Friday, 27 September 2013

Let's all do popup training

People's Summit, Rio+20

I want to run pop-up training. Here today, gone tomorrow. You’ve heard of popup shops, popup galleries, and popup restaurants. Why can’t we do popup training?

Caravans and Castles
I want to run popup training in surprising locations. In a caravan or a castle. Imagine hosting a workshop in one of London’s hidden underground stations. Or one of the nicer airport lounges to help high-flyers combat the feelings of hopelessness in transit? Or on the platform of a new Boris bus. “Hop on, what’s your name? Hop off, nice to meet you”.

Environmentally Friendly and Unsustainable
The glorious thing about popup training is that it is totally unsustainable in an environmentally friendly way. Practically any space will do. No expensive technology or structural alterations required. No discernable impact on the environment, and nothing left behind.

Open Space Rules
I wouldn’t feel guilty about doing training with no lasting impact. Popup training is not meant to last. In fact, the rules are very similar to Open Space:

  1. Whoever come are the right people.
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
  3. Whenever it starts is the right time.
  4. When it’s over, it’s over.

Popup Training at the People’s Summit, Rio+20
This is just silly, you say. Well, I can tell you, I’ve done popup training, very successfully, at the People’s Summit in Rio, with a little help from my friends. The training space was a popup tent with a roof and no walls, like those flimsy efforts that make gardens look summery. We had some tables, and chairs, and we staked out our territory with a circle of chairs. We made friends with the local radio station who were doing live broadcasting in a bigger tent. They even lent us a microphone and loudspeaker, so people could hear what I was saying. People came: some students, a lady with a pink bag, and a very young boy. We played a game of catch with juggling balls. More people came to watch, and then joined in. We started a bit late. Three people in curiously anatomical tiger costumes did an exotic dance in front of our tent. Somehow I held people’s attention with the game, until it felt that we were done. Some people stayed to talk. Others melted away. When it was over, I felt good.

Popup Training Satisfaction Ratio
What does this say about popup training? The feeling of satisfaction after, was greater than the size of the event. And I have run large-scale, resource intensive training events, where the feeling of satisfaction was considerably less than size of the event. That's why I want to run popup training in surprising places. The people who come will be the right people. Whatever we do will be the only thing we could have done. Whenever it starts will be the right time, and when it’s over, it will definitely be over.