“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

IA Summit: the Future of the summit

The summit is a great success. As someone on the planning committee I feel partially responsible, but I also feel that so much of the success is because if the planning committee lead, Stacy Surla (yeah!!!! Stacy!). Many things went exceedingly well for this conference because of her great ideas. But there were a host of great thoughts and comments (some that conflict with each other that are worth documenting for the future.

The good:

  • Canada and eastern Canada was a great idea. I opened up Europe to us in record numbers in that we were closer and less problems with visas. Vive le’Internationale.
  • The 1/2 day preconference workshops were all fantastic. The content was rich and there were so many to choose from. The fact that they were 1/2 day was also fantastic in that people didn’t feel like they were investing so much into a maybe for 8 hours. I was 3 for 3 personally. What a great set of workshops.
  • The extra day of the workshop. There is so much great stuff here and it would have been a shame to eliminate any of it.

In stead of saying the bad, I’ll just put these as future challenges (not all these are my original thoughts):

  • How can we have pre-conference attendees be more socially engaged in a more formal way?
  • Is there anything missing from the conference? Is there too much?
    • What is missing are the other practitioners that think about digital solutions around information. Software developers, especially on the vendor side of CMS are missing. How can we bring them in? is this even a space for them?
    • On the flip side, If we are starting to focus IA on “littleIA” more and more, maybe we could cut out a track that is not IA related? Someone mentioned that they think that 4 tracks is a tad much and many people (myself included) felt in conflict b/c they had to choose between two equally good options. Oy! if only every program manager could have this problem? But maybe focusing the conference on IA could eliminate some of the sessions and thus allow us to only have 3 tracks.

On a separate but related note to all this, Dick Hill has invited me to think about what it would mean to create an IxD space (maybe an IxD pre-con) at the IA Summit? I’m totally interested in what people think of this possibility.

My trouble with the idea is that people are not going to travel for just a pre-con. they need to think that there is value for them throughout the conference (which there is), and I don’t think that they’ll see it as valuable. One person made it abundantly clear that software designers need to have IA knowledge to do their jobs more effectively. I couldn’t agree me.

Expanding this idea further that if (and I mean IF) we say that we want software designers here with us, not only is the content of the conference going to have to change, but also the brand itself. Since there is value in the brand, “IA Summit”, this is a difficult move. I believe we ould get on a lot more radars, if we changed the name to UI & IA Summit.

Check out the summit though. There is some good stuff here for everyone!!!! if you don’t think so, I would say you probably aren’t doing as good enough job in your product design as you could be doing.

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