VIDEO: What is ‘Unconferencing’?
Utilities Digital Solutions Americas

VIDEO: What is ‘Unconferencing’?

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

A refreshing dialogue, without slides

Next week will see the launch of the all-new Aquatech Innovation Forum on Monday 4 November.

With the tagline ‘Mastering Water’s Digital Transformation’, the event will bring together over 40 speakers from around the world.

Some of the world’s most innovative water utilities, engineering consultants and solution providers will come together to interact, engage and share knowledge on digital water innovations.

One of the key parts of the Innovation Forum is the inclusion of two ‘Unconferenced’ sessions, being hosted by Will Sarni, founder and CEO of Water Foundry and Andrew Walker, managing director of BlueGold Marketing. 

Yet what exactly is ‘Unconferenced’? And how can people get involved if they are not comfortable speaking openly in public?

We spoke with the two moderators ahead of the event to get their views – videos below.

During the interviews, Will Sarni said: “Unconferenced means a refreshing dialogue, without powerpoint slides and talking heads. For me personally and quite a few colleagues, we’re tired of the traditional conferences where you have staged panels with softball questions.

“The value of attending events is really interacting with colleagues and new people we would meet.”

Andrew Walker said: “Firstly, within innovation and in an Innovation Forum you would expect things to be a little bit unusual. Unconferencing will open the door to some quite interesting conversations in a different format and way of doing things.”

He added that his session is about innovation itself and it will address “The curve of innovation”.

Seven guidelines for Unconferencing

  1. Unconferences are about empowering attendees to share their expertise. They give participants the opportunity to have an unfiltered exchange of innovative ideas.
  2. Unconferences break down these barriers to innovation by giving attendees a voice and by redefining who is an expert.
  3. Unconferences are one powerful tool to facilitate these connections.
  4. At a conference, you spend most of your time passively listening. On the other hand, an unconference gives you the chance to share your own expertise and engage in conversation with a number of like-minded experts in your field. Here, you move beyond “networking” into “collaborating.”
  5. You don’t have to adhere to a schedule or attend any event that doesn’t interest you. Instead, you can move around freely, exploring the topics and ideas that you find most inspiring. You’re in complete control of your own experience.
  6. Not only is this freedom empowering, but it also ensures you make the best possible use of your time at the event. Each individual has their own needs and preferences, and an unconference allows you to shape the experience as you see fit.
  7. Typically, this high-energy, unstructured set up leads to an increased flow of innovative ideas. As you participate in this unfiltered exchange of ideas, you’ll likely make new connections and find inspiration. Most participants report leaving an unconference with renewed energy and excitement, as well as newfound tips, tricks, and ideas.

Interested in finding out more? For further information and to register for the Innovation Forum, please visit:

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