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I wanted to make everyone aware of the fact that the call for proposals for sessions for the SCIP 2009 conference has been posted to the SCIP web site:

Proposals are due at midnight on September 01, 2008.

As much as I can I am willing to offer advice or guidance about proposals in this forum of via e-mail at

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Thanks for the heads-up August. I'll ask a rhetorical question (as I think I know the answer already) about the conference theme – any particular emphasis based on the venue (Chicago), economy (good, bad, ugly), trends in CI or other topics that might help the program flow together more holistically?
Indeed there is an emphasis for the conference. The theme is "growth" and applying CI skills and methods (old and new) to identify and guide opportunities in new markets. While not all proposals have to be about "growth" it is a theme we are going to endeavor to weave throughout the conference in part through the proposals we choose. In our current economic environment we felt this theme addressed an immediate need of the ultimate consumers of CI insight.

Derek and I have also worked very hard to address feedback that the conference needs to offer more programs for the veteran CI professional. We've done our best to balance the needs of beginner, intermediate and advanced professionals by making some modifications to the track structure. The tracks for SCIP09 are as follows:
* CI Offense/Defense
* Professional Effectiveness
* Critical Skills
* Entrepreneurial CI
* Intelligence R&D
* Active Dialog

The first three tracks are traditional conference tracks with some slight modifications. We've combined CI Offense and Defense into a single track. "Offense" is fertile ground for topics related to CI in growth areas such as "blue ocean" strategies and new geographic markets, while "Defense" can be related to protection of intellectual property and methods for counterintelligence. We're positioning "Critical Skills" as the track to address the needs of beginning practitioners and give them the basics they need to conduct quality CI. "Professional Effectiveness" is geared more at the intermediate level and is intended to address issues of management, communications, career development and other competencies outside of the core CI skill set we still must have in order to be effective professionals.

"Entrepreneurial CI" is intended to scratch the itch of the veteran attendee. We've developed this track with the clear direction that proposals should show us something we haven't seen at a SCIP conference before. The emphasis in this track is in practical applications of these methods. "Intelligence R&D" is a slight modification on the legacy "Scholarly & Innovation" track to explore new topics from the world of academia and research.

"Active Dialog" is a continuation of a track from previous years that takes us outside the presentation format to create a more interactive forum for discussion of topics in CI. A successful proposal for this track will propose an interesting topic that will spark a conversation and describe some sort of output from the dialog that will be brought back into the CI community of practice to describe the diversity of opinion and experience of those in attendance at the session.

The text of the call for proposals goes into deep detail on each one of the tracks and even includes some suggestions for potential topics. Our purpose in doing this was not to be prescriptive but rather to give interested presenters some ideas that would get their creative juices flowing.

One important piece of advice I want to give to prospective presenters is to really spend some time developing a quality proposal. Show the programming committee that you have a firm grasp on your topic of interest and that you bring something unique to it. Demonstrate competency by describing themes and sub-themes you intend to address. Real-world cases are always a strong selling point. Tell us how your professional experience relates to your topic. Clearly articulate what the audience will gain from your presentation. Spend the time to have proper spelling and grammar. Do an outline and a draft over the course of a few days. Have colleagues review your proposal before you submit it.
Thanks for the heads-up. However,what is the rationale for slashing the total compensation on the workshops? Until now, SCIP has paid speakers based on attendance,, which reflects what revenue SCIP gets: 10 attendees -> $6,000; 20 -> $12,000, etc. Now SCIP has eliminated airfare for one presenter and also capped the fee for the presenters. All that is left is the hotel room (one night) and registration at the convention, which does not cost SCIP very much.

Also, the site refers to the contract, but there is no link to the contracts. When will they be posted?
John, you are being generous in what you state SCIP has paid its Workshop presenters in the past. For some time now it has been a sliding scale with an absolute maximum of $2000 for a HD Workshop provided you get over 20 fully paid registrations and $4000 for a FD Workshop - same registration numbers required. You get no more for selling over that limit. In other words, if your Workshop is attractive and it bursts at the seams, then you get no more recognition, or payment than those which just scrape over the 20 mark. If there is more than one presenter then you share the payment. Now, a "stipend" of a measly $750 is being offered with what appears to be a means tested begging bowl available for the poor. Is this the way to treat professional presenters? I don't think so. It is demeaning. You can do the math. Work out how much is being paid by delegares in fees, then look at what you are being offered. The 2009 "stipend" is about one tenth of what it should be if this were a professional, commercial arrangement, plus the additional benefits. I would expect most professional presenters/educators to treat this offer with the contempt it deserves. In San Diego my HD Workshop had 46 registrants, brought in around $40,000 in revenue for SCIP and I got $2000. Still only one hotel night paid for, the same as for those who did not have to travel nearly 12000 miles over an elapsed period of 3 days to get there and back. There is a limit to how liberally one might wish to intepret the term "volunteer". This arrangement extends the generosity requirements from the volunteer in terms of time and expertise, to a level well beyond what I would consider reasonable.
You have said it better than I could. Ben Gilad and I had at least 28 (that is the number f evaluations we got), producing, well you do the math.

I suspect that what SCIP could end up with is smaller draws for the workshops they will present in 2009 once speakers that have proven their past drawing power do not participate. And, I suspect that will be then used to justify the down-sizing of the comp. package. Can you sy ex post facto?

I know already of three past workshop presenters that will not be submitting proposals for SCIP09 due to what you properly call over-extending the demands on volunteers. With you, that is now 4.
Yep - sounds about right. I suspect there are many more who will simply not bother - why should they? I too know of several "names" who have decided not to go to Chicago. They have simply had it with this type of treatment. As you say, the more "valuable" presenters won't accept these conditions as they don't have to. What clearly has not been realised is the knock-on effect of poor Workshop figures on the main conference. The former feeds the latter in terms of delegates and overall satisfaction. Likewise, nearly all Workshop presenters offer (and usually are accepted for) a conference session. So the pool of talent from which content is being drawn would seem to be diminishing rather quickly. Now, there may well be new talent out there who will seize the chance to fill the gaps left by the more established names and good luck to them. We all had to start somewhere, but it is a risk for this to occur wholesale. I think the caveat that no Workhop will be cancelled is rather niave. This means that even if you have just one delegate, it will run. Is that a quality educational offering .......?

I think that you and John are discussing an important point. In my opinion workshops need be paid based on revenue sharing. It means that presenter will get a certain amount of $/Euros per each participant. My opinion is that using this method will be much simple for a presenter identifying its own break-even point. If the workshop is done with two presenters then revenues must be shared between them.

"Needs-based pool of funds allocated for travel expenses" sounds like the language of college scholarships.

How exactly do they plan on analyzing needs? Do they want company financials, or will it be exactly like college grants, based on parental income?

Do they want my Dad to file a FAFSA detailing his income from the farm store? I mean, Agway is doing well this year since the price of grain went up and people started planting more gardens, but I think he figured I was done using him as a reference for loans and grants ...

Eric, that made me laugh out loud!
I do want to take a quick minute to make an important distinction between a discussion of compensation for workshop presenters and a general call for proposals. This is a distinction that may not be obvious for those who are new to SCIP or the conference.

Workshops are four- or eight-hour sessions led by an experienced CI professional delivered in the days before or after the conference itself. They are attended for a fee above and beyond conference registration. I've attended a few in my day and they are excellent. Eric, Sheila and John are talking about compensation for workshop presenters. SCIP national has made decisions about changes in the compensation for those presenters. The best medium to express concerns about changes to that policy is with the SCIP office, and I encourage interested parties to do just that. This is an open forum and people will do what they will, though.

Sessions are hour-long presentations or active dialogs that are held during the conference. Admission to these sessions is included in the cost of the conference registration. The topics are diverse and geared towards various professional levels of experience. Likewise the speakers often have varying levels of experience, and this is an important medium for new voices with new ideas in CI to be heard. The compensation for session presentations is a complimentary registration to the conference. This compensation has not been changed.
Hi August,

Thanks for the news. I will definitely send a proposal about the topic John Prescott and I are working on.

I think that Sheila and John are discussing an important point. In my opinion workshops need be paid based on revenue sharing. It means that presenter will get a certain amount of $ per each participant. My opinion is that using this method will be much simple for a presenter identifying its own break-even point. If the workshop is done with two presenters then revenues must be shared between them.

August, thanks for helping with definitions, and for directing folks with questions about policy to SCIP's office. I fully support that recommendation.

I disagree with the points that Sheila made in response to John's question. I have benefitted in the past from SCIP's compensation of hotel and registration as a workshop speaker and as a session speaker, so I have some experience with SCIP's practices. (I have not been in competition for workshop compensation based on attendance.) My motivation for speaking and presenting has been professional develpment, networking, and contributing to the association. Any compensation I received at the time I viewed as a happy bonus. I stand by that viewpoint today.

In my time on SCIP's board, I have come to understand much more deeply the economics of associations and the operating models for delivering conferences. It's my understanding now that the norm for non-profit associations in the US like SCIP is to comp registration. It is unusual to comp any speaker other than the keynote speaker. Reimbursing hotel stays is also out of the norm. So SCIP's rationale is normalizing to its own industry practices and is making good fiscal policy. My understanding of the norm comes from SCIP's ability to benchmarking with the American Society of Association Executives.


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