Should I have been surprised? Maybe, but I wasn’t.
On a very hot Saturday a couple of weeks ago I was facilitating my first hackathon, in the wonderfully sumptuous offices of Microsoft in Cambridge.
The hackathon was looking at ways to share DNA data- technical stuff you’d think. Early discussions confirmed a lot of the assumptions that DNA Digest had been making – the resistance to share data is heavily ingrained in the culture of academia, and viable solutions will need to be culture-hacking more than technology-hacking. Fairly early on this comment came from the back of the room- “I think by now we all agree that this is not a technical problem” – Allister Frost,CodeCambridge.
The aim of the day was to get a group of technically gifted people together with experts in the field of DNA research in order to reach a technical solution. Only it’s not simply a technical problem so it’s not wholly a technical solution.
What’s the lesson for facilitation in this? It’s all about people and getting the most out of them in a group situation.
Our morning was structured and information based, the afternoon was self directed. To get delegates thinking we did 4 empathy maps. These are a way for working with a range of stakeholders and understanding their respective positions. In this case we looked at four key stakeholders:
- friends and relatives
- research institutions
Subsequent to the meeting, DNA Digest have been awarded funding for Digital Social Enterprises, to learn more about it check out their website.
More please- I loved it.