Wiki Managing events with MC/OD


This initial draft is summarized from an internal workshop transcript with help of a large language model. It may contain inaccuracies and is not yet reviewed by a subject matter expert.

The MC/OD system is a flat organizational structure used for managing volunteer-based events, like hackathons. It was developed to promote flexibility, distributed leadership, and hands-on learning.

  • MC (Master of Ceremony) or DRI (Directly Responsible Individual): Each MC (or DRI) acts as the lead or facilitator for a specific aspect of the event, like logistics, food, or sponsorships. For more information, see the MC section.
  • OD (One-Day Director): The OD serves as the ultimate decision-maker for a single day of the event, providing focused leadership and ensuring alignment with the overall event goals. The OD sets the tone for the day, makes real-time decisions, and resolves any issues that might arise. For more information, see the OD section.

Politics of event management

While seemingly unusual, applying a political lens to event management helps understand the power dynamics at play:

  • People: The core participants, including staff, volunteers, and attendees.
  • Policy: The established guidelines, rules, and desired outcomes for the event.
  • Power: The decision-making authority and influence within the system.

Recognizing these elements is crucial as they directly impact the event’s success.

Voice, Vote, Work

The MC/OD system emphasizes three core tenets:

  • Voice: Encourages open communication and idea sharing, fostering a safe environment for everyone to be heard.
  • Vote: Decisions are often made through consensus-building and "request for approval" processes, considering diverse perspectives.
  • Work: Every individual takes responsibility for specific tasks, actively contributing to the event's execution.

This structure ensures that every voice is heard, decisions are made collaboratively, and responsibilities are shared.


MCs, sometimes also called DRIs, are responsible for specific areas or tasks within the event. Anyone can become an MC, regardless of prior experience. MCs:

  • Collect input from other participants
  • Propose plans and decisions for their area
  • Delegate tasks to volunteers
  • Report progress to the OD


The OD provides high-level direction and coordination on each day. They:

  • Set the overall vision and goals for the event
  • Delegate authority to MCs for different areas
  • Have veto power over decisions if needed
  • Facilitate communication between MCs

Key features

  • Flat hierarchy: No fixed departments or permanent leadership roles
  • Flexibility: Participants can take on multiple roles as needed
  • Shared responsibility: Every member acts as both a leader and a follower, fostering a sense of ownership.
  • Learning focus: Inexperienced volunteers are encouraged to take on new responsibilities.
  • Adaptability: The system is highly adaptable and can be tailored to fit the specific needs of each event.
  • Transparency: Regular all-hands meetings and open communication

Further reading

Old draft

In this model, multiple Master of Ceremonies (MCs) take on different responsibilities and aspects of the event or camp, with each MC managing and coordinating tasks related to their area of focus. Meanwhile, the One Day Director (OD) is responsible for overseeing the logistical aspects of the event or camp, such as scheduling, staffing, and managing the event site.

By distributing decision-making and authority across a team without a single person serving as the head or leader, the MC/OD model can promote a collaborative and efficient team environment where everyone has a voice and can contribute to the success of the event or camp. However, it's important for the team to establish clear communication protocols and decision-making processes to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that issues are resolved quickly and effectively.

Overall, the MC/OD model offers a unique and innovative approach to event or camp management that can lead to more engaged staff and attendees, as well as more successful and well-executed events or camps.


UPDATED 13 July 2024