I spent yesterday afternoon facilitating an event at City Hall in London. It was an agendaless, unconference-style session to discuss women in technology. I gave a short introduction and set the 50 or so people there off on a series of 20-minute discussions in small groups. It seemed to go well, although I had very little idea what they talked about. Either in person or on Twitter nearly a dozen people said they found the event "inspiring". OK there is some skill in running these things but it wasn't me doing the inspiring. They inspired each other. Through conversation.
We need more of this. Our world, and certainly the part of it this group work in, is increasingly networked, messy and unpredictable. There is little prospect of making change in it, if important meetings are hierarchical (eg expert speakers), structured (eg chairs in rows) and pre-planned (eg set agendas). We should talk more with each other. It's inspiring.