As many of you have experienced, travel budgets are being cut or completely frozen. This has made it more difficult to gather for Face2Face meetings. We are looking for ways to bring the Face2Face experience and topics to the ITANA membership. To this end, ITANA is launching a new series of Screen2Screen gatherings and local meet-ups.
Screen2Screen gatherings will be longer than our usual conference calls. We are looking at using Adobe Connect to provide an additional level of interaction and collaboration. Adobe Connect provides a browser based collaboration space including a Notes panel for live meeting minutes, a shared whiteboard, desktop sharing and shared presentations. There is a chat room for capturing questions and/or sidebar discussions. We plan on using Adobe Connect in conjunction with the phone bridge.
The vision for the Screen2Screen gatherings is that the time would be divided roughly in half. The first portion would be a presentation or panel presentation on a topic. The second half would be a working session to see where ITANA should take the topic and to work on next steps. The plan is that the shared presentation, shared white board would be used to present on a topic and build an agenda for the discussion. The notes panel would be used to capture the discussion and as live minutes. The chat panel would be used to capture parking lot questions and questions from those not on the phone bridge. We will use the phone bridge for the audio instead of the web based audio in Adobe Connect.
I encourage you to also think about hosting a local ITANA Meet-Up. You can think of these of regional meetings or ad hoc gatherings. The topics are open to those who gather. We would like the content of the local ITANA Meet-Ups to flow back into the larger group. You should pick a scribe for the meeting to capture the discussion.
I also encourage you to look for opportunities to gather at other meetings that you attend. You can post an email to the listserv asking other attendees to meet for lunch or for a round-table discussion. This is opportunity to meet with your peers and to look for topics to bring to the group at large.
The group has also expressed interest in looking for other ways to gather virtually. Second Life provides a virtual world were members could meet, have discussions and share objects. We could link ITANA Meet-Ups via video conferencing for longer sessions. All the ITANA Meet-Ups would meet together (via video conferencing) to open the day. Each local Meet-Up could take a portion of a topic to work on as a sub-team for a portion of the time. The ITANA Meet-Ups would then rejoin to report out and form next steps.
I hope that by leveraging these other gatherings; the Screen2Screen sessions, ITANA Meet-Ups and ad-hoc gatherings at other meetings, and other opportunities; we can still fill the collaboration and communication gap that has opened up in these tight economic times.