A first workshop has three purposes: (1) to review what’s already known, (2) to come to a creative understanding of that knowledge, and (3) to engage people to think still more (Tobin, 2013). We might also suggest some basic guidelines:

  • No more than 18 participants
  • No formal presentations
  • Two full days, lots of time for informal discussion during breaks and at dinner
  • Comfortable meeting room (table should be a hollow square) with lots of natural light
  • Moderator should make sure everyone is part of the discussion and maintain the sense that everyone is working toward a common goal
  • Mostly early-career or a mix of early-career and experienced researchers
  • Create an ad hoc committee from workshop attendees to organize follow-up.
Criteria for Success
  • The workshop fosters new questions and the idea that progress in a new direction is possible.
  • Creates a non-intimidating environment for young scientists to share their ideas.
  • Effectively dissolves disciplinary boundaries
  • Tracks technological and conceptual innovations
  • Builds a sustainable network of diverse researchers with a common interest/concern
  • Promotes data sharing and crowdsourcing
Choosing Participants

The participants should be carefully selected – smart, interactive, diverse in disciplines, an equal mix of men and women and of basic researchers, clinicians, academics, younger and more experienced investigators.