The group blog collecting people’s thoughts is really good reading.
We do it this way because it works and because we’ve seen the alternative really fail big time again and again. Because it’s unusual for most of us and outside of our everyday experience, it’s tempting to make two mistakes. One is to think that because it’s the first time we’re doing it, that this is the first time it’s being done – nope – it’s a well-established technique that is probably used somewhere in the world every day to help large groups of people organise their own experience. Secondly it’s tempting to look back at bits of the day that didn’t work for us and think it didn’t work because we got the grid work wrong and therefore we should do it differently next time. This mostly comes up as a suggestion that “just a little bit more structure or pre-planning” is introduced. While I’m sure that we do get things wrong sometimes and there are ways that we can make the process serve us better, I don’t think that it’s a reason to introduce pre-planning. All that pre-planning does, in my experience is make people who are feeling anxious and don’t trust the process think that they will feel better. The answer is to trust the accumulated experience that the process works well – this will give you much more relief from anxiety and will truly make you feel better.