Today we’re running another of our pop-up conferences at work, called Patchwork. We’ve been running these roughly twice a year for the past 5 years, and they’re alway great fun. Patchwork invites colleagues to come speak for 20 minutes about “anything they’re interested in, or have found interesting”. This makes for an eclectic mix of talks and topics, and is a great way to learn not just a bunch of new things, but also about each other.

When we started five years ago, we ran it more like a traditional Unconference, where we crowd-sourced the schedule on the day from the speakers that turned up, but over time it has evolved slightly and we’re now calling it a pop-up conference instead. We source talks through an informal CfP and send out invitations with the schedule ahead of time, as this makes it easier to entice colleagues away from their daily tasks.

We started out locally in Glasgow, but since we’ve all been working remotely during the pandemic, the organising team has taken Patchwork to all of EMEA (and even beyond, as time-zones permit), to today’s schedule offers 21 talks from 5 different locations around the globe.

We still retain many of the original Unconference and Open Space concepts. Attendees are free to wander between tracks (we usually run three in parallel), we leave a LOT of time for audience participation and interaction, and we firmly believe that exactly the right people turned up.

And finally - the name is a triple metaphor: We created the pop-up conference to make work more fun (“patching” it), the eclectic schedule is a patchwork of talks, and lastly, in the local vernacular “patching” is also used about skipping or cutting classes.

So, thats Patchwork, the pop-up conference at J.P. Morgan Global Technology in Glasgow. What fun activities does YOUR organisation have to let people learn more about each other?