Birds of a Feather
Following along the lines of Open Source Technology, a BoF session is an informal meet-up (at a conference), where the attendees group together based on a shared interest and carry out discussions without any pre-planned agenda.
BoFs can facilitate networking and partnership formation among subgroups, including functionally-oriented groups such as CEOs or geographically oriented groups.BoFs generally allow for more audience interaction than the panel discussions typically seen at conventions; the discussions are not completely unguided, though, as there is still a discussion leader.
A BoF differs from a special interest group or working party as there is no fixed agenda to the discussion. Birds of a Feather sessions provide face to face exposure to those interested in the same projects and concepts. BoFs can be organized for individual projects or broader topics (best practices, open data, standards).
What I like about this concept is that without an agenda the discussion can pretty much go anywhere you want to take it. New idea could be formed and followed up at a leter date or collaborations started with people you had never thought of working alongside before.
A fishbowl conversation is a form of dialog that can be used when discussing topics within large groups. The advantage of Fishbowl is that it allows the entire group to participate in a conversation.
Four to five chairs are arranged in an inner circle. This is the fishbowl. The remaining chairs are arranged in concentric circles outside the fishbowl. A few participants are selected to fill the fishbowl, while the rest of the group sit on the chairs outside the fishbowl. In an open fishbowl, one chair is left empty. In a closed fishbowl, all chairs are filled. The moderator introduces the topic and the participants start discussing the topic. The audience outside the fishbowl listen in on the discussion.
In an open fishbowl, any member of the audience can, at any time, occupy the empty chair and join the fishbowl. When this happens, an existing member of the fishbowl must voluntarily leave the fishbowl and free a chair. The discussion continues with participants frequently entering and leaving the fishbowl. Depending on how large your audience is you can have many audience members spend some time in the fishbowl and take part in the discussion. When time runs out, the fishbowl is closed and the moderator summarizes the discussion.
In a closed fishbowl, the initial participants speak for some time. When time runs out, they leave the fishbowl and a new group from the audience enters the fishbowl. This continues until many audience members have spent some time in the fishbowl. Once the final group has concluded, the moderator closes the fishbowl and summarizes the discussion.