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Ideas for SCIP 2010 - While 2009 is Fresh in Our Minds

While we're still thinking about SCIP 2009, do members have some good ideas to propose for 2010?

What worked, what didn't? What speakers would you like to see again? Were there topics you didn't see that you'd like to be addressed next year?

Should we have tracks outside of standard CI topics? What should these consist of, and do you have recommendations?

Are there format or scheduling recommendations? Do we have enough marketing and sponsorship opportunities? How can we attract more experienced CI professionals to attend?

Or do you have other questions you think we should address?

Overall, this was a great conference, but I always hear ideas at the time, and it might be a good idea to capture them soon ... before they slip away.

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It would be great to have SCIP 2010 focus on ALLIANCES with other disciplines - market research, decision sciences, marketing, product development, advertising, human resources, whatever. During SCIP09, with the small turnout, I couldn't help but think of the thousands who don't understand CI, as opposed to the hundreds who have agreed upon a certain language and methodology. If the discipline is to survive and thrive, it will be through the creation of a community with other allied organizations. Or as Craig Fleisher put it: "It takes a network."

Also, couldn't agree more strongly with Arik about the need for a virtual version of the conference proceedings - lots of people would enjoy a $100 product that provided the information at a distance. It's also another way to invite to world in, instead of keeping people out.

This may be anathema to the modern concept of Big Business Conferences, but I suspect the era of of Giant Conference Hotels that Charge $50 for a Dozen Cookies may be over. Can we think of cheaper ways to pull off a meeting? We are likely in for a LONG period of curtailed budgets, and I often thought that the only winner in putting on a conference is the Sheraton. $300 for an urn of coffee? $130 to rent a microphone? We've got to start thinking more like startups - lean and mean - if we are to keep price points in line with what the people people are feeling.

It would be great to have multiple language tracks again - there are tons of people who might be interested in workshops in English, Spanish, and French. We did it at SCIP 1998 in Montreal and it was really cool. Just a thought as we continue our journey toward globalization.

Final thought: A Playstation booth to let off steam. Too much? How about Laser Tag in the exhibit area? Too 80s?
Yeah, don't tell the Sheraton but we snuck in our own (healthier) treats for the software clinic on Wednesday rather than pay $4.25 for a macadamia nut cookie... SHH! That bought a whole box of Clif or Zone bars.
I would strongly agree with Eric on costs and trying to find a cheaper way to have annual meeting, so we don't spare on paper for notes and similar.
I think there are tons of people who would like to have us there (in their hotels, conference rooms etc), even universities - we could stay at some campus or similar -issue is timing I guess. Why not move the dates of the conference when students are on vacation?
I find it very useful for networking staying at same hotel with everyone but unfortunately this was way over our finances. So we stayed in rented flat four of us which came cca 150U$ per night for the whole flat.
Why not rent let's say couple of 100s of flats (ok, this was maybe too much :) ).
Some of these are not realistic I guess but I gave it a shot :)
Hmmm - I kind of like the idea of some kind of networking event that doesn't just involve food and alcohol. We could get creative with this.

Another thing that was great about the conference was the international participation. Perhaps - even if we don't provide translation - we could have a Global CI track with focus on CI in certain countries or issues related to this. This might get both US and international members and attendees in together, perhaps in an active dialog format, and we could learn from each other.

And I second the motion to focus on ALLIANCES with other disciplines, and volunteer to work on it within the program committe next year if the conference leaders and SCIP agree. It could even be a separate track to get more awareness and to attract more attendees who are not strictly CI managers.

Great ideas!
I agree with a lot of the postings about the need for more networking time, like a long reception in the exhibits hall. We need to make sure there is good traffic for our exhibitors and more networking time so that can accomplish both goals.

This year I really enjoyed the open dialogs so let's keep those coming. I think the real challenge with those is for those who lead them to impart some information about the topic at the outset and comment from time to time with their expertise, since they often know more than the attendees so there could be more learning that way.

While I enjoyed play time on Friday afternoon, I would have been happier with more time with my SCIP colleagues, and also more time in the exhibits area that wasn't in direct conflict with sessions. There were too many good choices especially on Thursday afternoon, so it was hard to pick.

Another logistic: will attendees get copies of presenter slides, perhaps off SCIP's website to download at some point before we forget what we saw? One year, SCIP allowed attendees to download the PDFs for the presentations before the conference. That was the best, since you could read all the bios etc. on line and look at the slides. I printed them out the ones for talks I would be attending so I could take notes.

I like Eric's idea for alliances with other disciplines so we can expand our base. I know this is an ongoing challenge at SCIP, but if more of us tell other disciplines and associations about SCIP, the numbers will grow.

Overall, it was a good conference...it went by way too quickly for me. I liked the hotel and its location by the river near Lake Michigan was excellent.
Congratulations first to everyone involved in organising past conference!

Here are some of my thoughts. Some may have been already mentioned by other colleagues.

- We had some suggestions during our CTI forum discussion at our table (proposed by Mr. Gary Oosta) to have CTI as a separate track on annual meetings.

- I think someone already mentioned here as well as on CI2020 active dialogue: bringing in other professions where there could be some synergies (PR, Strategy, Business Development, ....). Of course these people (more precisely their societies) would maybe look at this as competition so it needs to be thought about and planned carefully, maybe find some respected professionals from these areas and organise a whole track on Synergies between CI and other professions

- I learned from one of respected colleague (won't mention his name) to visit few sessions (2-3) in paralel, while there are good and bad things about this (annoying other people and presenter:) ) I have a feeling that some sessions could be shorter (especially those where there is no substantial case study). Sometimes 30 minutes is more than enough for good ideas, and I think we are all there more or less for networking, learning experiences and ideas.

- More time to visit exhibit hall

- Revenue generation idea - allow 3-5 minutes for exhibitors to present themelves before sessions(randomly or for more fee before certain session) - short, clear, with opportunity to take people's cards for later contact, etc.

- academics track (experienced people would guess is it needed every year or every other) but I think we all want to see advancement in teaching CI at academic level and in business schools, with the new trends and research in the field

- practical new things - new methodologies tried or developed, this is a hard one but would attract people I think.

- My reasons for going to SCIP annual conferences are primarily networking and finding new ideas, maybe (if this was done sorry) an online survey should be done after the conference asking people about their reasons for coming, not only about topis they want to hear

Hope I added something useful
Mislav
Mislav, you mention again the really serious issue about concurrence of too many simultaneous, great sessions and how people have adapted (me included) so as to maximize value.

As I'm sure attendees at other conferences have as well, SCIP attendees have learned to "session surf" from one topic to another (like we do with our TV remotes at home) and this sad reality needs to be addressed to help paying attendees to realize optimal value, while also to avoid disturbing the speaker(s) and the participants who have committed their time to occupy their session for the duration.

I'm not sure of the best method for doing this, but I can guarantee it's an issue that irks me (and a lot of other people) to no end every year. The value lost to the attendee when they can't participate in all the sessions they want to visit has a lot to do with the length of the overall event and a tangible downside to this density of choices. But it also has to do with the risk of grassroots methods of multiplying one's own attention span; Twitter hashtags notwithstanding, ad-hoc teams of attendees (usually from the same org) regularly split up to cover and report back after the meeting on what popular session had to say about topics of secondary or tertiary interest to colleagues.

Unfortunately, there's no spot on the eval forms to communicate this structural issue to the program committee and SCIP staff so it can be addressed in future meetings, so it never surfaces as a problem that needs to be overcome... plus, the status quo is way easier.

As CI people should know better than anyone, ignorance of risk is no excuse - it'll have its impact just the same.

August, please lobby hard for two small but significant changes: a longer main conference (or a simple restoration of the WD-CD-CD-WD tempo of yesteryear [WD=workshop-day; CD=conference-day] which would extend the main conference more naturally) or find some way of capturing sessions for replay later on... at least, by those who invested their ever-scarcer treasure in physically coming to the meeting in the absence of a business model for monetizing this content for non-customers on the Internet.

As always, I'm happy to help go guerilla on this with you to figure it out.

Arik
I really like the idea of getting other professionals into the room to talk CI. We spend so much time talking about how to make CI valuable to our organizations and things we can do as CI professionals to raise our profile, it would be great to have SCIP offer something to help us out.

Perhaps through virtual attendance or specific session attendance to offer people in non-CI jobs an idea of what we do and how that helps the organization - "How to get a step ahead on your competition?" - "What do you know about your competitior's weaknesses?" - etc...

In structuring these to fit within the schedule of a Director/VP that has oversight to CI or a Sales director and offer them an a la Carte option, perhaps SCIP 2010 can get some of these folks in the room and to understand the additional benefits they could get from CI.
Perhaps this year the Program Committee should take some of these ideas and brainstorm, then prioritize them under goals before shaping the tracks etc. For example, we have special interest groups like CTI that want time or a track at the conference. Maybe it's WD, CD, CD, Special track day (that way those who want more pay a bit more and stay for specific areas such as CTI, Setting up and Managing CI Dept, Sales Intelligence, or maybe this day we also try a track for the non-CI professionals in different disciplines. Those folks could come for that day or for the entire conference. Means more revenue for SCIP, more variety for attendees and a more in depth experience for those who want one. The basic conference remains relatively the same at the same price.

Throw all the ideas in the pot and stir ...

Claudia
My idea: have a SCIP room / area open for anyone to sit down, have coffee, and network. Keep open from 7am - midnight each day of conference.

I drove 12 hours to the conference on Wed.... and 12 hours from the conference on Friday.... with just Thursday to listen, present and network. It seemed a shame that Thursday night there was no place to just go and sit down with the goal of networking with other attendees. I'm sure a CI vendor would be happy to sponsor an area and provide coffee.... nothing fancy is needed.

I did have a great Thursday meeting some of you (and very happy to read your presentations today online).
Here's another idea not as well thought out, but caffeine is helping! Yes it's closer to dinner time, don't ask!

What about shortening the sessions to a total of 45 minutes and continuing each discussion w/Q&A electronically somehow? I was thinking about that somewhat this year, as I only spoke about 30 - 35 minutes in both my talks and there were plenty of questions. Why not set up the expectation for attendees that they can continue to ask questions after the session electronically and the speaker or other attendees will answer. Almost everyone brings an electronic device and we have the PCs set up in the exhibits area. Maybe we find a sponsor to have a PC in each room, and that sponsor gets a 3 minute intro before the talk, like Arik was suggesting. This might also be a good way to address Arik's issue of people who presentation hop. This might also be a way to engage nonattendees, who want to participate for a smaller fee.

What about taping all the sessions so they can be for sale including slides and voice after the presentations? I had this done in a webinar recently, and if people spend the time, they get so much more from listening while looking at the slides. So SCIP could make money by selling individual presentation w/ or w/o podcast.

We need to brainstorm a few areas that could make a huge difference, August and I'm happy to participate:

1. Electronic sharing, taping etc
2. Networking in all its forms before, during and after the conference to keep people engaged
3. Organizing sub-groups as Claudia we mentioning and identifying a leader for each, like Martha Matteo for CTI. (I would be willing to host a sales intelligence SIG)
4. Attracting non-CI professionals/associations as sponsors, presentors, attendees, like Eric G mentioned

Arik...I also agree that the old format works better since it also lends itself to more networking time. Alan, I like the idea of a CI networking room, and perhaps we could also have CI networking areas by specialty like CTI, sales intelligence, counterintelligence, etc. The issue here is finding the space, and we could also support this electronically.
To start there is some duplication in my comments which just confirms we are all thinking the same (great minds think alike).

The things I thought worked really well were the active dialog session and the quality of the presenters and the topics was a highlight of the conference for me. I can honestly say there was only one presentation that I attended that I thought was sub-standard.

This follows on to my first suggestion, which many of us have all responded with, there could be fewer sessions running at the same time and run the conference for longer. I travelled to Chicago from Australia and many of my clients and peers in Australia and Asia Pacific who would have also like to attend found it hard to justify the cost for what really added up to 1 1/2 days. Most conferences I attend internationally are 3 days or longer. This would appeal to more CI practioners in the Asia Pacific Region who have a long way to travel and a higher cost to attend.

More Key Note/Conference sessions presented by our key SCIP members presenting from their wealth of knowledge.
There are some key experts amongst our members and some great case studies that could be presented to the entire conference at once in a key note. A good example of this is John Prescott and Alessandro Comai with the CI best practice model (which was run as a pre-conference workshop) but the key points could have been presented to all and would get the message out to a larger audience to help us truly develop a worlds best CI practice.

I would also like to see some of the vendors provided with a short time slot (30 or 45 mind) to present their software or offering. This is one of the key things I come to see at these conference as it save me hours researching vendors and potentially missing some useful offerings. At many conferences I have attended with other organisations usually some of the key vendors are provided with these sessions which run in a time slot dedicated to vendors, at a time that does not compete with normal tracks. I find that a few minutes to talk with vendors in the exhibition hall is not usually sufficient for people to get enough detail, rather it is an opportunity for initial interest to be registered and then follow up after the conference. Arik session on the Wednesday was fantastic and gave those who attended great insights to three key vendors.

Finally many presenters promised copies of the presentations and I am not sure if we will receive these this year, but I would definitely like a copy as it allow me to review some of the content and gain some insight to session I could not attend.

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