Program vision and update

During our first few weeks of selling Drupal Europe tickets, we were frequently asked about how our program is going to be structured. In this post we will outline the structure of our program and what it means for you.

Why change what works?

Pedro Lozano (Drupalcon Barcelona 2015)

Our organizers are regular attendees at DrupalCons and other Drupal events. DrupalCon has always had a very high level of quality in terms of sessions, speakers and diversity.

At a DrupalCon you would usually see the following elements:

  • Monday — Summits for industry-specific groups such as Government, Media and Publishing, etc. (Separate ticket required)
  • Monday — Training in a small number of topics presented by experienced professionals in a hands-on manner for a whole day (Separate ticket required)
  • Tuesday to Thursday — Sessions and workshops organized into tracks based mostly on expertise area (Backend development, Frontend, Design/UX, Site Building, Project Management, etc.) as well as common shared interests (Being Human, Building Community, Core conversations, etc.)
  • Sprints for some attendees on all days of the conference but really in full swing on Friday with a great group of mentors available to onboard new contributors
  • BoFs which provide an unconference style setup for people to self-schedule topics and gather with other people around a shared interest
  • Social events including well-known gatherings like Women in Drupal and First-Time Attendee Social

To meet the high expectations of our community, we will keep as much as possible of what worked well. At the same time, we wanted to improve the structure of the program by gearing it towards people who are interested in seeing Drupal applied to specific industries.

Speaking with many past sponsors and attendees, we observed that the main difference between European and non-European events is our fragmented markets. With fragmented markets you have a lower chance of meeting with colleagues, business partners, and customers from your markets, which leads to lower sponsor involvement.

Even if the program is outstanding, lack of sufficient business support makes the event impossible to put on. The primary feedback from all parties was that a Drupal event this size works best as a melting pot of different aspects of Drupal. This is an event where developers, decision makers, project managers, and other roles can share their work and get inspired by real-life stories like Drupal used to control insulin pumps, usage on cruise ships and many more.

Since we cannot really influence the European geopolitical questions, we looked at other aspects to help unify markets. In Europe, Drupal has a strong base in government, publishing, education, social media, and more. There are even Drupal distributions for these purposes originating from Europe. Also we have historically held various business events like the Drupal Business Days as well as popular events like Drupal Splash Awards that have contributed to Drupal’s strong European influence.

Therefore we are incorporating these successful event formats into Drupal Europe.

How Drupal Europe will be different

Focus on industry verticals

Instead of having a specific day for industry participants, we decided to organize the whole event around where Drupal is applied. Drupal Europe focuses on the following verticals:

  • Digital Transformation + Enterprise
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • E-Commerce
  • Higher Education
  • Publishing + Media
  • Social + Non-profit
  • Infrastructure
  • Drupal Community
  • Drupal + Technology
  • Agency Business

Instead of primarily focusing on the technology used (e.g. frontend), you will see frontend talks in the government vertical, the e-commerce vertical, and so on. A great React online store implementation would be presented in the e-commerce vertical. A compelling multi-channel civic project will be included in the government vertical. We believe this focus of the program will help attendees see the value Drupal brings to their respective markets. It should also compel potential speakers who may not use the latest bleeding edge technology but have deeper industry know-how and insights to present.

Having specific industry verticals allows sponsors to meet with their peers, partners and clients and exchange information about important industry topics and around Drupal and Open Source Software in general. Also they have the chance to learn from other verticals that might face similar challenges in their growth. As a sponsor you can buy sponsorship packages targeted specifically at the verticals.

While focusing more on business, we did not want to lose the spaces and opportunities a conference of this size usually provides to Drupalers. Therefore the last three verticals are more focused on us Drupalers and represent the traditional structure with a focus on community, Drupal technology, and agency business.

Working on the program at DrupalCon Nashville

Expertise tagging

There is of course not one true way to organize sessions, so while our primary organization structure will be verticals, we’ll also use tagging on sessions so you can identify content based on expertises like frontend, backend, and so on… We also believe it is useful to keep the varied lengths and formats including panels, longer workshops and short lightning talks in most verticals.

Given this direction, Drupal Europe will not host summits on Monday.

Expanded opportunities for contribution

However, we also want to strengthen the space provided for contribution. Therefore we will hold a contribution day with mentors already on Monday (additionally to the usual mentored contribution day on Friday). Our contribution room will be open on all days in the conference venue. Join us on Monday to possibly get your contributions committed at the conference!

Birds of a Feather and Trainings

We don’t see a reason to change the unconference aspect and will make space for Birds of a Feather sessions as much as the conference venue allows us to.

Some training providers reached out to us to discuss training possibilities for Monday. We have space for training on Monday, and are still in talks with possible trainers.

Social events

We are also looking forward to continuing the traditional social events and already have an enthusiastic sponsor lined up for Trivia Night.

We’ve seen the success of Splash Awards in various countries across Europe: The Netherlands, Germany and Austria, Norway, Bulgaria, Denmark, France and Romania. We are proud to host the first European Splash Awards! Winners from local competitions can compete in this international contest. It is not too late to organize your local Splash Awards.

One ticket for Drupal Europe gives you access to all this great content. Don’t wait — buy your ticket now!

Join the program team!

Currently we’re looking for volunteers to help the program team create the best possible program. It would be great if you have a background or strong interest in one of the conference verticals so we can reach out to the most interesting speakers.

If you are interested, please email us at program@drupaleurope.org

If you have valuable contacts that you think could help us make Drupal Europe an awesome event, please refer them to us or this blog post.