The notion of “a meeting” will end up being re-invented soon, pretty much as e-mail (as a technology) becomes obsolete.
I am always amazed at the cross-fertilization opportunities whenever I am in touch with the event industry (MICE) meeting architects. That will be the case next week at The Fresh Conference a multi-city event organized by the Meeting Design Institute.
The field of ‘meetings’ is so vast and brings to the table so many different other fields such as social psychology, organizational behavior and even economics and group decision-making, I have just created a Linkedin group on this last subject and would welcome you all there: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8587277
In my view, virtual meetings can be approached as part of both the organizational collaborative flows, where tools as simple as Skype, WebEx, GoToMeeting, are part of a daily support for ad-hoc collaboration and there is a lot of research published on major vendors’ websites, such as CISCO, for example.
The second level on virtual meetings expands the notion of “a virtual meeting” into ongoing collaborative conversations that can happen asynchronously. This sort of permanently ongoing meetings is becoming quite popular with tools, such as Slack (and other e-mail replacements). What does e-mail has to do with virtual meetings you might ask? This is a good question to ask people at FRESH and hope to continue our conversation there.
Finally, you have a niche, inside the niche, inside the niche – GDSS (group decision-making systems). These are tools designed to be used by a special breed of meeting professionals – the group facilitator (www.iaf-world.com) or anyone that has been trained in hosting software-assisted meetings. Traditionally GDSS have been used for same-place same-time collaboration, in so-called ‘strategic decision rooms’. During my Ph.D. I did research in a number of those, and one of my clients called their own as “the accelerator room”. Currently, GDSS thrive in the virtual world, as hybrid meeting scenarios are making huge advances. The notion of “a meeting” will end up being re-invented pretty much as e-mail, as we know it, becomes obsolete.
Now, that may be too forward looking? But that’s what The FRESH Conferences are all about, right?
I have written an article before in Pulse and you might want to read it here, it explains the difference between a meeting and a workshop, some people confused them and that’s not helpful. My 2 cents being that instead of meetings we need to start talking about “collaborative spaces” virtual, real or hybrid, all can be experienced from your desktop or from the office “huddle room”, or from innovative conferences like FRESH. But that’s the research in progress, right?