A Barcamp is not a drinking game and has nothing to do with a summer camp. Although the name is an allusion to a series of events by Tim O'Reily called FooCamp, where selected people (Friends of O'Reily) met for exchange and accommodation (camping).
At Deutsche Telekom we have been using Barcamps for some time and in a variety of ways: whether it is the Business Barcamp in Bonn, which is taking place for the 15th time this year, the HR Barcamp or our International Barcamp in Budapest, which is taking place for the second time on June 21, 2018.
B for Barcamp and the small difference to the classic conference
My first contact with a Barcamp was during my student days. A friend spontaneously took me along on the grounds that it's different, but you'll like it. And he was right. A complete bustle of people who wanted to talk about digitization and entrepreneurship that day. Not my topic at all at the time, but I was involved from the first moment. I simply sat down on various topics, could even take part in discussions and got to know many interesting people, some of whom still belong to my network today.
Meeting at eye level
That's what Barcamps are all about: Spontaneity and openness towards the participants. Compared to a classic conference, where the focus is on individual speakers, a Barcamp focuses on the participants. Therefore, Barcamps in Germany are often referred to as un-conferences.
As an agile conference format in which everyone can participate in shaping the event and decide on the agenda, they offer good opportunities for exchange on specific topics and trends. The individual sessions are designed by the participants and are not predetermined. This means that only topics are discussed that are presented by the participants and not determined by the organizer as in a conference. Everything happens at eye level. At Deutsche Telekom, this means that every colleague has the opportunity to contribute his or her topic and, for example, to report on his or her projects and share experiences, but also to discuss and exchange information on topics. This enables us, among other things, to promote cross-border and cross-divisional exchange in project work at the International Barcamp.
Grassroots democracy in a large corporation
The Barcamp has a grassroots democratic structure: On the day the participants decide in which session they want to participate and what they want to discuss. Since the sessions usually take place in parallel, the session owners pitch for the audience just before each slot. This is where personal responsibility and the "law of two feet" count. It is up to each individual to choose where he or she can contribute or learn.
The foreground of the Barcamp is and remains the networking amongst each other. The degree of networking, but also the quality of the exchange of experience and knowledge are very high. The event provides the space and the framework to get into conversation with previously unknown participants. Letting yourself drizzle and have fun can be nice, but it's not the purpose of a Barcamp. And you missed the opportunity to learn and exchange knowledge from others. Going home with a smoking head and new ideas in your luggage is a lot more fun and helps you personally and professionally.
Up to date
The International Barcamp will take place on June 21, 2018. More than 300 participants from 24 countries meet in Budapest and discuss in 40 sessions on the topic "WE COMMUNICATE, COLLABORATE & CO-CREATE". During the Barcamp the YAM Hackathon takes place in parallel. 41 hackers from 31 countries develop solutions for our internal social network You and Me (YAM) in nine teams. Under the hashtag #tbarhack some participants will surely share their impressions and insights on Twitter and Instagram.