The Power of (Open Source) Blueprints

What are blueprints

As per Wikipedia, a blueprint is something that allowed rapid and accurate reproduction of documents. I have heard it used (and used myself) for processes too.

They are powerful because they allow me or anyone else to recreate someone else's tried and tested idea, which in turn allows the idea to spread (scale) to unimaginable numbers and reach places (and provide benefits to) the original inventor could have never dreamed of.

It allows a complete novice to the field to organize a successful event. Think of it like a franchise. You yourself do put in the work, and your success benefits the franchise as well as yourself. However, you don't have to start from scratch; you have a process you follow, that has been proven to work. When advertising your event, there is the social proof that the brand exists that makes it easier to sell it.


Some such blueprints I've come across and worked with are

  • the CITCON meta wiki about organizing the open space conference - and CITCON Budapest was quite a success, which I couldn't have pulled off without having the process to follow
  • Coderetreats - I've participated and facilitated in public & firm-internal events. The educational sessions and the superb detailed documentation the coderetreat community provides make it almost too easy to run such an event - no surprise that in 2015 there were at least 158 events on a single day!
  • Django Girls - it started in June 2014 in Berlin, and by now it already took place on all continents - simply because they have a wonderfully detailed tutorial on how to organize such an event!
  • the Elephant Carpaccio also has a super detailed facilitation guide

... but I'm sure there are many more out there.


If you are trying to bring change in your company/team, but you haven't done it before, you don't have to necessarily invent workshops yourself (of course, if you want, you can), but can simply take off established ones "from the shelf".

Caution: while you could theoretically run an event just from the tutorials, it might be beneficial to have attended such a workshop before running it. I've cooked my first paella from a cookbook, without ever having eaten one before. While everyone agreed I've cooked something delicious, later we had to acknowledge it had little to do with a real paella :)

If you are already organizing something

If you can afford it, I highly suggest you publicly document it (and license it openly), so others have a chance to do the same. E.g.: many user groups struggle finding speakers or sponsors - it would be great to have a handbook on your sponsor/speaker attraction tactics. It won't take away from the success of your event or the benefits to your reputation, you simply just enable more people elsewhere to do the same!

What do you think? I would love if you would leave a comment - drop me an email at, tell me on Twitter!

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