So I’ve blogged now on the some of the thinking that Likeminds stimulated for me. But what of the event itself?

I’m now going to try and be critical. So let’s get some perspective before I do: this event is groundbreaking in lots of ways. It’s well-executed. The speaker line-up is fabulous. It’s well-attended (sold out several weeks early in fact). The conversation is online, offline, before, during and after. Lots of clever people go (and me). It’s in Exeter. It’s cheap as these things go. It’s “for the people” and a bit of “by the people” as well.

I also need to say up front that I know (and like) some of the people behind the event as well. And I know that this was only the second one they’d put on. So I guess they’ll be (after a short break, hopefully!) thinking about the next one and the tweaking they might do.

What went well:

  • Lunches. This was a genius idea. Only problem was that I couldn’t have 3 lunches with all the different people I wanted to.
  • Keynotes. All the speakers were excellent. Jon Akwue set the bar high with the first session, and the others rose to the challenge.
  • Venue and Location. I really like the conference centre, it’s a good size in a great location and the facilities were top-notch.
  • Endeavours. These calls to action were timely reminders that we could actually just blinking well do something about some problem, and were an antidote to the sometimes theoretical content (memo to organisers: do this next time, I’ve got one I want to plug!).

Improvements:

  • MORE! I want more variety of delivery models.  More depth of topic. More insights. I want unconference sessions, breakout workshops and stuff to take away.
  • Different people there. Lots of social media gurus were there. I’ve blogged a bit about this in my last post but I would like to see more operations management and non-SM practitioners there, people who will get inspired to go off and make a difference to their own jobs. (note: this is a problem at many conferences I’ve been to. A self-selecting audience drives a agenda firmly in their own comfort zone. LM is possibly better than many in this respect)
  • I want analysis of the big stuff. Which industries will win and lose as a result of the shift to the networked economy? How will our lives change? What’s the carbon footprint? What are the emerging platforms (although Joanne Jacobs covered this angle to some extent)? What skills do we need the future workforce to have?
  • Panel discussions. For me, these might improve with a different mix of people. We had lots of  writers, journalists, and social media experts. One way this might work is with a slightly more adversarial format: eg get the production manager of a company to grill the “experts” on how their strategies can help them in a live case study. We might learn more this way than with social media experts in the audience asking questions of social media experts onthe panel.
  • More focus on the individual. I know from my own experience that the biggest ROI I’ve had from Social Media has come about through locating and following the experts on Twitter and elsewhere. An additional focus I’d like to see is on personal strategies for making the most of the vast body of knowledge now open to us all. And how this effects knowledge management, HR and careers.
  • Structured networking. Lots of interesting people were there, but I never got to speak with most of them. Some speed networking sessions would go down a treat (although the lunch sessions were good in this respect).
  • Timings. The last panel session was one too many. My brain was already full. Make it a two day thing and bring the extra sessions outlined above. And run some of the workshops elsewhere if need be.
  • Mini-summits. Not the “summit” event itself, but smaller, shorter, vertical-industry events embedded into the parent event. There were at least 15-20 public sector people there, for example: this could have been a half-day as part of the conference and delivered a best-practice whitepaper back to the conference proper.

So that’s my selfish stuff done. The above would make a conference perfect for me. It’s all about me, with me!

🙂

What about you?

Advertisements