Ever been facili-tweeted?

October 31, 2012

I was fortunate enough to attend the second annual UW-Madison Design Summit last week, a cool, grassroots event held to create energy for and connections between members of the vast and varied UW design community. Design Concepts was the main organizer of the event which centered on 10 shortened PechaKucha presentations by various design professionals. But the highlight of the evening was the mid-event brainstorming session involving a ballroom full of people. Each of the 22 tables were randomly assigned two questions (from a list of six) to discuss, with the goal of generating ideas or solutions that all support the goal of building a campus design community.

In the spirit of iteration and experimentation that design requires, we tried a new medium for reporting back on the discussions. Goodbye oversized sticky-notes and hello…..Twitter! As one of the event’s dozen or so “faciliti-tweeters” (wait, I should trademark that), my job was to tweet the ideas or comments of my group in real time. It was interesting for me to quickly synthesize someone else’s thought into 140 characters or less. It was interesting for the group, I think, to not feel constricted by the rate at which an appointed “scribe” can write or to feel pressure to come up with ideas worthy of presenting one-by-one to the whole room. And lastly, I think it was really, really interesting for the groups to look up on the screen where all six questions were being discussed simultaneously and see other groups adding their thoughts to the same exact same questions. The whole session felt very organic and dynamic. And if the goal of the evening was to build excitement and community, then the event itself was a grand success. Involving “facili-tweeters” was a big reason why.