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Apr 14, 2010: To-do list for next IA Summit

So I'm the guy who raised concerns about the IA Summit's format. (Yes, this one went to eleven!) First: don't take this screed the wrong way—it was easily one of the best programs we've had yet. But attendance numbers continue to lag, and I'd rather get in front of what could become a much bigger problem. I'm very grateful to Jenn, Abby, Dick, Vanessa, and everyone else who made 2010 happen; like them, I just want the Summit to continue and thrive.

Using the all-powerful Twitter, I pulled together an informal flex track discussion nicely summarized by Red Molly. We ranged from format to content to the competition to an oldie but goodie, the bizarre ASIS&T/IA Summit/IA Institute love/hate triangle that I'm apparently the only person who understands (which isn't surprising as I'm probably more to blame than anyone else). About thirty of us went at it; as Red said, productive but not conclusive.

Here are a few thoughts that I liked. Not sure which are mine and which aren't; I'll just claim credit for the good ones. ;-)

  • The committee needs clearer responsibilities and a better structure. When you rely on volunteers, and there's little documentation from year-to-year to serve as institutional memory, too much ends up in the hands of too few, and balls are going to get dropped (e.g., mention of the flex track, design of the program). Here's a way to fix that: three conference chairs—one for the program, one for operations, and one for engagement.
  • That institutional memory thing. At least two ways to handle this:
    1. Each chair gets a lackey, er, co-chair. Co-chair shadows, observes, and (hopefully) helps. The next year, they take over as main chairs of their respective areas of responsibility. During each Summit, the co-chairs look for problems to fix and opportunities to address during their turn. Along those lines, co-chairs should convene a meeting like I did to find out what's working and what's not while it's fresh in people's minds.
    2. Convene old farts who've run past conferences. Especially this conference. There's your institutional memory, you betcha. Some of these folks (including yours truly) are already on the committee, but again, this part of my screed is about clarifying roles and responsibilities. So use old farts for old fart style tasks.
  • Create an engaging format(s). This was ostensibly my main concern. It does seem to be heading staleward, and there are lots of competitors out there. The shiny side of that coin is that there are lots of good models to rip off. Here are couple thoughts to consider:
    1. Single track, a la original IA Summit. Sure, it's nice to have everyone in one place. But (sorry Peterme) we've already got IDEA for that. Some of the "I can't be in three places at once" pressure could be relieved by making the event longer, and that's worth considering. In fact, I think it was Jared that suggested making the pre-confs—which earn much if not most of the event's revenue—included as part of the deal, and allow people to opt out of them if necessary. (Yes, calling them "pre-conference" really does make them seem like icing when they really could be cake).
    2. Use case driven program. There are people who are absolute newbies, wanting to learn wireframing (and we should be very careful not to ignore them, as most of the organizers are anything but new to the field). There are managers who want to send their teams (um, could we have team pricing then?) There are people who are there to get advanced skills. There are people there to recruit and be recruited. There are people there to sell stuff like (ahem) books. Why not identify the important use cases and implied relationships, and build the conference around them? The result might be single track, multi track, eight track for all I care. Could be one day, could be forty days. Goddammit, we're information architects, and we should be able to structure such content, even if it is complicated by the added dimension of time. This is plainly a solvable design problem.
  • Engagement is more important than the event. Before and after are as important as during. Before could seen as marketing and promo, but it's also concrete stuff like finding a roommate and figuring out what kind of topics people might want to hear presented. After is helping people take what they've learned—possibly in a physical form—and using it to educate and evangelize both the content they've acquired and the event itself. If we design for engagement, for the lifecycle of the people actually attending, the event becomes a snapshot of a longer, fuller process—perhaps the most important snapshot, but by no means not the only one. I suggest taking those use cases that I suggested identifying, and asking the basic question that never gets asked: "How can we engage with each of these groups?" Then take that question further: "How can we engage with them BEFORE the event? DURING? And AFTER?" This is why I'm suggesting an engagement chair, and I believe that engagement is more important than marketing and promo; the latter are almost a byproduct of a strong engagement plan.
  • IA Summit as an exercise in design. Need I say more? So let's have fun.
  • ASIS&T WTF: Define that role. Assuming ASIS&T continues in its current role, they should be involved in a way that plays to their strengths (e.g., finding a venue, collecting $$). Money is the critical issue, and I'd hate for ASIS&T to, for example, screw around with things like what the committee should pay for badge creation. ASIS&T should assign a budget, and if the chairs want to go over budget, they should as long as they find a source to cover the overage (e.g., a sponsor for something specific—like badges).
  • Create financial incentives for chairs. Base them on such goals as achieving a certain threshold of sponsor dollars, or registrations, or tweets, or whatever the hell would make sense. Really, it's not fair they way it works now. There's got to be a better incentive for chairs and other volunteers, especially if the current state requires them to take crap from the likes of me.
  • Ditch Crowdvine. Now. Start over with community-based functional requirements. Then find a new partner if necessary. We all bitch about Crowdvine and its shaky definitions of networking relationships. Like I said, we're a bunch of information architects, goddamit; let's find or create something better.
  • Cut the crap on having presenters register. Let's face it, ASIS&T ends up rolling this back when individuals complain enough (oops; you didn't hear it here). It's a legacy from academia (where ASIS&T originated), where institutions paid their faculty's conference costs. Given that about 1% of the IA Summit's attendees are academics, I think it's time to kill this one dead.

OK, that ought to do...

PS I originally sketched this, but the one thing Dan Roam didn't tell us was to purchase a scanner. So here's my text. Scanner recommendations gratefully welcomed...

email this entry

Comment: Ren (Apr 14, 2010)

To transfer knowledge from chair to chair, we can use a continuity book. The good thing about a book is it is portable and you can store things such as hotel brochures that may not be online.

Comment: Livia Labate (Apr 14, 2010)

Hey Lou,

A couple of thoughts in no particular order:

I volunteered to chair the summit because I want the opportunity to design a solution for what I perceive as an interesting and complex problem (diverse audience with different sets of expectations and overlapping needs, plus something that makes a significant contribution to the field).

Seriously, I want the 12th summit to be crazy good and I am going to fight tooth and nail to make that happen. I don't care what the boundaries are right now; if it's in the way of making it fantastic, it's gonna go.

"Create a financial incentive for chair" I don't think there was a historical need or that this is a must, but since NOBODY has indicated interest in taking this over in the next years, it may make sense. However, I think the lack of interest in chairing is a symptom for something else, but I don't know what exactly (possibly a lack of emerging leadership in the community, but that's a nascent thought in my head so I won't get into that).

As far as defining the ASIS&T role and the chair and committee role, I don't think we have an issue there. Or we don't have one anymore if people believe we had one before. I had a great kick off meeting with Dick in Phoenix. My goal was to discuss our working relationship and understand how we need to operate. We are on the same page on what needs to happen. Part of my responsibility now is to help this community learn what that means. Like I said, IA Summit 2012 is going to be outstanding and this was absolutely the first step in making that happen.

I am not so keen on the ideas that emerged about structure and bureaucracy with the chairing and managing of the summit. I think they stemmed because of people's understandings and frustrations with the ASIS&T relationship, which is understandable, but since I am confident this working relationship has started on the right note, I don't see the need for them.

Yes, there are some things that we should put in place and could ideally persist over the years. We'll find out what they are very soon (for example, WTF we spend the energy to create a website that meets the same need every year? Why not a persistent website that reflects the pre-during-post needs of the summit and that changes annually to reflect the theme and content instead of starting from zero every time?)

Single track, multi-track, session formats, new/old/basic/advanced content, etc, etc, there are tons of different ways to structure the program. We'll have the most appropriate structure for the content we need to offer for the audience that will come to see it. Right now, I am articulating who these people are and how their needs overlap or don't. Any descriptive structure at this point sounds like "make it blue" to me.

One other note for now: I decided to defer sending the feedback form a couple of weeks on purpose. For the feedback to be truly relevant and useful to me, I want to focus on what stays with people after the summit. "The pies were too cold during tea" helps me not at all. That kind of feedback I already gathered throughout the event. I also want to learn about other things, such as what else people are doing next year. So, just a note to expect a different feedback instrument, because I really want to learn, not just be amused by the feedback.

And as always, your thoughts and contributions are much appreciated. I wouldn't be doing this thing if it were not for a few select fire-starters like yourself. :)

Cheers,
Liv

Comment: Peter Boersma (Apr 14, 2010)

Lou,

I agree with almost all of your points!

Three remarks:
1) Engagement before and after the event is not necessarily in scope for the committee and only marginally for ASIS&T. I guess we could look at the community (and this includes IAI) to organize this.

2) Can you elaborate on "IA Summit as an exercise in design. Need I say more? So let's have fun."

3) What about location selection? I have a feeling that's where ASIS&T and the committee/attendees clash most fearsomely. ASIS&T wants "safe", "predictable" and "cheap" solutions, where attendees want "exciting", "geographically different" and, oh, "cheap" locations. Any thoughts around this?

But in general: thanks for organizing this, reporting on it, and keeping the Summit on edge! :-)

Comment: Richard Dalton (Apr 14, 2010)

I agree with all of this apart from "financial incentives" and "crowdvine".

I didn't want a financial incentive when I chaired Miami, I was trying to contribute to the community - and I think this may be less of a need if we go ahead with a suggestion like your 3-chairs one.

I wouldn't necessarily start with "ditch crowdvine", i'd think about "partner with crowdvine" - they may be very willing to partner with us to make their product better.

Comment: Fredric Landqvist (Apr 14, 2010)

Engagement & extended audiences!

IA Summit IAI and similar communities of practice would need to lend some thought into using live streaming (maybe paid event fee for distant users as myself). I would love to attend US held seminars and have face2face encounters, but both issues within resourcing (travel constraints and time) makes this sometimes impossible.

Maybe having onsite and offsite contributions to the conversations going forward as a way to extend the event?

- IA Journal contributions? mixing practice with academic flavors into the stew?

Good feeds from IA Summit anyhow ;) maybe next time around....or with future teleporters.

Comment: Karl Fast (Apr 14, 2010)

I would argue for just as many talks--we need to encourage new voices, something the Summit does well--but fewer tracks. This would require talks of varying length and arranging them in two tracks (am tempted to suggest one; three/four is too many). There are plenty of topics that would be better addressed in 10, 15, 20, or 30 minutes. I feel 45 minutes is too long (and 90 minute keynotes are definitely too long).

I doubt any talks need to be more than 30 minutes; keynotes 60 minutes. Presenters complain when their time gets cut, but most talks I've ever attended--no matter the conference--could have been dealt with in under 30 minutes. And that includes anything I've presented on. Presenters will complain, but it will also force them to focus on the core message. I know it will help me.

Adding an extra day to the Summit would introduce an extra expense and might serve to reduce attendance. I don't know that it's warranted. I'd rather see a more focused program with talks of varying length over our current length.

I don't get the concern (heard from several people) about attendance. This is the worst economic downturn in decades. Of course attendance is down. But it's still healthy--we had lots of returning people, and lots of new faces, and those new faces went away happy from what I saw. The attendance dropped after the dotcom bust and rebounded wonderfully. And travel budgets in many orgs are tied to budget cycles. You can lose your travel budget any day of the year, but in most cases it can only be increased one day of the year--when the new budget comes down. The economy is still poor and many orgs are still on last year's budget freeze. We'll have problem if the economy is up over the next two years and attendance isn't.

It is true that some people don't come back, but that doesn't mean they didn't like the summit. People like myself (9 years and counting) are outliers. Even when people have a travel budget, they need to go to lots of different conferences and can't always make the Summit.

Some knowledge transfer now happens as the next-year chair serves as the co-chair for the current year. Liv worked with Jen and followed along. The year before, Jen worked with Samantha. At least to some degree.


I will be there next year. No matter where it is, how long it is, what the format is, or whether or not I'm speaking. I'll be there.


--k

Comment: Sue Fensore (Apr 14, 2010)

Hey Lou,

Thanks for your ideas. I created the printed program this year. In two weeks. While I worked full time, finalized an IAS research poster, was overloaded with other professional activities, and continued to carry out my highly demanding roles of soccer mom, housekeeper, and short-order cook. ;-) Volunteering for the Summit was very time-consuming. It also involved lots of crossing t's and dotting i's, or maybe I was crossing my eyes after a while, but I enjoy editing and proofreading.

I had no idea when I volunteered to create the program that it would end up taking up so much of my time. And end up being so frustrating. But I'm very glad that I did it, because it gave me an inside perspective, and made me realize how hard everyone was working to make the conference as good as they possibly could. I feel that the Summit was very good this year. This was my third Summit, and the most thought-provoking in my experience, so far. I attended many excellent talks.

I agree that the committee needs clearer responsibilities and a better structure. I would have benefitted greatly from documented instructions from individuals who had previously volunteered in my position. My work would be more streamlined and efficient with better guidelines. It would still take time, but undoubtedly less time. It could be a lot less frustrating in the future if instructions are documented now as a post-mortem.

An earlier timeline is also needed. I noticed that submission deadlines were extended (for the posters, at least; and also for the sponsors, I believe - and I understand the financial reasons for stretching the sponsor submission deadlines). These time extensions, in part, lead to a terrible crunch for the organizers just days before the conference begins.

A method to record, convey, and revise the institutional memory would be immensely useful to all of the volunteers. Other professional organizations in which I've been involved who do make use of this process, as well as detailed "job descriptions" for the volunteer roles, run *much* more smoothly.

My suggestion is that those who volunteered this year be asked *now*, while it's still fresh in their memory, to write down, in as much detail as possible, what they did, to whom they were accountable, who was accountable to them, and the timeframes that that they worked within. They could also recommend more appropriate timelines/time allowances for the various activities they performed.

my 2 cents,

Sue Fensore

Comment: Sue Fensore (Apr 14, 2010)

And how could I forget . . . Jennifer Bohmbach and Abby Covert were incredibly positive, supportive, and professional throughout the entire collaboration. Jennifer is an amazing leader.

~S

Comment: Lou (Apr 14, 2010)

Wonderful feedbak; thanks all!! Quick replies:

Livia: I'm hopeful and optimistic that #12 will be crazy good. I hope I can help somehow. I'm not certain we need an economic incentive, but you're going to be putting a LOT of hours in over the next year. Whatever form, I know you'll need two things: 1) incentives, whether money or something else, to keep you going at 2am with your IAS work when you're facing deadlines at work the next day; and 2) helpers with clear roles, which is why I think having three chairs, rather than one, could really make a difference. This event has become too big for one or even two people to manage; I hope you'll reconsider the suggestion or come up with another way to delegate responsibilities clearly.

I'd also like to learn more about how ASIS&T's scope of responsibility is being defined. A good working relationship is critical, and I'm glad you're off on the right foot with Dick. But I don't think a good relationship is enough; a clear scope and delineation of responsibilities are probably even more important.

Amen about reusing the site! Imagine the value of treating current and past presos like a library...

PeterBo: "Before" and "after" should be within scope if the event is to remain healthy. That's where successful events are going; others will just be blips without any long-term impact.

As far as the "exercise in design" comment, I just think we need to look at the Summit as a designed experience, just like anything else we--well, UX folks--might design. Make sense?

Richard: My sense is that Crowdvine hasn't changed at all in the three of so years we've used it. Makes me concerned that it will continue along statically, but sure, if they're open to improving their product with our community's input, that'd be great.

Fredric: I love the idea of "having onsite and offsite contributions...to extend the event"! Another great example of designing for engagement.

Karl: I don't think the last downturn flies as an analogy. The field was far less mature in 2001; today, it's healthier and more established. I'll admit it's anecdotal, but I'll bet that the growth in IA job positions far outstrips the Summit's attendance growth over the past three years. I could have seen us dipping a year ago, but I think that the numbers should have recovered this year. By comparison, Interaction had very healthy numbers this year, up from last year methinks, in the same economy.

Sue: Naturally, I said at least one dumb thing that pissed someone off. I owe you an apology. I will say that the schedule design was far better than the one I designed in 2001!

But why should it come down to a volunteer to take this on with little time and lots of pressure? Why not have a sponsor foot the bill for paying a design firm to design it? You shouldn't have had to bust your ass at the last minute. You shouldn't have been looking for past years' documentation. This is kind of the point of my rant.

Along the same lines, my comments are most certainly not aimed at this year's organizers. I was tempted to post similar thoughts a year ago. And two years ago. Same comments would have been relevant five years ago, most likely. This isn't about 2010; it's about an event that means a lot to many of us, and we should all be looking for ways to keep it vibrant and healthy, not just for 2011, but for 2021, 2031...

Comment: Joe Sokohl (Apr 14, 2010)

Great, thorough post, sir. Your leadership is most appreciated (as is your friendship and fun).

A few comments:

1. Format & Place: I don't think we want to go to a single track for a multi-day event, because we'd either have to raise the prices exorbitantly or hold huge, impersonal sessions. On the other hand, I do remember the first summits' model of aiport hotels where folks could come in on Friday, summit all day Saturday & half of Sunday, and then leave. By Summit 3 in Baltimore, there were the beginnings of movement to go to "more fun locations where people would enjoy the venue." Maybe we need to return to the airports and their focus on just the Summit?

2. As you, Livia, and others have heard me say, I feel it's unconscionable to make speakers pay for registration. Folks who speak are, more often than not, professionals who take a lot of their own time to create their presentations, travel at their own expense, and stand on the podium, imparting whatever wisdom they might have.

3. A corollary to this point is the question of invited speakers. I found it a bit insulting that some speakers' talk proposals were rejected (yes, I'm one of those) to make room for invited speakers, several of whom had no proposal on what they're speak about. I'd recommend that invited people must meet the same deadlines of submissions as open submissions. Anyone who doesn't meet the deadlines gets uninvited. On the spot. Rockstars draw, but perhaps we should hold them to a certain rigor, if for no other reason than to provide leadership for less-experienced members of our community.

4. It's also been said before, but people need 30 minutes between sessions *of networking time*, over and above any travel time to sessions. We've said many times that a key reason people come to these events is to meet and chat and learn from people in smaller engagements.

5. As a detail, I'd like to see the luncheon topic tables somehow occur in a separate room, so that the white noise doesn't drown out conversation...or have smaller-diameter tables. Again, this is a logistics detail.

Like Richard, I've been to 9 Summits (I missed Portland & Austin). I plan to come next year, as they say, Lord willin' & the creek don't rise. But I think this discussion is quite helpful to enable ASIS&T and its supporters to reflect on measures of success and improvement.

(oh, and great to see you at the Summit, as always)

Comment: Jared M. Spool (Apr 14, 2010)

I think the discussion here is great.

However, I want to come back to something that I mentioned in the meeting.

The IA Summit, in my opinion, lacks the necessary vision. Give it a solid vision and everything else should fall into place.

I think the vision starts with a simple question: What is the experience we'd like Summit participants to have 5 years from now? (Probably going beyond just the attendance experience, to the before and after experiences.)

The answer, of course, isn't simple, but is attainable.

I think the Summit needs visionaries. People who will step up to the plate and say, "I have a solid idea of what the Summit should be." They present their idea and, if it intrigues and inspires the leadership, then they can take their turn at the helm.

This, in turn, implies there needs to be leadership. ASIS&T doesn't, from where I sit, bring leadership. Their hands-off approach for the Summit basically shows little-to-no interest in the content or the community.

IAI doesn't have any authority. While their are many IAI members who are behind the workings of the Summit, IAI is just a sponsor, not a leader. And IAI has its hands full with IDEA, a project that demands a lot (and, from what I can tell, regularly exceeds expectations).

Therefore, I think, to solve any of the challenges faced by the Summit in the next few years, a leadership corps has to emerge. This could be a group of individuals, ready to take the role of community leaders, that ASIS&T entrusts with guiding and running their event.

To sum up: Build a leadership corps who would be responsible for discovering the visionaries that would curate and enlighten with their vision for the great Summits to come.

Jared

Comment: Sue Fensore (Apr 14, 2010)

Hey Lou, I'm not pissed off. I'm simply agreeing with you that there is certainly room for improvement in organizing things overall, and I'm highlighting my specific experience as an example. (I'd love to, in some small way, help to make things easier for everyone next year). It just so happened that by the time it occurred to me that I had skills that would benefit the conference, and I volunteered, it was already early March (and I had a planned vacation for the 3rd week of March). Nobody's fault that I entered the race so late. For next year's Summit, I'll volunteer much earlier - like a year before!

I'm really glad that Richard got up at 5 Minute Madness and reminded everyone that it takes *lots* of people to make this, or any event as large as this, happen. The Chair and Co-Chair cannot, and should not, do everything themselves. Great early recruiting seed, Richard!

I vaguely remember seeing a couple of calls for volunteers earlier than March. Maybe it's just that I rarely use Twitter, or that I wasn't sure how I could help. I wonder if gearing up the volunteer recruitment a notch would help next year. And I don't mean with financial reward. That may draw people for the wrong reasons. If they're not passionate enough to do it without being compensated, well, then . . .

I now realize that one doesn't have to be a veteran IA or an experienced conference organizer in order to volunteer. I wonder how many others feel equally hesitant to take the plunge. Perhaps for "12," we can let people know that a wide variety of skills are needed, and that we can most likely find a good fit. I do feel, though, that a disorganized and stressful experience is not likely to make for repeat volunteers ... good thing I'm tough. Organizing and optimizing the planning process should reduce stress (once the bulk of it is worked through), and then we will eventually have more volunteers return b/c they had such a good experience, which will be great b/c they'll be "experienced," which will further reduce stress (and training). Like that tank fish (Gil?) on Finding Nemo said "It's foolproof!!!" ;-)

My understanding is that there was no money in the budget this year for a new design for the printed program, so 2009's format was re-used. I know it wasn't perfect this year. I'm mildly irked that it wasn't perfect. I console myself by looking back at the 2008 and 2009 printed programs and locating small errors. ;-) But then I remember something very important - Perfect is the enemy of good. I realize that previous program producers (as well as other volunteers) also have jobs, families, other things to do.

If you still feel a little bad, Lou, and still think you owe me an apology, I look forward to your buying me a drink in Denver, and I'll forgive you. :-)

~S

Comment: Peter Van Dijck (Apr 15, 2010)

Get a chair with the vision to create something new, the balls to stir things up and the wisdom to keep what works. Give them the power to decide (no committee) and pay them enough to work full-time on this for 6 months. Get people to apply for this job with their vision for next year. Community decides who they want.

Comment: Chris Baum (Apr 15, 2010)

Lou,

This convo is much appreciated.

I LOVE the Summit. As Mr. Morville stated through Mr. Hinton, "I've had better conversations at #ias10 than at any other event, ever. /via @morville."

Interaction is great. IDEA is excellent. But the Summit is MY people. Really, I can't get enough. I was crushed to miss this year, as it's the one place where my people (generally) come together, and I don't see why we should stop doing it.

Point the First - DESIGN the Conference


"IA Summit as an exercise in design. Need I say more? So let's have fun."

YES! Let's take a hint from Interaction, please! Even the first one, in Savannah, was well-thought out in pretty much every way. Were their warts? Sure, it was the first time they'd had it.*

And one other thing about Interaction - the partnerships with SCAD have really transformed the conference. It works so well in a small(ish) place in partnership with a local entity. It doesn't have to be a school, but that's such a natural fit.

Both parties benefit:

The SUMMIT with fresh energy, local knowledge, and a setting that's comfortable and lived-in rather than soul-less and corporate

The SCHOOL (or other org) with an infusion of new ideas and growth (and job) opportunities for the students. (Plus, who knows, maybe the attendees and organizers can find opportunity as well - see Mr. Malouf for proof positive.)


It's so funny how the bent of the practitioners affects the format of the events. Interaction just feels so designed, the Summit feels structured. As someone that moves between both, but has a home at the Summit, it's hard to accept that we can't do a better job of designing the in-person interactions.

Point the Second - NEW WEBSITE Every Year


AMEN!

As IAs, it would be great to see talks on a time continuum rather than just from an individual event (year) perspective. Being able to see all of Karl's talks in one place, or to see all of the talks that include X or Y subject (or even, if you get fancy cite the same works) would be amazing.

Plus, imagine how the selection process would change if we could see historical relationships...

Check out ideaconference.org. The structure could look like that tree they have right now. :)

Point the Third - LESS Tracks, SHORTER Prezos


YES! YES! YES!

I actually think that, with a couple of tracks, and bunching things by subject (or similar), we could create a conference where you didn't feel like you had to be in presentations all day each day.

Imagine how freeing it would be if you could, without guilt, go out for a couple hours on Saturday afternoon and enjoy the town/plan a meeting/take a walk with a friend, knowing that you're only missing the talks on subject X or Y that you either know all about, aren't interested in, or don't mind listening to later. Which brings me to…

Podcasting:
A simpler structure would, somewhat selfishly, help both Jeff Parks and me/B&A with the podcasting. More rooms means more fail points for recording.

Point the Fourth - We LOVE VOLUNTEERS!


Huzzah to Jen, Livia, and all of the Summit volunteers.

As someone who heads up an all-volunteer org, I know how hard it is to a) be the volunteer, and b) run the volunteers.

And Livia - thanks for taking the reigns for next year. Can't wait!

In CONCLUSION

I'm happy to see this discussion, and hope that, through it, we can continue to have our Burning Man for IAs. ;)

Comment: David Fiorito (Apr 15, 2010)

After 5 Minute Madness I sat with a group of first timers ad the big takeaway from the discussion was SOCIAL. The first timers need help meeting people, getting to know who is who, finding people to go out to dinner with. They wanted the have 5 Minute Madness every day so they could have a reason to come up to folks and talk.

They said that the IA Summit (unlike most conferences) truly is a community and they need help becoming a part of it.

I will be typing up my notes from the 90 minute conversation but that is the heart of it - reach out to the first timers and help them to get to know the family.

Comment: marianne (Apr 15, 2010)

Sometimes I feel like the police chief in "Casablanca"...shocked to find out there is dissatisfaction in the ranks. I always view the Summit from my narcissistic viewpoint and assume everyone else is having as good a time and feels as good about the money and time spent.

My ask for next year's summit is more transparency in how presentations are selected. I saw more "reruns here" than before, some good and some made me wonder how they made the cut. I know that there is a blind submission process and would appreciate some sort of ...this is the scoring method and these are the ones that got picked and here are the blind selection scores that they received. This would enable newcomers an opportunity to figure out what makes the cut and why. It might encourage them to come forward with ideas and provide even more new faces behind or alongside the podium.

Just a thought

Comment: Greg Nudelman (Apr 15, 2010)

Hi Lou,

Great discussion! In the spirit of 20-min talks, here are my $0.02:

1) (+) IA Summit is my FAV conference. Bar none.
2) (-) My client that employs 65,000 people, send to IAS this year: 0 people.
3) Actionable Value -- if it helps the bottom line, or if there is a perception that it does, companies will respond by sending their people. The perception my client had was that IAS was "academic" (WRONG, but that's what they think -- we have to work to change that).
4) Crowdvine is hurting us more then we know. Having a single IAS site (let's call it IACrowdTool) that aggregates all of the past and future content, relationships, presentations, questions, comments, notes... Would make an *invaluable* promo tool for drawing people (and companies) to the conference. Ad a job board, and IACrowdTool might just become the #1 source of content for the entire IA/Design community. Ning, used by IxDASF seems much better, but nothing is perfect. Maybe as Whitney said so eloquently, we should forgo exclusivity and make it a part of LinkedIn/Facebook Groups? I do it anyway, connecting with all the people I cared about on LinkedIn.
5) AZ is hardly the center of design world. I don't mind the trip, even when I pay out of my own pocket. Yet -- think how many more people would show up/sponsor if we had the conference in cheaper SF suburbs (Santa Clara, Berkley, San Rafael...) I bet South San Francisco would pay US to come! You get the idea. Most SF people don't mind taking a day off on Friday and companies will pay easily if it's just the conf. admission, w/o travel/hotel/food (which adds over $2000+ per person easily). Days of blue chips paying for conf. attendance are all but gone.
6) No one appreciates time on stage as much as I do. However, from the attendee perspective, a marathon of 2 tracks (strategy/practice?) of 20-30 min talks + a few 1hr workshops would be great. Delegate questions and additional material to twitter/IACrowdTool. Even if I have to shut up sooner (most people would probably consider it a good thing...)
7) IAS10 is the 1st time ever, I did not miss a single minute, made it to every session. I attended the entire conference. It was not just great this year, it was FANTASTIC! So keep up the good work, and thank you all again!!

Comment: latisse buy (Apr 26, 2010)

Internet none of this is there

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