On Improving Conferences: The Reflection Session

Harold Jarche, like me, is reflecting on his recent attendance at conferences: I’ve been thinking about knowledge sharing, after attending a couple of conferences in a row and heading off to another. One thing missing in these discrete time-based events is that there is litle time for reflection. Most presenters hold back their knowledge in order to “deliver” it just before the big official presentation. This presentation is followed by... Read more →

More on Conferencing Mash-ups

Friday I wrote a post on conference homophily--conferences that bring together people who share the same worldview and conceptual frameworks--and proposed conference mash-ups as a solution. I got a lot of great comments that I think warranted another post. Conference Mashup Models and Options Tim Davies suggested framing a conference around some shared challenges or problems: I wonder how this would work framed around particular 'problems' and challenges: the literature... Read more →

Conference Homophily is a Problem--Maybe Conference Mashups are the Solution

I'm back from a two-day conference and I think I've discovered one of the reasons conferences are becoming a big waste for me--the homophily problem, otherwise known as "birds of a feather, flock together." Most professional conferences are made up of people who are in a particular occupation or industry, which means people who tend to look at the world through the same lens. We tend to view problems and... Read more →

Virtual Career Fair Lessons Learned: Planning and Preparation

< One of the projects I completed earlier this month for a client of mine was an online career fair. It was geared toward middle and high school students, their parents and educators. Our goal was to expose them to career exploration information and some summer job search tips and techniques. The event took place over a three-day period, with a "teaser" webinar the week before the career fair to... Read more →

Reflections on an Open Space Conference

Last week I ran an Open Space conference for 50 service providers who work on connecting individuals with disabilities to employment. For the uninitiated, Open Space is a format that encourages dialogue and problem-solving around key topics, rather than pre-set presentations. Just wanted to capture a few thoughts/reflections while they're fresh: I worked with a team of about 8 people to put the conference together. We did it entirely through... Read more →

"An Ideal Conference Helps to Define a Community"

Over the holidays I had a chance to watch this video interview with Robert Scoble and Tim O'Reilly. Some good stuff on the differences between BarCamp (open to everyone) and FooCamp (invitation only), but the money quote for me was when O'Reilly said: "An ideal conference helps to define a community." I love this quote. It puts the notion of community-building at the center of conference-going. It says that the... Read more →

How Do You Faciliate Activities for a Large Audience?

Blogger and friend Christine Martell will be presenting next week at the VizThink conference where she'll have the (dubious) honor of facilitating a 30 minute visual activity with 300 participants. Over at the VisualsSpeak blog, Christine and business partner Tom Tiernan are wondering how you facilitate for a large audience, and more particularly: Are the group dynamics of a large audience different than small groups? How do you prepare for... Read more →

Why Face-to-Face Still Rules

Yesterday's plea for rethinking face-to-face meetings apparently struck a nerve, as a lively discussion broke out in comments and Jane of Wandering Eyre weighed in on her blog. As you'll recall, I was complaining that a group I'm working with wouldn't use online tools to gather information, preferring to meet face-to-face and I suggested a few reasons why I thought that might be true. I was initially going to keep... Read more →

A Plea to Re-Think The Desire to Meet

Question for the Day: Why does the face-to-face model of sharing information persist? Currently I'm working with a state-wide group of youth providers working on a specific grant. One member recently circulated an email asking if people were interested in meeting for a few days and if they were, what did they want to accomplish? Within minutes, several emails came back indicating that 1) getting away to a meeting would... Read more →

The Rise of the Do-It-Yourself Portal

In the past few days, I've found a number of new portals online. I'm starting to wonder if we can't learn a thing or two from what's happening. First, via Eisenblog, came Open Learn University's portal, created by Stuart Brown in Netvibes to support OU students and instructors. Then I find Crimson Connect, the student-run Harvard University portal, developed in the wake of student dissatisfaction with Harvard's "Official" website. (Take... Read more →