zaterdag 29 januari 2011

Conference 3.0

Conferences are about telling a story, together with speakers, public and facilitators. Conferences are about strategic, tactical and operational excellence. At least: at surface level. At a deeper level they are abut connecting spirits, minds, souls, about transformation of practice, transformation of people. Nothing esoteric: its simply about making it happen through connecting the powers of kindred and inspiring spirits. Of knowmads.

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.

The conference 3.0 format that I can see arising, is the type of conference where the audience learns from the audience. Where the audience is it's own teachers, facilitated by professionals who know how to connect people and how to connect knowledge. Action learning in groups and teams. Unconferencing. Away from the top down method. Onto a method where you put value to the audience and their knowledge. People will hardly come to your conference to hear something new. The new is out there, in the social media. And the other new - original thinking - is out there in conferences like TED. Which are great, but not every conference can be a TED experience. And not every conference should aim to be. Conferences are about your public and about your goal. It is a working form, a means to reach and end. Not an end in itself. 

People come to conferences, to share their experiences and learn from others. They come to transform their organisations and their own functioning. 

If you want a conference, note these trends, give some thought to whether a conference is the right means for your end and if so: give these new forms some thought if you want a conference. Dare think about this and dare to do it, before you start organising on the automatic pilot on the 1.0 and 2.0 format. 

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