Anti panel 3.0: the personal urgency to act #disruptsyd

We have choices in the future we want. To ensure a better future, we need to create it. We can begin now together.

Our annual experiment in disrupting the conference panel format occurred again at the Disrupt Sydney conference last Friday. The anti panel followed an extraordinary morning of inspiring speakers and provocative discussion of the impacts of disruption for good and for evil.

The anti-panel was reinvented again for its third appearance at Disrupt Sydney. This year the panellists set the teams in the room three activities on the theme of disrupting Sydney as a place, community and City:

– create a collage of your inspirations from the morning for the future of Sydney
– develop a newspaper headline on a vision of Sydney in 2050
– build a model in Lego of an intervention to move Sydney to a positive future.

The power of an anti-panel is to leverage the ideas, insights and interactions of the whole room. Using exercises individually and in groups enables people to work in parallel. Challenging people to communicate in other ways and to be hands on changes the nature of ideas. We had an incredibly broad ranging discussion driven by the creative potential in the room.

We experienced a different panel to previous years. The interaction between participants was far greater. The depth of discussion was less due to the physical challenges to be met but the breadth of ideas increased. The panellists learned from the energy in the room that we had one design flaw. The newspaper exercise was too narrow a constraint for the middle of a Friday afternoon. Luckily, we adapted timings to shorten that exercise and moved on to a coffee break and Lego to restore momentum.

The themes of the debrief were clear:
– people enjoyed the opportunity to interact through shared creative tasks
– we need time to reflect and to create new ideas and approaches
– ideas flowed from doing
– one person’s utopia is another’s dystopia
– the power of storytelling and metaphors
– whether we were pessimists or optimists, it was clear we could not sit passively with the range of change, opportunities and threats. The future needs to be created.

That final insight was a wonderfully generative outcome from an afternoon of purposeful play. Let’s create our future. A great place to start is leveraging the creative potential of many people.

The anti-panellists were Kai Riemer, Matt Moore and Simon Terry. Thanks again to the DDRG for the opportunity to deliver the anti-panel.

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