I've been thinking about this for years and my preferred way to do it would be something called Open Space. The following is a paraphrase taken from the website <www.openspaceworld.com>
Open Space (Technology) is a simple way to run productive meetings, for five to two thousand or more people. It's also a powerful approach to leadership in any kind of organization, for everyday practice and during turbulent change.
This is not electronic technology but simply a way to organize people in space and time. In the most common form of Open Space meeting, every issue of any importance, to any person willing to take some responsibility for it, gets posted on the community bulletin board, sometimes called the Marketplace wall. As work on those issues progresses, notes and other products get posted as well. Simple enough on the surface but with depth that just keeps on going.
After more than thirty years and in more than 140 countries, Open Space has been a daring and marvelous exploration of the vastness and the urgency of personal and organizational transformation. For others, it’s just an exceedingly effective, and efficient, meeting methodology.
What sets open space apart from anything else I've participated in is the complete hands off from the organizer(s) to the participants. Because the agenda is completely participant driven, the "real meat" of an issue quickly rises to the surface where it can be discussed and solved in a respectful and open manner. Rarely will management ever hand over that much authority to front line "staff".
An Open Space event begins with a provocative question or theme that participants have a stake in. For example, how can Pasadena residents create a more sustainable community in the face of resource depletion and environmental degradation? Here are a couple descriptions to give you a better picture of Open Space:
The Village Market Place.
After the organizer hands off the process, self selecting participants create groups to discuss aspects of the theme. Using the sustainable community example above, someone wants to lead a group around issues of transportation. That person would post the name of the group on the wall. Someone else might want to discuss the issue of conservation. As people come forward and post their group names on the wall, this becomes the marketplace.
Rule of Two Feet.
Once there are no more new groups then everyone in the room is told to self select a group that most appeals to them. Then groups move off to start their discussions. It's possible that a group member might realize they don't want to be in a particular group. That person must employ the Rule of Two Feet and leave the group. Nothing needs to be said. Just leave and return to the Marketplace to choose another group.
If this kind of a meeting sounds appealing to you, please email me back at firstname.lastname@example.org