Connecting people through Information: the story of WIAD 2016 in Mexico City
When we called @lara_fedoroff and @ecstrato 2 years ago trying to understand the requirements in order to apply for WIAD 2015 we never realised how big the WIAD in Mexico City would become. The first edition started as a pilot for a small group of people (50) but in our second year, the number of attendees went up to 168 (!!!). There’s no words to thank the @iainstitute for the opportunity but mostly, we should thank the mexican community that was eagering for discussions about IA in a deeper level and responded to the event with a level of engagement that was remarkable.
The event in CDMX was created to empower the local community throughout IA matters, and the idea is always to connect people through information. And we can say that this mindset will the same for 2017 and all other years.
The 2016 theme was “Information Everywhere, Architects Everywhere” and in the end of the day, the @worldiaday succeeded the task to connect all of them across the globe.
In the CDMX event, we will always try to connect industry, academy and the market embracing IA in a practical way. This effort starts at least 11 months earlier, when we start planning the overall experience, then the lineup selection, event format, logistics, funding, sponsorship, staffing volunteers, interact with other geographies, and more.
Some weeks prior to this year’s event things started to become faster and crazier, companies that believe in IA sent out their sponsorship. We started to receive a LOT of freebies and other companies started to release funding or other initiatives, and all buzz made the community go crazy :-)
The 2016 event came with A LOT of great surprises for the community:
- When we contacted @platzi looking for sponsorship, they suggested something even better: the creation of an IA training in spanish — the first of its kind in the world! They would support the training creation, and also offer a full month free of charge for all WIAD CDMx attendance. Thanks a ton @mikenieva to make this a reality!
- Same thing happened with @SWMexico: They suggested free IA workshops for the Startup Weekend attendance across the year! Eduardo Hernandez, thanks a lot!
Talking about the conference format, we planned the event with 4 speakers in the lineup, and the approach here was to bring HCI, UX and Usability professionals that work with (or teach) IA.
We tried to innovate the format by having one less speaker to create a 1.5hour panel centered in the audience to allow them to interact with the speakers throughout a question that would drive a discussion. The question for 2016 was “How to prepare students and companies to the IA role in all Mexico?”
The feedback was great: 86% of the audience rated the change as positive.
For the panelists we decided to invite the 2015 speakers, the 2016 ones and IA professionals working on CDMx. We would like to thank @mauricioangulo, @ZairAmanda, @vmgyg and @Juan__Gonzalez to accept the invitation to make this day unique (and also to support the community with the 2015 speak). We also invited @jsneij due to his work in Africa and other large organisations on the IA field.
“Everything set” for the event then we receive an email from @cwodtke:
I don’t know if you’re all set up, but I’ll be in México right before WIAD, and could extend my trip to speak…
Holy moly! Christina just sent us a note and more, she was asking if we could consider her as a speaker! YES, OF COURSE!!!
But due the tight timeline to get sponsorship we lost that chance (at least for 2016)*.
The damage was done. Something else was missing. We should find someone else with previous experience on other WIADs to complete the speakers’ lineup. When we started to think about the scenario, we found the Eldorado: who was invited as a panelist? @jsneij with his previous experience on WIAD’2015 Barcelona. So we invited him to switch badges and complete the lineup.
Now everything was set. But once again we received a message 12 hours prior the event that shocked the whole committee:
Umberto Eco è morto. Il mondo perde uno dei suoi più importanti uomini di cultura contemporanei e a tutti noi mancher…www.repubblica.it
So we spent the dawn changing the things a little bit to honor all his work and influence on UX matters. The committee touched base and then we remembered one important quote, 100% connected with the IA community:
“Any fact becomes important when it’s connected to another.”
― Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum
So after a quick discussion we started to create graphical material and change our main deck but also added some quotes around the venue to reinforce Ecco’s importance in our lives:
By the end of the day IBM Mexico’s auditorium received 113 people looking for connections to enable IA everywhere. A massive attendance that we would like to thank one by one. The event was great and we have received a great feedback, but we also failed in some points that should be improved for next year’s event:
- In 2015 we had a 50% no-show rate, so then we changed the way tickets were generated on the Eventbrite: instead of releasing all of them at once, we started to print tickets on-demand. This increased the attendance, but the feedback was not all positive: 26% of the attendees said that they had a bad experience when using Eventbrite (1–2 rates).
- The no-show rate for 2016 was 33%, a great improvement, but this is still the biggest challenge we should tackle for 2017.
* The original attendance number impacted on the food quality. The budget that we reserved for the coffee-break and lunch wasn’t enough to offer a healthier menu. And we received negative feedback about this matter: Pizzas and crackers should be reinvented for 2017 (we share the same opinion).
* The raffle mechanic should be redesigned: Due to the large amount of freebies (42), we had to call 76 people until we delivered them all. We have received valuable feedback on this matter and this will be different as well on 2017.
- Some attendees did not receive their certificates (19) due logistic errors. This certificates were sent over mail to address this situation and we are deeply sorry for all the inconvenience this could have generated.
That said, it’s also important to mention that 91% rated the event positively! Our Likert scale showed that the overall experience was rated as very good/excellent with a 80.6% rate!
We would like to thank our AMAZING sponsors @teslaamazing, @RosenfeldMedia, @InVisionApp, @UIE, @usertesting, @Mockplus, @axurerp, @balsamiq, @just_in_mind, @protoio, @OReillyMedia, @undrstndng, @ibminteractive, @platzi & @SWMexico.
** Christina, would you like be part of the WIAD 2017 in CDMX? We would LOVE to have you as keynote speaker!
The presentations are available in slideshare:
The conference videos are available in youtube under WIAD CDMX channel: