Monday, October 4, 2010

Is New Zealand Signs of Change a First?

Local Conference Participation - National Discussion

Mary, Pip, Nathan and I have been searching the web and the literature to try to find out if the Signs of Change is really the first conference in the world to be organised in this way. Yes, we have found webinars, and e-conferences. In these you down-load a talk someone gave, usually to their own computer in their office, not to an audience. You can then watch the lecture at your own computer.


The Signs of Change design is quite different. We realise that conference organisers are putting on conferences at exotic destinations because the only good reason most people have to go to one of these things any more is to have a bit of a holiday.
But we think that there is something actually quite important about conferences. We have developed the structure to provide what is best about conferences:

  • Some time away from normal work
  • Some time to focus on a particular topic of interest
  • Lots of opportunities to meet with people and network
  • Opportunities to hear and learn from knowledgable speakers
  • Participating in stimulating discussion with other people interested in the topic
  • A chance to contribute to furthering the ideas and possibilities in the topic
  • A special event with something to remember
  • Spitting muffin on a stranger during exciting tea-break discussion
We also wanted to eliminate the things that we all really don't like about conferences:
  • Cost of travel and hotels including huge investment in travel time
  • Time away from family
  • Paying for "overseas experts" to be flown in to tell us about far off places
  • Carbon emissions associated with travel
  • Huge conferences where it's hard to really meet people you might connect with
  • Multiple presentation streams
So, do you agree with us? What do you like/dislike about conferences?

Do you know of any other conference that has been held like this, with local venues, but connection between venues with high definition IT?

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