I’ve wanted to host an unconfernece for quite a while, but the stars never quite aligned.  Well, this spring they seem to have done just that!  On May 21st, I’m pleased to share that the greater Chicagoland area will be hosting its first EdCamp.

What’s EdCamp?  EdCamp is based on Bar Camp, which in turn is based on Open Space.  I attended my first Open Space event back in 2005 and have been a huge fan of the format ever since.  In fact, we used it at the DEN Leadership Council Symposium this past summer and it went incredibly well.  Basically it boils down to this: the agenda is set by the attendees during the event itself.  When you go to conference, you know what you’re interested in.  Perhaps you have a driving question that you’re really looking to get an answer to, or have been struggling with some issue and are looking for new ideas.  This format gives you the chance to establish a time and place to talk about that topic, and other people with the same interest can join in.

It may seem a bit chaotic, but it works incredibly well.  And to be honest, it can be far more valuable than a traditional conference because you have a far greater degree of control over the experience.  If the right session doesn’t exist, it’s your responsibility to create it.  If the conversation you’re in isn’t pertinent to you, it’s your responsibility to move to a different conversation.  It’s not considered rude, it’s expected.  Your job is to make sure you’re having a great experience and are in the right conversations.

With things as busy as they are (job, baby, life, Game of Thrones on HBO) I knew that I would need a partner and Chad Lehman has done more than step in.  We’re co-organizing the event together, which means that I blab on about different ideas and he takes off and runs with them!  He’s the one who invited Angela Maiers to the event to help kick things off.  Traditionally Open Space events don’t have any formal sessions or keynotes, but we agreed that it would be nice to invite her to come in and sort of set the tone for the day.  It’s not just because she’s a fantastic speaker, but rather because she does so much to start and drive conversations.  I’m really excited to have her get the day started on the right foot.

It’s going to be a phenomenal day and I hope that if you’re in the area, you’ll join us for it.

Where: Adlai E Stevenson High School, 1 Stevenson Drive, Lincolnshire, IL 60069
When: May 21, 2011
Cost: FREE!

And thanks to the good folks at Lenovo, we’ll be providing breakfast and lunch on the house, as well as giving away a ThinkCentre M90z!

Registration is open right now!

You can also let people know you’re attending by joining the conference site on Lanyrd.

And if you have any interest in volunteering, add your name to the list here.

Want to learn a bit more about EdCamp?  Watch the video below from EdCampPhilly!

Ed Camp from True Life Media on Vimeo.