At UC, we love a good bandwagon, and judging from a simple Google search, the “future of conferences” bandwagon is well and truly in motion.
Truth is, we’re not sure about this obsession with the future, when many conferences haven’t quite figured out the present. Also, most of these ‘future’ pieces focus on the form(at), which (as we regularly mention) is entirely secondary to your function.
So here are our predictions for in-person and virtual conferences that participants and sponsors will embrace, now and into the future:
Clear purpose and reason for gathering
Taking participants on a journey
Crowdsourcing, done right
Peer-led, structured conversations
Diverse, inclusive perspectives
Deep diving into issues
Learning by doing
Fun & joy
Artefacts to reference afterwards
Real value in exchange for time, effort & money
Integrated sponsors that add to the experience of participants
Death by densely packed PowerPoint
Unstructured breakouts where participants are left to their own devices (literally and metaphorically)
Networking that delivers nothing but awkwardness
Only an annual touch point - it no longer cuts it
Dissing virtual - it’s here to stay, folks
Sponsorship that involves only branding
And just for fun…
WHAT’S BEYOND THE HORIZON
Basically, evolving technology that might feel silly or awkward today, but will probably be as commonplace as Zoom now is.
But what if you’ve figured out why you’re hosting a conference and the tangible outcomes you’d like to get out of it? Then your present and future already look bright.
To infinity... and beyond!