I have worked on a few conferences in my day. Either as a speaker, co-chair, or committee member — not just in the design world either. So when I say that Enterprise UX is going to be different it is because it is unlike any conference I have been a part of before.
I have felt this for some time, but last night as we did a run through of just one of the four themes, I experienced for myself what we’ve been hoping to happen for everyone who is attending — the conversation was happening. The program committee’s main thesis is that we know “Enterprise” means something to those practicing in and for large organization, but we had way more questions than answers.
Lou Rosenfeld, our ring leader, has had the clearest vision that our program needs to both be created as a conversation, and needs to include moments of conversation and these two principles have been driving our curation and our crafting of the format of the conference. So last night our Insight theme speakers and their theme owner were engaged in their first dry-run. In 12 years of speaking publicly I have never done a “dry-run” of a talk with the other speakers I’d be presenting to to.
During the dry-run they gave their talk pitch, gave each other feedback, decided the right order they should go in and then proceeded to give their talks where everyone was able to critique each other, facilitated by a theme owner. This all happened almost 2 months before the event. And listening in the whole time is a speaker coach, to boot.
One thing that has highlighted this process as being unique, is when one of our very experience speakers asked the question, “Is it normal for you folks to have your 1st draft of your presentations done months in advance of the conference?” Seriously, I have had one instance where talks were reviewed by the organizer before hand and given great comments. Thank you Jared Spool. I learned so much back then. Never has it occurred though that a group of speakers at a conference were not just encouraged to communicate as they may during a panel, but required to work together to craft actual talks across a theme like this is happening.
So after last night I wanted to share this experience with y’all. I wanted you to have some insight into how we are crafting this event and why we feel it will be a special experience.
What does a crafted program look like?
Each speaker wasn’t just sent an invite, but rather invited to a conversation about what it would mean for them to participate in the conference. What the expectations of participation meant and how they felt they could be contribute. Believe it or not, we sometimes landed on, “this doesn’t feel right” with a few.
We are providing each speaker the option of making use of a speaker coach. Even the most experienced people can learn a ton from a good coach. This will help our speakers tell better stories, have better presence, and be more focused in their content and presentations.
Since the conference is already on a niche topic it doesn’t have its own theme, but we strove to create a narrative broken up by four themes or chapters. This allows the speakers to engage in a more focused away along shared experiences and goals and we hope will give attendees guidance in how to focus their conversations in and outside of the hall.
We are focused on specific audience. More precisely we have said from the beginning this event is not for practitioners at all levels, but we are focused on senior level practitioners and leaders within design, research, development and product management.
We made sure that each theme had an owner who was a renowned expert in that area of practice and theory. They are responsible for keeping the theme coherent, managing the internal narrative of that theme, and synthesizing the conversation among the speakers in that theme and then during the conversation facilitating that conversation among themselves and the great audience of the conference.
Speakers within any given theme are collaborating with each other to make sure that their talks map against the theme narrative. They have been reflexively creating the narrative together. Their talks are actively complimenting each other with the goal of creating a greater discourse.
What does this means for attendees?
It will mean a better conference experience. Given that this event is a single track, 2-day event the attendee of Enterprise UX will experience a cohesive narrative broken down into distinct, consumable, pertinent, relevant, and well structured chapters. Further, they will be engaged in a shared discourse as there will be ample opportunity, both in the hall, and outside the hall to engage speakers and each other around these topics.
What are you waiting for? Register!!
So for reading this not only are you inspired to attend this amazing inaugural event, but you are incented to attend with this great discount code: MALOUF15. It will get you 15% off the full registration cost. So just register.