Thursday, March 25, 2010

When Thought Leaders Are Just That

Yesterday, I attended the International Association of Conference Centers' (IACC) Thought Leader Summit at Workspring in downtown Chicago. The theme of the panel discussion was "incorporating advancing technology into the meeting experience," and eight terrific panelists brought a variety of perspectives to the table.

Have you ever put together or attended a "thought leaders" session which turned out to be less than thoughtful? This was one session — Webcast live for 2010 IACC-Americas Summit
attendees — that was aptly named. It was three hours long, but when you have eight insightful people feeding off each other, the time passes quickly. And that, not surprisingly, was one of the biggest takeaways from the session: Meetings today have to be much more about collaboration than one-way content delivery.

As panelist Mark Greiner, senior VP and chief experience officer for Steelcase, said, "The reason why collaboration is coming into play so much now is that the problems are too big to solve in a cubicle. The world of work has shifted. It used to be very linear, procedural. It fit the work model. Work has evolved, so what is left are the tough problems, the creative problems that demand collaboration to create generative work, to create new knowledge."

New knowledge. The kind of thing you hope comes out of meetings and conferences, and what I got out of yesterday's session.

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