An introductory review of the Next10 Conference in Berlin, May 11–12, 2010, and its motto “Game Changers.”
Die deutsche Version dieses Eintrags gibt es drüben beim Werbeblogger [RIP].
After an endless train ride, a migraine attack, and 13 hours of sleep yesterday, I felt ready to read up on people’s responses to the Next10 Conference. First thing I noticed, many people seem to have expected a kind of action conference as done by Michael Bay—with Multimedia Popcorn, Breathtaking Business Love Interest, and Socioeconomic Explosions at two-minute intervals.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that expectation, at least in principle.
But a conference motto like Game Changers, perhaps, raises the bar impossibly high on the one hand, while inviting people to slip in by simply stooping down to its lowest denominator with a shameless swagger on the other.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not sorry to have attended the Next10, quite the contrary. I’m really grateful to Martin that he gave me a push—Berlin was so far away and I had so much work to do! No, my overall assessment as to speakers and presentations as well as location and organization is positive throughout.
Which doesn’t mean that there’s no need or room for criticism. Distorting every speaker’s slides and videos into a letterboxed format [correction: at the first day] was inexcusable. Then, not all moderators in the rather pretentiously labeled “fireside chat” discussions were up to the task of reigning in both their own questions and certain speakers’ overly elaborate answers in order to allow for a few questions from the audience. Also, while the “Social Women” panel was definitely a highlight, for a variety of reasons I’d consider such a panel helpful in principle only when there’s also a “Social Men” panel on the agenda.
Finally, the Twitter experience left much to be desired. I do understand the increasing disapproval of projected twitter streams during presentations, but that no twitter wall was provided even in “social space”—which had a spot exceptionally well-suited for such an endeavor—is incomprehensible. The twitter stream’s quality itself, though, was rather poor during the first #next10 conference day; the problem was exacerbated by a simultaneously scheduled Thomas Knüwer Retweet Festival which happened to use the same hashtag.
No—definitely not the Next09’s “Share Economy” fireworks display with champagne bubbles bursting from a bullish mood. But, with only a few exceptions, all presentations I attended at the Next10 were able to communicate interesting new ideas, insights, and inspirations in small steps instead of giant leaps. Sometimes, “Game Changing” doesn’t come about as a dazzling fireworks display. Sometimes, “Game Changing” means to bring a hodgepodge of topically related ideas and developments together in one place and up to temperature until the socioeconomic brew slowly begins to boil.
Last but not least, my personal experiences at the Next10, adding to the keynote presentations, were also consistently positive. For someone like me, who not only started out with co-founding a network but focuses with virtually everything I do on cocreative/collaborative processes, it certainly sounds somewhat strange: but I hate networking and all these ceremonies attached to it. And at the Next10 instead, I enjoyed a remarkable number of really interesting, meaningful, and above all authentic conversations.
During the following two weeks, my blog posts will focus on the Next10’s subject matter and its presentations.