Archive for October, 2015

You Don’t Have to Go to a Conference to Enjoy It

October 6th, 2015


This post originally appeared on the Harvard Business Review site here.

Are you jealous of your colleagues as they jet off to attend yet another innovation conference? Do you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) when you see people in your network sending tweets and posting pictures from TED, SxSW, or Burning Man? How do they have the time, money, or connections to always wangle their way into every cool conference? You don’t have to be envious though. For a growing number of conferences, you can now participate without actually going. I’m not talking about passively reading a post-conference report, or perusing blog posts that summarize key points after the fact, or watching videos like a voyeur. I’m saying you can actively engage, learn, contribute and even influence the conversation. This is becoming more and more possible as social media platforms increase access to content, speakers, and participants in real time. You don’t need to be in Austin or Vancouver or Black Rock Desert. You can attend from wherever you are.

As the host of a global innovation conference (BIF Collaborative Innovation Summit), I’ve been watching remote conference participation play out over the last 10 years and I’m convinced that it’s a good thing. Lets face it; professional conference goers are a pretty homogeneous bunch. But fortunately, social media platforms are enabling anyone with a web connection to join, breaking down the socio-economic barriers that limit the diversity and ultimate value of conference interactions. Attendees are sharing their experience, not to promote themselves or the event, but to increase engagement around new ideas and the likelihood of real action as a result. Read more