We are well-into the Camps Pilot now, with the Douala event already passed and more coming next week. We have learned a lot and made quite a few adjustments and iterations in real-time throughout the process. Posting these notes each week has helped capture thoughts and start conversations as a team and we hope it's been valuable and interesting for you, too! (If you haven't been following these weekly notes, you can catch them all with the Camps-Notes tag.)
Week 6 Learnings
Virtual support can't take the place of feet on the street. We have a couple participating cities who have run into various hurdles securing a local venue. As much as we as the NetSquared team make ourselves available and provide weekly support, we can't be in every city to meet with people, help find a good space, or seal any deals. It is a frustrating reality but one we are learning from. In one city, we've asked another organizer in the network to support on the ground. Going forward, I think we could do more to be proactive in creating physical support systems for organizers, realizing the limitations of our virtual reach.
Reporting is a two-sided coin. The first event, in Cameroon, took place May 29th - we are so thrilled about the event's success and proud of the Local organizers who made it happen — we'll be sharing their story on the blog this week! We approached the development of reporting templates for organizers in an open way, assuming we could not reuse questions or evaluations from previous projects. In creating a long list of questions and areas to cover, we realized we needed to split the evaluation in two: one part for internal learning, and another to help share the story of the event. We operate in public, and this series of notes is testament to that, so the "internal learning" bit you can trust will still be shared. But separating the two focuses, we feel, will help organizers provide responses - and help us learn and develop the program!
Week 6 Questions
When do guidelines become rules? In setting the parameters for the Camps Pilot, we tried to remain flexible and create a framework that could bend to be locally relevant in any city in the world that ended up participating. But, in keeping guidelines open, we may have created too much choice for organizers. We are all for choice! But, anyone that has searched for a term on Google and received millions of returns, knows what too much choice can feel like. How can guidelines remain open yet provide strong enough parameters that all participants feel like they have the same deliverables and understanding of expectations? How can communications maintain that balance as well? Have you succeeded at doing so in your work - let us know!
Our vision is for NetSquared Camps to provide a local entry-point for entrepreneurial nonprofits/NGOs, developers and designers to demonstrate projects, build stuff together and forge meaningful collaborations.
Building on the success of self-organizing formats like Barcamp and the lessons we've learned in developing an inter-disciplinary approach to conferencing over the last four years, NetSquared Camps bring people, tools, resources and projects together to help accelerate world-changing ideas.