Online Unconferences with QiqoChat!

Online Unconferences with QiqoChat!

At Qiqo, we love supporting event organizers who are designing events that empower their participants. Unconferences are a fantastic format for doing that, and that’s why QiqoChat the first events we started hosting in 2015 were unconferences. In 2020 we expanded so that you could host traditional online and hybrid conferences too.

Over the years, we’ve found that these are some of the key aspects of an online unconference:

  • customizing the look and feel to match your community
  • giving participants the ability to set the discussion topics
  • making it easy to take notes

Qiqo provides you with many great options to meet each of those needs.

Want to chat with us about unconferences? You are invited to drop into our open office hours any week, or book a 1-1 meeting here.

You can customize your unconferences on Qiqo (background, button colors, etc). As an example, you can see a screenshot of an upcoming (January 2023). One interesting aspect is that this unconference is actually being held within a larger conference called the New Rules for Work Symposium. The organizers wanted 2-3 discussion sessions at specific times each day.

The screenshot below shows the main space where people arrive. At the top left, participants can click the join-video button to launch Zoom for that room. On the right side of the page, participants can select a time slot and propose a new discussion topic.

That’s a custom tool we built for unconferences, and you can also use any other format that works for you such as a embedding Google Doc or Google Spreadsheet which lists all the rooms and session times.

In the screenshot below, you can see one of the breakout rooms. When you arrive in a breakout room, the join-video button for that room is at the top-left and you see a space for everyone to take notes on the right.

Click the tabs across the top to see different notes pages and embedded tools.

The list of breakout rooms down the left side provides the “where” for your event. Participants can move themselves, just like in an in-person unconference.

The list of tabs across the top of each breakout room provides the “what” for what tools are available in each room. Select a tab across the top, and then the tool that is visible in the center of the page will change. In this way, participants can choose where they want to go and what tool they want to use when they get there. Tools for notes, post-its, searching the program/schedule, and viewing a list of recordings are some of the most common options.

Remember, the “why” is the most important part of the planning process. Ensure that your invitation communicates a clear purpose, and then the people who resonate with your invitation will show up.

We are always happy to chat with you about unconferences and other innovative event formats. Drop into our open office hours any week, or book a 1-1 meeting here. We look forward to connecting!

The Online Facilitation Unconference

The Online Facilitation Unconference

For the past few years, we’ve attended the Online Facilitation Unconference.  This year it’s happening from October 22-24 and it is already drawing dozens of dialogue practitioners from North America, Europe, and Asia.  The conference is organized by Intellitics Inc, makers of the nifty Zilino platform for online dialogue.

The best part of an online unconference is that all the participants have a hand in shaping the agenda by proposing the topics for all the breakout sessions.  These “self-organizing” conferences are fun to watch as they come together in under an hour, and the conversations are highly engaging.

Early bird pricing for this unconference is still in effect for the next two days, so it is quite affordable.  We at QiqoChat are excited to be a silver sponsor, and we hope to see you there!

How to Create an Online Edcamp in Five Minutes

How to Create an Online Edcamp in Five Minutes

Edcamps are a special type of “unconference” where educators choose the professional development topics they want to cover in small-group breakout sessions.

Edcamps must be free, so we created have a special link to help Edcamp organizers create free online edcamps:

To see how easy it is, we created the following video to show you how to create an online Edcamp in just five minutes:

[New video for 2020 is coming on April 7th]

We’re making QiqoChat free for the Edcamp movement to help us get the word out about the tools we offer.

How can we better serve you?  We look forward to your questions, comments, and suggestions.  Email us at

Try an Unconference Call

Try an Unconference Call

We’ve all sat through some dry conference calls where we’d rather be doing something else.  Today, we’re rolling out a tool for “unconference calls” which you might find to be an attractive solution to this problem.

What is an unconference call?

Unconference calls are interactive and highly participatory.  They start the same way as a conference call but they have two main differences which make them much more enjoyable:

  1. When the host is ready, the group can subdivide into audio and/or video breakout tables for a more efficient discussion and then reconvene as a whole group with a single click at the right time.  This way, people only need to participate in the discussion that’s most relevant to them.
  2. There is a collaborative whitespace where the whole group can brainstorm, share links, and document the conversation.  Each breakout table also has its own collaborative whitespace to accompany their breakout session.

image of breakout tables on QiqoChat
An example of breakout tables on QiqoChat during an “unconference call”.

Tactics and Strategies

There are a variety of collaborative techniques you can employ when running one of these unconference calls.

  1. You could have all tables talking about the same topic or all tables could be talking about different topics.
  2. You can choose the topics, or you can let the participants choose the topics of the breakout tables.
  3. You could let participants hop between these virtual breakout tables.
  4. You could have one person remaining at each table for continuity and have everyone else switch tables every 5 minutes to ensure a cross pollination of ideas.
  5. You can link to other tools such as interactive surveys for use during the call.

We look forward to seeing people use unconference calls in creative ways to design more interactive meetings.