Flocks, Pods, and Gaggles: Bringing people together in-person and online

March 28, 2023

We love well-designed in-person workshops—they are undeniably magical. Conversations that happen spontaneously between sessions, or bonding over a shared meal, can build trust and create a sense of community. This in turn makes it easier to try out new things or share novel ideas, creating the space for creativity.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, we shifted to online workshops and while we did our best to support our community virtually, some of the in-person interactions simply couldn’t be replaced. At the same time, the experience also made us realize that there are some advantages to trying to bring people together online, in particular related to equity:

  • Not everyone can travel to an in-person meeting. Some people may have family or other obligations. And for international participants, getting VISAs can be a real headache.
  • In-person meetings are expensive (travel, lodging, time away from work) which means not everyone can afford to join.
  • Additionally, travel-related emissions, especially from air travel, contribute to climate change.

So we set out to develop a hybrid approach, which would retain some of the magic of in-person workshops, but also take advantage of technology to connect more people.

So how we did this and what were some of our reflections?