Aspiration events are run with old-fashioned low-budget values; the goal is to create a replicable model at minimal cost. There are several primary logistics to consider in planning for such events:
Ideally, the meeting space offers both a large room where the group can meet as a whole, as well as "break-out" spaces, where smaller sets of participants can have discussions and collaborate.
Food and beverages
Though budget may limit the amount of food that can be provided by the hosts, it is always recommended to have a full range of beverage options available.
- Coffee is an industry-standard fuel for driving collaboration at live events
- N.B. - Coffee quality is the key success factor to all participatory events.
- Coupled with tasty and more inert options including water, tea (caffeinated and non-), sodas and fruit juice, a full beverages suite establishes a rich array of liquid lubricants for effective collaboration and sharing.
In terms of catering costs, in the U.S. we aim for costs in the range of $18/20 per head/day, which includes continental breakfast, lunch, and coffee all day.
Materials and Supplies
Check out the updated Materials Shopping List
At a bare minimum, name tags are an essential mechanism for participants to get to know one another. Two suggestions:
- Consider using a specific name tag format that has high impact: for pre-printed name tags, use only the first name, make it large on the name tag, then print the organizational affiliation in smaller type below it. This immediately makes things more human, giving participants a highly visible handle to use in introducing themselves to friends they have not yet met.
- Don't make different style name tags for participants and facilitators; a single name tag style without role labels breaks down barriers and enhances community energy.
In addition, packets containing Participant Guidelines, agenda information, and feedback forms are an excellent resource when budget permits. Notepads and pens are also useful, though many participants tend to bring their own.
For group sessions and other brainstorming collaboration, the following are strongly recommended:
- "Post-it" notes, in multiple colors and sizes
- Flip-chart pads, with Post-it sticky backing if the budget permits
- Colored markers and pens
- Easels with clips to hold up flip-charts
- Masking tape (including colored tape if you plan to do spectrograms as described below)
In addition, it is strongly recommended to have on hand a good supply of blank CD-R disks to facilitate sharing of software and tools. And a dedicated CD burner is a fine resource to have if available, especially if it can burn multiple discs in parallel.
Registration and Scholarships
- Sample Scholarship Offer
Access to computers and the internet
Computers and internet access are not essential to successful events, and in fact may prove counterproductive. While machines provide venues for demonstration and sharing, they also create a major distraction from dialog and pure human interaction.
A format that avoids computer use in the early phases of the day but allows for hands-on learning and exploration later in the day arguably offers the best of both worlds; participants start conversations, make new friends and learn about each other's work before diving into the hands-on sharing and learning.
It is essential to let both facilitators and participants know what to expect in these regards.
And if you providing internet, make sure to know Wireless Best Practices.
It is recommended that when computers are available, at least one projector also be available for group viewing of demonstrations.