Almost in with this much of the conference thinking is still firmly stuck in what I call the conference 1.0 and 2.0 thinking.
Conference 1.0: put an inspiring speaker (or a series of inspiring speakers) on stage who inform, educate and entertain the public with their thoughts. There is limited time for interaction with the speaker(s) - if there is time at all. The goal of these conferences: to inspire and educate. To show a new horizon, new ways forward.
Conference 2.0: combine inspiring speakers with workshoplike formats, thus allowing for interaction between members of the audience and speakers.