning has now passed. In actuality, the planning is still ongoing, but we want to be sure to share some of the themes from the lessons learned over the last 8 weeks. These themes will help us plan for any future events, and will hopefully help you in planning your own events, too.

We created a spreadsheet of all of our Camps questions and lessons learned from the last 8 weeks and included a roundup of the themes below:

Theme 1: Preparing and Planning

We prepared for Camps by creating all sorts of resources for the Camps organizers. We provided them with timelines, guidelines, localizable materials, and online resources galore! Planning ahead helped us to stay on time and on target, but we certainly didn't anticipate everything. We learned that you can plan all you want, but at the end of the day, it's best to plan in some time to deal with the unexpected.

Theme 2: Achieving Goals

Throughout the Camps planning process, we constantly checked our progress towards achieving our goal of delivering value to a global community in a localized way. We also managed to balance in trying, learning, and evaluating into the mix, but what the word we needed to remind ourselves most often was "Flexibility". Things will never go quite as expected, especially in a distributed model like this. Sometimes it's best to just let go of your own expectations and let someone else run with theirs!

Theme 3: Avoiding Burnout

We are motivated by success and are dedicated to making these events rock. To avoid burnout, we broke tasks up into bitesize chunks and always tried to pace ourselves. Through this process we learned that there is always more that we can do, but sometimes the best thing we can do to achieve success is take a time out. Balance is key.

Theme 4: Evaluating Success

As this is a new program, we don't have any benchmark of success to compare these events against. We can make educated guesses from our experiences organizing other local events, but to measure the success of those events on a global scale can be tricky. We want to report on the pilot in a way that invites continued learning from our team, our organizers, events participants, as well as the larger NetSquared community. We also want to create a reporting mechanism that is flexible enough to be used in any city world-wide, but also firm enough to gain real insights from. We're still figuring this one out, and will keep you posted on the progress.

If you have any advice or suggestions to help us understand and improve our efforts with NetSquared Camps, we want to hear from you! Please share them in the comments section below.