The current conference model does not meet the challenges of increasing complexity and of a globally interconnected world (the Rio Earth Summit 2012 was an especially sad demonstration of this failure).
It lacks the coordination and systemic integration of ideas. At most conferences we are presented with a conglomerate of isolated solutions to isolated aspects of larger systemic problems, argued in highly specialized conference papers or working groups. The huge numbers of conference papers that are produced are not integrated in a coherent manner. Moreover, most papers are derived from and maintain the current problem producing logic.
A different conference model (e.g. the Biomatrix conferencing and jamming approach) could play an important part in generating the synergistic outcomes that are required for dissolving humanity’s complex problems and for creating more sustainable economic, technological and political systems.
This approach provides a complete conferencing solution which remedies some of the major problems currently experienced in the conference industry. It is also part of a larger systemic methodology for organisational and societal change which consists of alternating Biomatrix conferencing with Biomatrix jamming, online brainstorming and discussions. The frameworks, organising principles and facilitation methods are derived from Biomatrix systems theory.
We believe that the linking of conferencing and online jamming represents the future of the conference industry.
about biomatrix conferencing and jamming
The Biomatrix conferencing and jamming approachis an outcomes based approach which creates integrated solutions to complex societal and organisational problems from diverse stakeholder interests. It is a powerful methodology that allows large numbers of stakeholders to participate in systemic problem analysis, brainstorming of solutions and their synergistic integration in an ideal design around function specific issues in the public domain.
Unlike the traditional conference model which brings delegates together to listen to prepared speeches, the Biomatrix conferencing approach consists of systemically facilitated work sessions which produce integrated solutions on the different aspects of the conference issue as outcomes.
The use of the verb conferencing indicates that a conference is not merely an isolated event but is part of a larger process in society, an organisation or an industry. The event of a conference starts before delegates assemble by tapping their knowledge through systemic questionnaires before the conference. During the conference the delegates tap additional inputs through their social networks. The outcomes of the conference are posted online for continued jamming.
Unlike blogs and conventional online jams which are unstructured, Biomatrix jamming uses systemic frameworks to organise the complexity of data. The participants and observers can zoom out into high level overviews of the issue as a whole (e.g. a whole industry supply chain or the whole organisation) or zoom in to ever increasing detail (e.g. sections and sub-sections of the supply chain or functions and sub-functions in an organisation and the various categories associated with them). Thus each idea is contextualised by and becomes part of a larger whole.
The Biomatrix conferencing and jamming approachcombines into a larger systemic change management methodology which uses the face to face interaction during a conference for integrating ideas and synergising solutions and online jamming for data collection, commenting on and amending the conference outputs.
This approach can also be incorporated in the Biomatrix transformation programmes thereby contributing to stakeholder alignment and support.
The Biomatrix approach consists of the following phases:
pre-conference jamming initiated by an online questionnaire (i.e. on problem analysis and collection of existing solutions and the brainstorming of new ones)
facilitated team work during the conference to integrate and synergise the ideas produced by the jam into coherent designs for the issue as a whole and its various parts
online posting of intermediate outputs during the conference to elicit participation by the social network of delegates
online posting of final outputs after the conference for continued online jamming with stakeholders to comment on, amend and refine the proposed designs / solutions
stakeholder jamming on the implications of the designs / solutions on the stakeholder
follow up implementation focused conference(s) for the (sub)issues
implementation related stakeholder jamming.
A graphic depiction of the key concepts of Biomatrix systems theory and its systemic change methodology facilitates understanding and the bridging of different perceptions that inevitably arise between people from different professions, cultures and regions.
The Biomatrix conferencing and jamming approach has been used and applied in different contexts since 2006 by Dr. Elisabeth Dostal. The first online application was piloted in 2009.