Reclaim yourself, question everything...
At Missing Link we always feel that the best and only effective way of improving our own conference consulting, is by attending the best that the world has to offer. So when MD Samantha Dean suggested that we hit Innovation Uncensored in New York City it was a no-brainer:
Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored event embodies the ethos of our brand and represents the culmination of our work throughout the year. Innovation is at the core of everything we do. Every day on our website and in each issue of the magazine, we explore innovative groundbreaking business solutions across every industry.
- Great speaker list
- Free stuff
- Short and sweet
- Panel discussions were not great
I’ve waited a few weeks to post this review as I was in two minds about the conference. When I left, I left disappointed, however I often find that conferences take a while to settle. When you find yourself quoting stories and case studies weeks later, when you find yourself making changes in your own company based on what you learnt – well, that’s a good conference.
With that in mind, Innovation Uncensored was a good event, but there is definite room for improvement.
As I’d like to end this post on a positive let me start off by pointing out what I didn’t enjoy: the panel discussions.
Panel discussions are a difficult beast to get right, first, you need an amazing facilitator. This is where I think things went wrong – the Fast Company journos are great, but they are clearly not pros in this regard (although some were a lot better than others). In a panel discussion, the burden for preparation shifts from the presenter to the facilitator. This is a huge responsibility, basically the facilitator needs to get the single best nuggets of information out of each speaker. For me, a far better idea is to give the speaker a subject, and let them prepare a talk. It’s their brain, and they are far better at poking inside it than a facilitator would be.
The other problem is that at the end of a panel discussion you leave wishing you had heard more from a specific speaker. My suggestion to FC would be to give each panelist a 10-min time slot, then get them on to the stage for a short panel discussion after the fact. A best of both if you will.
Don’t get me wrong though, these segments were very interesting, they just could have been a lot better.
While I’m on negatives – the wifi access sucked (really really).
It never ceases to amaze me how the speakers you remember the most at a conference are rarely the draw cards that got you there in the first place. Innovation Uncensored was no exception. While the idea of listening to Morgan Spurlock (SuperSize Me / The greatest movie ever sold – trailer below) and Jared Leto (30 seconds to Mars / Requiem for a dream) was very appealing, the speakers that got me thinkiing the most were Marty St. George (Jetblue) and John Landgraf (FX Networks) I could easily have listened to these two deliver an hour long keynote each. Other standout speakers for me were Jason Kilar (Hulu) and Tristan Walker (foursquare).
Also well worth checking out is Fast Company/Lincoln’s 30 Second MBA
Here are a few standout quotes from the event:
“Agencies become a detriment to companies because agencies only have their own needs in mind.” – Morgan Spurlock
“The most important thing I can do for my brand is get a person on one of our airplanes… the cheapest marketing tool we have is an empty seat.” – Marty St. George
“Never underestimate the power of the relentless pursuit of better ways” – Jason Kilar
“Most revolutions are sparked by the actions of a few ordinary people.” – Jennifer Aaker (Stanford GSB)
“Give social media time to direct itself… the community self-regulates over time – Jim Hanna (Starbucks)
“The whisper is often louder than the scream.” – Jared Leto
“Social media is re-knitting the collective experiment” – John Landgraf
“Beware the nincumpoop forrest” – some dude on a video referring to the nay-sayers that will kill your idea
All and all, it was a good conference. I’d say a 5-hour flighter (worth attending if you can fly there in under 5 hours) – if you can, I’d jump at the chance (see what I did there?)…!
May 26, 2011 at 3:39 pm | No comment