We have begun planning our fourth year of Agile Open Florida and we are looking for a new venue to comfortably hold the energy of 200 people wanting to learn and collaborate for a day. Last year's venue was wonderful, but they have some competing events around our November time frame. So I'm putting the word out with some “acceptance criteria”.
Don't have a venue in mind? Then please share this with out with anyone you know in Florida. We would like to hold it in central Florida again, but would consider other locations in Florida. We held the event twice in the Tampa area and last year in Orlando.
So here is what we need…
- ONE BIG SPACE that has a “room capacity of 400+”. The opening circle of open space is deliberately large so it feels like a big tribal gathering … because it is for our agile tribe across Florida. Most “room capacity” measures assume you would be packing people in theater style. We like to have room to move around and also have space near the opening circle for two schedule boards (a.k.a., a marketplace of topics) that the community builds early in the morning
- Friendly-to-hang walls – Many flip charts, sticky notes, and our marketplace of topics (we now use 2) need to go on the walls. So we need to have walls where it's ok to hang things. We use painters tape and sticky notes only!
- Natural light – There is something about having natural light in the room. Maybe it is due to the Florida lifestyle where one can enjoy the outdoors year round? Regardless, having some natural light nearby makes a difference.
- Breakout spaces (10-12) – We can reconfigure the main room that holds the opening circle into some breakout spaces, but we would like to limit the number of breakouts there. Having a mix of different spaces (even separate rooms) and even some outdoor spaces with tables (more natural light). works well.
- Newsroom – we need a space to set up 6-8 laptops for people to capture notes. Not everyone brings a device and it helps to have this room.
- WiFi – If we can have WiFi throughout the main room and the newsroom most people will be able to capture and share out notes from their sessions. If we have some outdoor space that has WiFi, that's a bonus for us.
- Food space – We need space for some simple food preparation (mini-kitchen area) and a place to serve food throughout the day. Some people like to have light snacks and beverages throughout the day. Almost everyone needs coffee and light breakfast in the morning and lunch. Beverages are available throughout the day to keep conversations flowing. We try to keep the cost low. Also, by providing for those needs on-site, no one feels they need to go offsite to get it and miss some valuable conversations.
- Sponsor area – Our wonderful sponsors allow us to keep the costs low for this event. We need a place for them to have some small tables, sometimes a laptop and display to demo and definitely wifi access. This area seems to work well when it's near the main room. Most of the time, our sponsors just prefer to mingle in the breakouts. Yet it helps them to have a space they can come back to if someone has some specific questions about their products and services … or (even better) job openings.
- Volunteers – if your venue has some folks interested in attending and would like to swap time for access, please let me know. Volunteers make the magic happen at this event. They are truly an amazing self-organized team of “BAM! Let's do this!” energy. Because of this, our volunteers tend to make some great connections in the community that serve them well later.
- WHEN? TGIF! – We find Fridays work well for this event. We have folks that are local. Some folks that are out of town. Some like to have post-event festivities or enjoy the local area for the weekend. So Friday works well for that. We could be flexible on this depending on how the other criteria are met.
If you want to get a better idea of our past spaces and how we've used them, see the photos at:
- AOF2016 Recap – Orlando – Wycliffe Volunteer Activity Center
- Agile2015 Recap – Tampa – Valpak Community Room & Manufacturing Center
If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me at: