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Gunnar de Jong for Gradual

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Insights gained from ✨1️⃣8️⃣✨ Emergent Sessions at MozFest 2022! 🌱

✨ It's Friday and we're nearing the end of MozFest 2022 - and what a week it's been! ☺️

MozFest - amongst many other things - is a fantastic place to find your people and start building momentum around your passions and your projects. It's a place just filled to the brim with the wildest innovations, inspiring ideas, stirring movements and wonderful people all convening around a single mission: a better, healthier internet.

If you've ever attended you may know that it can also be a somewhat overwhelming place. Much like the internet itself there is, well, a lot going on. And sometimes you may lose yourself a bit in all the excitement... 😅 I know I've definitely been there.

This year my intention was to have fun, to not plan anything in advance and to just see what would emerge organically.

Science Fair at MozFest 2019

From Skillsharing to Emergent Sessions

Of course, there's a bit of a story there. In 2019 - I attended the Science Fair to present an idea for a communal skill sharing project that ended up becoming Gradual. The idea was simple: we put up a whiteboard with some post-its and asked people what topics they would like to

1) learn more about or
2) had something to share about.

This way - we found unique pairings of people who could meet around their common interests and exchange contact details for further engagement.

Not just that, we also allowed for instantaneous exchanges of skills and knowledge - my favorite memory here was seeing people in the hallway teaching each other how to do hand-stands!

It was such a success that we went from science fair presentation to pilot experiment of the Gradual tool and process for the following edition, which was held virtually this time.

Skillsharing sessions hosted at Mozfest 2021

During MozFest 2021 last year we ended up hosting 15 sessions in the two weeks of the festival: from the history and philosophy of open source to wrapping your head around NFTs and from deep listening for consensus building to building magical dinner experiences. The variety was amazing.

The idea that a fun and promising session could so easily emerge and connect people really stuck with us.

So for this year's MozFest we wanted to see how we could connect people around their common curiosity. Because sometimes, you come up with a great idea for a session during the festival.

So what did we learn?

This week, people ended up having great ideas. For example, it was pretty clear from the get-go that there was a shared desire to help Ukrainian refugees in any capacity, so a "All Hands for Ukraine: Digital Humanitarian Session" was set up. Out of this, two follow-up sessions were born and a great resource was built for asynchronous action.

Some of my favorite other sessions include:

  • a 'digital potluck' around tips for healthy remote working hosted by Grant For the Web's very own Chris Lawrence
  • a session called "The Resilience Lab: Self and collective care in/for hard times"
  • a free-for-all discussion on Mycology (I have never seen so many mushroom foraging enthusiasts so happy to find their tribe)
  • Using Hyperaudio to increase accessibility of web-based audio and video
  • A casual chat hosted by Erica Hargreave around Web Monetization: How the Community is Applying This New API to Build Equity for Creators

In conclusion

I did start this post with a title promising to share insights of the in total 18 Emergent Sessions, but writing this down I'm realizing that we're truly still in the middle of it.

Also, I'm finding it's not really about the content of the sessions. Or anything you take from it. The most important thing are the relationships, the connections you gain from sharing the things you're passionate about with the people who are interested in it, the momentum you build from working on your project in preparation for a session..

So, ask me again in a month what insights I gained from these sessions. I'll probably rave about the amazing people I met this week. 🥂

Looking forward to connecting with all of you here! 🌱

Discussion (1)

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Philo van Kemenade

So many amazing memories 💜