Lunch & learn

Many people in the community are knowledgeable in different subjects. Some of us are experts in programming while others are experts in managing people and helping with being emotionally stable.

I think it’s time to start sharing our knowledge with other people in the community. That’s why I’m starting this conversation to start implementing: lunch and learns.

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Lunch & learns are events where a bunch of co-worker from different teams meet and share their skill and expertise while eating at the same time. It can be related to anything, you can even promote skills set in physical fitness if you want!

There’s a lot of benefits of lunch and learn, it offers a sociable event with classroom-based learning and you can also learn more about a specific subject.

From personal experience, those types of events are very interesting and you get to know more about the teacher of the skillset at the same time.

The initiative of being a teacher of a skillset is that you could be reward with cred :eyes:

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I love the concept, and think it would be really great to have a regular held-space for skill-sharing, especially if it helps move forward greater cross-functional visibility and understanding.

A couple of thoughts/questions on how this could be effectively implemented:

  1. What time do we envision this happening? With a global team, there’s not really a shared “lunch” time. I wonder if there’s a more inclusive way of naming this that still captures the idea of “take a break from focused work to learn from your colleagues in a casual setting”?
  2. Can we brainstorm some specific topics that would make sense for this format?
  3. I think a series like this will be most successful if it has a champion who helps to recruit speakers, support them in preparing their talks (reviewing/editing slide decks, helping rehearse, etc), and facilitate the actual events. Are you volunteering for this role?
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Hey @echojuliet, thanks for the feedback!

Yeah with having a global team not everyone is ‘lunching’ at the same time. The purpose of this is to capture the same idea of taking a break and learn new things as you just said. I think setting a time for an event should be voted on by the people participating in it.

Yes, of course, would love to jam about it.

While I agree with that, I think people who want to share their knowledge are better at preparing their own talk. Also, I don’t want to pressure people to do a lunch&learn if they don’t want to, not everyone wants to be a teacher. Maybe I could help to gather information about who wants to attend the lunch&learn event so that the ‘teacher’ could focus on preparing his stuff.

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Oh yeah, content is on the speakers - 100%. My experience facilitating events has been that lots of people are shy, and become more willing to share their expertise when they have some support putting their talk together. Even something as simple as a template slide deck can really knock down the cognitive load on the speaker, while also totally leveling up the experience for the audience. Just something to think about, not necessarily a requirement.

I think starting with a list of topics/speakers will help clarify what’s needed in terms of support.

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This sounds fun - how much organization will precede each lunch? Will there be sign-up lists, posts saying what will be taught at each lunch, a facilitator? Or will it be a ‘show up and see what you learn’ kind of experience?

I agree with this, I just wanted to make a post about it beforehand to see if people would be interested :slight_smile:

Those are all valid questions that are not yet determined. I think a facilitator would be useful to post information about what will be taught at the lunch&learn and when it will occur.

+1 for doing this! I floated this idea (as “Brown Bag Lunches” because that’s how we called them at Apple) a couple months ago and there was wide support, but it lacked a champion.

The champion in this case is a person who maintains the schedule and lineup of speakers, finds and supports people to share their knowledge, and that’s mostly it. There was no one available to actually champion such an initiative when this was originally floated, so it went nowhere.

As for time of day, I think some flexibility around that may be warranted, to allow for the speaker of each talk to choose what works best for them. If e.g. @benoxmo, @BrianBelhumeur or @EbonyBelle wants to present on something from Europe, they’d most likely want to do it at a time that’s closer to 9:00 AM Pacific, whereas if @keighstone wants to present from Hawaii, it might be more appealing to do so at something like 5:00 PM Pacific. The speaker should get to decide, IMO.

Decentralized chronology. :slight_smile:

(I get that there is enormous value in having a consistent structure and cadence, but unless someone wants to champion this to a high level of multi-week lineups of scheduled speakers and what not, it’ll be more ad hoc for a while anyway.)

Also here to say I really like this idea. I could see it being formal and having presentations, but I could also see it being super informal with a spontaneous “popcorn-style” sharing vibe.

I think that there’s pretty good community feedback and support here. The next step would be for someone to decide they want to own this initiative, then create the plan, and facilitate the experience. Whether the champion wants to do it all themselves or loop in a small team to take on the different responsibilities is up to them.

I’d say you’d probably need:

  • Vision - someone to set the expectations; of the intention overall, for presenters/teachers, and for the audience. Someone to write up, champion, and hold the intention of the initiative.
  • Logistics - someone to choose a good schedule, get the word out to the community etc.
  • Wrangling - someone who gets “teachers” interested/committed and supports them if they get confused.
  • Facilitation - one or more people who run the event while it’s happening and keeps things running smoothly on the call.
  • Teaching - people who are interested in sharing and understand whatever expectations are set for doing so.
  • Audience - people who want to come and listen/consume/ask questions.

If you go real low-key with it then the teachers and the audience might be the same group of people.

If you wanted to start taking action on this, I’d say write up a proposal. Lay out exactly what it is you want to do, why you want to do it, how you’re going to do it, and what impact you want it to have.

There’s a long mega-post I wrote some time ago called How to Start a New Project in SourceCred [Proto-doc] that you can read for help thinking through your idea and turning it into a concrete plan for the community to give feedback on. You don’t need to answer every single question in the guide, just use it to help you think through your idea and communicate it in a way the community can understand easily.

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Also, you could throw all of that out the window and just start facilitating a really small, regular social group with a mild intention to share what people are up to or what kind of work they’re doing lately. Start super small and informal and let the feedback of those who attend inform how you build it up.

Iterate early and often! :wink:

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