By Raniere Silva, Community Officer.
Two activities that form part of all our Collaborations Workshop are the discussion session and collaborative ideas session. They may not be self-explanatory, but we assure you they are a great opportunity for attendees to interact and exchange ideas.
For Collaborations Workshop first-timers, including our fellows, the discussion session and collaborative ideas session may be completely new. So in this blog we will explain these two sessions and provide some tips on how to make the best of them.
Based on the information that attendees provide during registration, we create a list of topics that they might find interesting to discuss. For example, during CW17 we had "Best practices in Open Data and IoT data; tools & frameworks, analysis patterns and data management", "Improving diversity in research software projects and events", "How to give a kind and balanced software review" and many others. Topics can also be suggested by participants on the day—last year suggestions included "Research, Research IT, and IT: cultural bridging. Or, 'how to stop the IT department slowing down my science'".
At the very beginning of the discussion session, attendees vote for the topic they want to discuss and groups start to form. Once the groups are formed, we assign them to a breakout room to provide a separate space without extra distractions.
This session lasts 1½ hours long and we ask groups to take notes. We recommend that in the last 20 minutes of the session groups turn their notes into a speed blog post, which can then be published at the Institute blog at a later date. Tip: Add topics that you want to discuss to the wall board at the beginning of the Collaborations Workshop.
Collaborative ideas session
If we had to explain the collaborative ideas session to someone using only two other words we say "blind date". This is because we form groups of 5 or 6 participants and assign them to a breakout room where they can talk about their work, good or bad experiences, challenges, achievements or anything else. Usually, people in the group can contribute by talking about how they could help get the project off the ground or help solving the problem in question.
The collaborative ideas session is one hour long and an excellent way of generating projects ideas for the hackday that will start at the end of the second day and run throughout the third day of CW. In previous year, at least one of the hackday winner projects started shaping during the collaborative ideas session; for example Recipy in 2015 and MatchMakedemia in 2016.
Tip: Avoid dominating a conversation on your group and facilitate people that are very shy to contribute.
Discussion Sessions and the collaborative ideas session aren't the only opportunities that attendees have to interact with each other. We are planning social activities in addition to the workshop dinner—more on that later—and all attendees are encouraged to present a lightning talk.
Register on the CW18 Eventbrite page