Australia means lots of people spread out. Despite the majority of the population concentrated in the cities (I believe more than in any other country) there are still many people in very isolated communities. Australians thus have embraced and built competency to use video conferencing.
Monday I lived that with a mixed event – some folks F2F and the rest spread across 25 sites in Queensland. This is a great example of working with the three tensions! Technology allows us to be together, but it is much tougher to create opportunities for individual – it is very group centric both because of the size of the group and the challenge of facilitating individual voices across the sites. So we did site based breakouts throughout the session, much as I have done F2F. The theme was “The 8 Competencies,” and a familiar theme to you readers by now. It was also my host, Madonna Scrase’s birthday. I was quite honored because Madonna usually does NOT work on her birthday. Not only was she there, but she recruited her partner Grant to fetch me at the hotel, where I also said goodbye to my husband Larry who had to head home as his vacation had run out!
A bit into the presentation, I invited all the sites to sing Happy Birthday to Madonna, which was quite fun and she took it in good humor. So we had a moment of togetherness over time and space … a bit of community building. Besides the sites, we had 40 people in the room who had the good fortune to share lunch before and tea afterwards. It was a diverse group and I only wish we had more time for conversation. Tough, eh?
Afterwards it was back to the airport to fly to Adelaide. I was pleased to find free wifi at my hotel, the Rockford, so I was able to get a bit of work done, accompanied I might say by a nice glass of unoaked Chardonay from S. Australia. When in wine country, drink wine!
(Check back for pictures)