The upcoming PlaNetwork Conference on June 5 & 6th at the Presidio's Golden Gate Club in San Francisco, is going to attempt a fairly radical new way of running the conference:
This year we are exploring a new form of conferencing wherein we are blurring, if not erasing, the distinct lines usually drawn between presenters and audience. As anyone who has attended conferences, and especially Planetwork, knows the real action is in the hallway, as so many in our network have great contributions to make and it is really our interaction that facilitates the emergence of a self-organizing community.
The InterActive component of this event is an experiment designed to provide participants with conditions to discover fresh ideas and tools to facilitate new ways of working together; to strengthen shared interests while helping to realize the larger goals of an emergent truly democratic global society.
The last time I can recall this radical of a conference design was the Foresight Senior Associates Gathering in 1999, which was quite interesting but had mixed results. We've learned a lot since then, in particular how to leverage wifi (802.11), wiki, irc, subthaedit and other technologies with meetings. I'm pleased that they are experimenting with new ideas, because we need to find new ways for groups to collaborate together.