8 Ideas for the future of Barcamp Toronto

Everyday it’s becoming more interesting to be in Toronto. Picking up earlier conversations, and on what to do with Barcamp, Mark Kuznicki and I met for lunch the other day to talk some of our ideas. Who should we run into but Oshoma Momoh who also has been blogging on the subject lately (this city is getting smaller all the time). Here’s why we’re talking.

The toronto “Camper” Community reaching a tipping point. Participant turnout is snowballing and meanwhile there is growing policy interest at several levels of government now to sponsor inovation/interactive media intiatives in the region. This could be too good to pass up.

So, if we should we trade in the delightful if anarchic shape of our current un-organization into something with a little more structure, and -gasp- a budget…

Thoughts from lunch – 8 ideas for the future of barcamp toronto

  1. Develop Barcamp as a Talent Well
  2. Enhance camp events (and or just add a section to the wiki) to make it easier to match up tallent. Have an idea but need help to execute? [..]Camp should be the ideal way to build out your project “stack” whether it be back/front/middle end developers, marketers/business minds. I could imagine a wiki combined with an networking event, to help campers “hire” each other for wether it be their side projects, new idea or fulltime enterprise. As I said to Mark “Larry and Sergey” are out there somewhere in this city, we just need to get them to meet.

  3. Microfinancing
  4. Use [..]Camp support early stage projects either through grands or “micro”financing. Develop the [..]Camp organization as a funnel or support structure new ventures at a pre-VC, pre-Angel phase – or for the sorts of open bennefitting-many type projects that the traditional investment community might not “get”. (see also idea 4)

  5. Deeper workshopping
  6. I really like that democamp presentations are limited to 10 minutes but I do think there could be a role for a more structured, deeper dive format for those interested in greater or ongoing feedback. Albert I remember had a related idea for a smaller “CEOCamp” type spinoff. see also 6, 2.

  7. Public goods
  8. Harness the tallents of the campers to give back of meaningful to the world local/global scale. Select an inovation-based social or artistic project(s). Support could come in the form the sponsorship, granting or -and I like this one- for a project with a challenging but clearly definable technical goal an XPrize type purse for the first team to succeed. (see also ideas 2, 5)

  9. Redesign SlamCamp
  10. Slamcamp was fun. But really not enormously productive. What about slamcamp that lets us a)build something of value b) lets camper show off the skills they are best at (see also 1, 4)

  11. Structure and accountability
  12. It’s hard working alone in the “garage” [x]Camp could be a way to sign up for some voluntary accountability, maybe an informal board of sorts to help you remember the project goals and deadlines you want to set for yourself (see also Microfinancing)

  13. Jr Campers
  14. I believe Bryce is the orgin of this idea. Barcamp for highschoolers. Great idea, get them while they’re young and that sort of thing (see also point 1).

  15. Status quo
  16. This is another option (or what not to change). Presently the typical [..]Camp event offers inspiration, education and networking in a format format that turns out to be almost hillariously efficient in terms of money, time and organizational effort. The only question is whether the current format can continue to scale.

oh ya, and we need a new name.

(I’m happy so long as it doesn’t have the words ICT or 2.0 in it)

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update: Mark has just posted an excellent summary of my summary on his blog