I had started to create the upcoming speaker list for Gangplank brown bag sessions earlier this week and passed it around to a few of our anchor tenants to get feedback and ideas. It then dawned on me that we have been doing these sessions for nearly 5 months and that it would be a good idea to get some idea of how those participating felt. At Integrum we do something at the end of every week/iteration called a retrospective. This allows us to inspect and adapt what we do and how we do it to follow a cycle of constant improvement.
The retrospective can take many formats, because our brown bags get a sizeable attendance I decided to use the what should we keep doing, what should we stop doing and what are we missing approach. Within seconds people were giving excellent feed back in each category. Below are the raw items expressed.
Grass roots marketing
Branding (member owned)
Events (Startup Weekend/Brown Bags/Etc)
A Lot in a short time
Lack of chairs
Variety of Topics (get wider)
Poor update of events (not facebook)
Introducing/welcoming new people
Promoting coworking aspect
Starting on time
Offer more things at hacknight
User generated content
Reaching out to other communities
Community projects (opportunities to give back)
Ambience (paint it damn it)
No way to give back
How to participate at a higher level (path to involvement)
Reach outside current items
Random Fun (ie: lipdub, etc)
Teams (dodgeball, softball, etc)
Place to have discussions
So what does this mean? What are should we do with this information? Well we need to keep doing events. Have an event that you need a home for? Let us know. We need to keep having fun. Come join us having a good time! We have made a commitment to get a few chairs for co-working every month until we are no longer short. We need folding chairs for events and hacknights. Do you have some to donate? Know where to get a good deal let us know!
We brainstormed topics and speakers (and will share later in this post). James Archer from Forty has stepped up and is putting some things in place to help us welcome new people and introduce them. The hacknight website needs to be people not project centered and allow for people to contribute more readily. We are getting some of the necessities of life finished (like hanging the projector) and are about ready to start adding the decorators touch. Interested in helping, LET US KNOW. We have decided that we want to make a section of the commons open to be redecorated on a regular basis allowing it to reflect the community directly. We hope to add a clock. Joshua Strebel of Obuweb and Steve Swedler are hard at work getting us an energy drink sponsor.
If you haven’t noticed, we want your participation. Do you see opportunities and have the passion to fill them? Let us know. We want to empower you to help make the Gangplank commons your own.
The discussion on speakers and topics resulted in the following. I will be adding this to my current list. If you have suggestions please let us know.
James Armstrong (trademark/copyright)
Brent Spore (design)
Tara Hunt (co-working, social networking)
Patrick Sullivan Jr.
Patrick Sullivan Sr.
Dean Heckler (furniture designer)
Rene Gutel (newspaper)
Kevin Burke (Angel Investor)
Erika Feinberg (Active Living)
Successful Business Owners
Updates on local stuff
Share projects (demo day)
We wrapped up the session discussing what might make good Academy sessions. As part of that it came out that that concept of “camps” make sense for Academy structure as well. 2-8hr concentrated events around a theme. iPhoneDevCamp, BarCamp, MarketingCamp etc only in a myriad of verticals. KnittingCamp 2009 baby!
Water color painting
Typography (@luzbonita has offerred to step up!)
Photohard (@luzbonita has offerred to step up!)
In a nutshell, this is a call for participation. We look forward to hearing from you.