How I would organize a meetup event within my company

What I’m writing,  should not considered nothing more than a recommendation.

A couple of months ago I was talking about the last meetup organized within our company and I get the opportunity to share some ideas and feedback about it. Every year the organizers are trying to get something new out of the hat; perhaps risks and surprises are never missing. Anyway no matter how the general feeling is, because behind is always required a lot of work to put all the pieces together.

Now, I asked myself a question: how would I organize this event in my company?

It’s easy to complain with just bla bla… but getting yourself in the middle of the action is the best way to consider and see all the variables that are part of the ‘game’. A citation just pop up in my mind, during my activities within Fedora, from Jeroen Van Meeuwen: “Stand up or shut up”. Let’s try to stand up 🙂

First of all, what is the goal of the meetup? I see three important components in it:

  • social
  • visionary
  • technical

The social component is fundamental to keep in touch people working together but not on the same working place. To do that in a peaceful way is common to have ‘team building events’, group activities aimed to keep people together on something interesting and non work related activity.

The visionary component is a communication from the company to the employees. A keynote given by the president or CEO of the company with a recap of last year’s achievements, and a projection, presentation of  new year ideas, vision, directions is going to be followed. This could be followed by a SWAT/Brainstorming session, with all the members with the objective of continuous improvement of the processes and operations within the company.

The technical component should help people to exchange information about what they are doing, what they have done, to have some expertise and skills transfer, to motivate and to speed up the growing process of the youngest. This can be done with talks proposed by members of the company on specific and technical subjects.

In the past I have seen a lot of changes from the organisers, trying to balance the amount of time spent on each activity, however I think that all three components should be present, although the technical component might be out of scope in case nobody would propose anything or the arguments would not be enough interesting.

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