The 2nd question to reflect on is ‘What are ‘good’ odd moments and what are those ‘bad’ ones to avoid?’ By ‘bad’, I mean those odd moments which are not conductive to the learning objectives. As such, the answer to this question is really ‘it depends’. On one extreme, if the learning intervention is about topic like group dynamics or self-awareness, I think all odd moments are learning-friendly. In fact, the odder, the better. A classic example is the Group Relations Conference which basically provides white space for assumptions to be surfaced. See my earlier posts – Tavistock Experience and Tavistock Experience – Learning Design.
How about the workshop I mentioned in the beginning i.e. learning objective around collective wisdom? Most odd moments are still good for learning so long as the learning transfer mechanism is in place. See my thought on question 1.
On the other hand, though messiness can help learn collective wisdom, it is probably not a good idea to start a workshop by saying ‘Welcome to the workshop! We the facilitators have prepared nothing and let’s see what we can learn together in the coming 3 days. By the way, we only booked this room till 10am. [silence]’ It probably forces people out of the Learning Zone into the Panic Zone.