Laurent Haug on The Future of Conferences

March 10, 2010

in Future of Conferences

Laurent Haug (blog, twitter), French entrepreneur and founder of the LIFT Conference (Switzerland, France, Korea), thinks there are three main directions that are influencing the Future of Conferences: conferences need to be more porous, come back to the moment and decentralize. These phenomenon move in separate directions or axis and pose extremely relevant challenges to the current event world.

Conferences need to be more porous

(starts at minute 2:20)

Lift takes place in Geneva, Marseille and Korea (Jeju) and there is no way that you should be penalized because you cannot follow us in one of the countries. It’s not that because you cannot afford to go to Korea that you should be cut from this conference … So now we are working on how we can, in a smart way, embed people from the outside inside a conference […] where you are doesn’t really matter. […] How do you handle that from a business perspective? How do they pay (or should they pay or not)?

Come back to the moment

(starts at minute 3:40)

There is a need to make the moment more unique, to make it more special and catch people’s attention because now everybody has their phones, and emails, etc. We need to go more to being like a theater, towards something that cannot really be captured with technologies (e.g. video registering a conference)… and if you’re not here, you really miss something!

Descentralization

(starts at minute 4:40)

Many conferences are growing into different areas (TEDx, Lift@Home, PICNIC Salon) […] Instead of considering yourself a conference you consider yourself a community. And the conference is actually a community that happens to meet together two, three days a year at a specific location. […] How do you allow your community to meet without you? How do you allow your community to extend itself and reach new people through the people that are already members? How do you control what’s happening outside and how much do you want to control it? […] It’s like a Tupperware development of conferences where your conference is actually a recipe, it’s a set of values, it’s some processes,  it’s a way to approach things, it’s a community. How do you allow that to have it’s own existence and develop itself? As a conference organizer you cannot grow your model eternally. Lift works because we have 1,000 people but it would not work with 10,000 people. So how do you grow and how do you sustain with all of these constraints? I think one of the ways is to decentralize, lose control and let your community flow with your ideas and carry these ideas and values further.

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