WonderWalk – the moving alternative for a meeting

WonderWalkSome guidelines for a successful WonderWalk.

A WonderWalk is an initiative (initiated in the networks of 21 Lobsterstreet and new shoes today). It is not a traditional meeting (with a chairman, reports, tables, …) yet a ‘walking meeting’.

We start with flipchart (paper) to collect the topics that the group wants to discuss. Everybody can add a topic that (s)he finds interesting and relevant for the group. All these topics are written on the flipchart (+ owner of the topic). This can take upto half an hour.

After that half hour, we go walking (be prepared to walk in the rain, snow, wind, beach, …) and organically subgroups are formed. There’s no process or leader. ’Assume that I walk next to you and I know that you’re interested in the topic ‘international’. I know that Peter is also interested in that topic so I ask him if he wants to walk for a while with us and we discuss in our small group the topic ‘international’. Some people can walk with us but go after 5 minutes to another group because they are not really interested in the topic. For some topics, the whole group needs to make a decision so at ‘a moment’ a subgroup can ask the other subgroups to gather and the whole group stands in a circle. The subgroup gives a brief summary of their discussion and the decision.

For example: ’Do we want to organize a conference in Melbourne in 2011 and who wants to join?’ By raising hands, we vote and that decision is made. Another subgroup can share at that moment another topic (some subgroups haven’t finished their topic so they say that they are still busy). And we walk further in different sub-groups and talk about other topics on the flipchart list. Normally we walk for 3 to 4 hours with a little break in between.Then we gather again at the start-location, look at the flipchart again and write the decision in a few keywords on the paper (+ actionplan). We take a picture of the flipchart and that’s our report. The people who couldn’t attend to be at the wonderwalk are responsible to call a colleague to ask questions if the picture/decisions are not clear for them.

Important elements:
+ No discussion while you collect the topics – the real discussions happen during the walk.
+ Go walking whatever the weather conditions are – you’ll get more efficient discussions and people feel more connected
+ Make 1 person responsible for the walking route (+ try to integrate a cafe/little restaurant on the route to have lunch/coffee/tea)

+ You only discuss topics that you find interesting (in most meetings you have a few boring, irrelevant topics for some participants)
+ It’s an active way of discussion (while you walk, you get inspired by the environment)
+ It builds further on the principles of open space (whoever walks with you, they are the right persons; whenever it starts, it’s the right time; whatever happens in the conversation, it’s the only thing that could happen and a conversation is over when it’s over).

Happy walking!

PS: The WonderWalk is open source, go ahead use it and stop the boring meetings.


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