While I was at Ark Group conference on Law Firm Libraries in New York last week, I got to wondering what other types of non-traditional conferences were out there that I might enjoy attending. Therefore, I though it would make for a great Elephant Post question. There are a number of conferences out there that are not traditionally attended by librarians, but which I think would be a great experience for law librarians and enable them to expand their professional and social circles. So things like Legal Marketing Association meetings (local and national), LegalTech, TechShow, ILTA, and Association of Legal Administrators are a few of the usual non-traditional conference that we should probably go to every once in awhile.
The contributors seemed to really zoom in on South By Southwest (SXSW) and TED conferences. However, there are a couple out-of-the-norm suggestions that sound pretty interesting as well. Thanks for the contribution. As usual, we will do this all over again this time next week with a fresh question (conveniently located at the bottom of this post.) Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Matt Homann is Mr. Non-Traditional Legal Conference. I attended his first LexThink non-conference a number of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Oh yeah – I learned a lot too.
Instead of Theater or Classroom style, Matt uses an open room with spaces designed to attract people and encourage dialog. I hope to catch another LexThink non-conference again soon.
Last year, just prior to TECHSHOW, Matt ran a Pecha Kucha style set of presentations. These 6 minute, fast paced presentations force presenters to stay on topic, stay on time and get to the point. Again – enjoyable and educational.
So – I guess my answer is: anything Matt puts together.
Bay Area Theatre Sports (aka “BATS”) Improv
If you’ve never taken an improvisational theatre class, you owe it to yourself to take one. Improv is to the mind what yoga & pilates are to the body: it limbers up your mental processes, and makes you stronger and more flexible in your thinking. The foundational elements of good improv strikingly parallel the foundational elements of good professional presentation and networking — complementing your colleagues’ ideas by responding “yes and” instead of “no but”; making your colleagues look good; not getting stuck in your own ideas; being open to change; and the list goes on.
If you happen to be in the Bay area, you must check out the BATS classes and shows at http://improv.org. If you live elsewhere, there are great classes and workshops throughout the country, so I encourage you to find one near you. And by the way, if you consider yourself shy by nature and aren’t typically the social butterfly at the party, my recommendation for an improv workshop is twice as strong.
SXSW. No question. I’m a media junkie and I would love to spend a week or two surrounded by people who work in film and interactive technologies. It would be energizing to get away from the traditional, left-brained law firm/ librarian world and immerse myself in one filled with artists and other creative types. Not only does SXSW have top notch speakers, but they also have interesting sessions. Social media analytics? Sure! Artistic Collaborations Via Skype? I’m there! Augmented Reality? Tell me more! I’ve always been interested in what’s coming down the road technology-wise and how that impacts the world in which I work. This would be a good conference in which to see what’s going on “out there.”
Plus- and a big plus at that- the music will be out of this world. I know I could learn a lot about collaboration, team interactions, improvisation, etc. at The Saxon Pub or another venue. Seeing Carolyn Wonderland at Antone’s would be the perfect way to unwind after a day full of conference sessions.
TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading and is a conference I would really enjoy attending. The TED conference is an amazing opportunity to hear from and interact with many of the thought leaders of our time. Topics range from technology to environmental, from process improvement to rethinking traditional ideas and include areas of concentration on design, science, business and global issues. This conference is by invitation only and thus far I have not been invited (fingers are still crossed). The good news is, many of the talks are available online. It isn’t the same as being in the room with these people, but it is still very inspiring.
Sure it’s going on RIGHT. NOW. So going isn’t exactly likely. And, yes, I can get most of the sessions online. But, come on — you know you want to go, too. The theme this year is The Rediscovery of Wonder, for Pete’s sake! Wonder! Who doesn’t want some of that?! The prospect of stumbling into some wonder is what gets me out of bed most mornings, so a whole conference committed to it? Oh yeah.
I think if there’s any silver lining to be had in the recent years of economic turbulence and the challenges faced by legal, it might be that it’s shaking us up. Many of us have been in legal technology for years. We’ve been coming in day after day doing the same things.Sure, every once along comes a “knowledge management” or a “cloud,” to shake things up, but, in many ways, legal has been Old Faithful. And we knew what to expect and we knew what to do.
But those days are behind us.
And right now, it’s an amazing time to be a legal technologist.
Or a really scary time.
It’s all up to you.
Right now, you can reinvent yourself as our industry reinvents itself. No idea is off the table. For the first time in a long time, new perspectives, unconventional approaches and [shudder] “out of the box” thinking are not only welcome, but they’re a necessity. Everything you thought you knew about legal technology is changing. Fast.
So what better time to open up your brain and let a whole slate of creative thinkers dump their experiences in. The ideas don’t have to be obviously applicable to techbnology — that’s what you’re for. Dig deep. Think hard. Swirl all that exciting juice together with what your expereince in legal technology has taught you, and just imagine what amazing innovation might come spilling out
So, yeah, I want to go to TED. I want to have my mind blown. To be inspired. To be awed. To be excited. I want to help change the face of our industry. And if I let that TED-y brilliance wash over me and help me see things in ways I never have before, I can’t help but wonder what kind of magic could happen.
Rediscovery of Wonder, indeed.
Next Week’s Elephant Post Question:
Do You Plan on Buying the New iPad2 Or Another Tablet Device This Year? What Do You Plan On Doing With It?
Of course we’ve all been hammered over the past 24 hours about the release of the iPad2 and it’s dual cameras, light-weight and new features. Along with all the hype of other tablets that have been released, or are soon to be released, it seems that everyone is expected to finally jump into the whole tablet fray. If you have an iPad (version 1) are you going to dump it (or finally just give it to your kids or spouse) and jump on the newer model? Anyone going with XOOM or Galaxy Tab or Playbook?? How about those of you who think the whole tablet rage is not worth all the talk?