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This year, I got to be involved with organising the Women in IT function for Tech Ed Australia. It was a fantastic opportunity & meant I could work with Asli Bilgin & the other Women Build creators to host a Lego Serious Play Women Build event for the first time at Tech Ed Australia. WomenBuild

The Women build concept was first run at Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) last year. I was fortunate enough to be one of the attendees at the event and loved it so much, I wanted to make sure we got to experience it in Australia. Since PDC, I have attended 3 Women Build events in the US, and been trained as a facilitator. It was just amazing to have the opportunity to host one this year at Tech Ed Australia.

The event was promoted in the key note, it was featured on the Tech Ed Australia Website, in the event brochure and in the end we had over 80 attendees. Denise Meyerson from MCI Consulting did a great job of facilitating the session and keeping us moving quickly in the 1 hour time we had.

We had some amazing table facilitators who represented women in all different areas of technology & stages of their careers in IT. I cannot thank each of them enough for making it a success. Our facilitators included Bronwen Zande, Andrew Parsons, Jodie Miners, Elaine van Bergen, Anna Howarth, Alison Young, Jenny Firth & Linda Birchall.

We had a good mix of males & females in attendance and the topics were not just around the challenges women face in IT, but also around encouraging overall diversity in the workplace.

So what did people think?

Twitter was abuzz with comments & pictures of the Lego creations, comments like “the LEGO Serious Play was excellent. Very good at encouraging participation and collaboration” Twitpics of peoples creations started to appear as the room filled with the sounds of happy chatter & the clicks of Lego Bricks being assembled:

legobricks legoconstruction legos

Everyone I spoke to afterwards also really enjoyed it, and so far the feedback via the Evaluation forms has also been really positive. But hey, just don’t take my word for it – read what our attending Press representatives had to say:

In the Press:

http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/317902

http://www.itwire.com/content/view/27583/53/

 

So, What now?!

1. Join the Women Build Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups.php?id=564304866&gv=2#/group.php?gid=47027341816 There is also a discussion group set up just for the Australian Tech Ed event. http://www.facebook.com/groups.php?id=564304866&gv=2#/topic.php?uid=47027341816&topic=10002 Feel free to connect & stay in contact with the women you met via this group.

2. As we did have the reduced timeframe for the session, one of the things we would normally ask participants to do at the end is to commit to one thing they can do in their local community to help solve their discussed challenges. Often this can be around mentoring, encouraging greater attendance at local usergroups & IT conferences, or even helping to identify & promote strong role models. For those who attended, please feel free to use the comments section below to let us know what you plan to do, and how it goes!