Last week we had some really great discussions about device use during events. Some people were getting frustrated with others loosing focus and getting distracted using their cellphones, so naturally it came up for a couple people at our checkouts.
We came up with a process for avoiding this by making it explicit before an event starts if cellphone/device use is permitted at the event by marking it on the event sticky-note on the schedule.
A few weeks ago we started using a 1-to-5 seriousness/focus rating represented by dots on the event-sticky. This seems to be working well, as it gives people a better idea of what to expect at the event. It has also helped event organizers keep people on topic having the focus rating to remind people of; “Hey come on, this is a focus lvl 4 meeting guys.”
We started with scheduled events having just the name of the event, then we added a second note for the name of the event organizer, then the seriousness rating, and now device use.
We have a whole set of expectations for event hosts/attendees which include the guideline of event attendees to ask event organizers if they can do something with their hands during the event. The examples we’ve used when talking about this have been: eating lunch, doodling, doing origami, knitting, or playing games on a laptop. It’s interesting that using a cellphone doesn’t seem to fall under this category for most people. There is a broader culture of people pulling out their phones in more or less every other social situation, so at Endor it seemed necessary to make a separate note about this.
I was really glad that this concern came from participants spotting issues within our culture. The process works!