Six Conferences To Watch In 2011

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I like to attend conference and events that are unpredictable, unusual and unforgettable.

I suspect you are like me. We don’t want to attend another conference that is so predictable that we know when to arrive at the general session so that we miss all of the preliminary chest-thumping and business bravado. Conferences that are predictable have become stale and average at best.

Here are six early 2011 conferences that have caught my eye and whetted my learning palate.

From Tradition to Transformation: Building the 21st Century Association to Thrive

While technically not a face-to-face event, this three-part Power Learning Series is the wave of the future for Webinars. Jeff De Cagna and Peach New Media have flipped the traditional Webinar model. Participants are asked to view the presentation on-demand and then complete a specific activity related to the core content. Later that week, participants remotely gather with De Cagna for a ninety-minute recap, discussion and next steps. The focus of these webinars is on the learner’s needs, not the instructor’s content.
February 7-10, 2011 Achieving Stakeholder Intimacy in the Age of Diminishing Privacy
February 14-17, 2011 Energizing New Value Creation through Innovation Networks
February 21-24, 2011 Designing 21st Century Business Models for Associating 

EventCamp Chicago

EventCamp Chicago is a BarCamp-style unconference planned for meeting and event professionals. EventCamp focuses on using social media and technology for events. Highlights from the 2011 conference include keynote speakers Chris Brogan, Hank Wasiak and Liz Strauss.  Each keynote session will be followed by a crowdsourced topics and a Continue the Conversation, a facilitated discussion of the keynote. The conference will be livestreamed free courtesy of Sonic Foundry and InXpo. Disclosure – I am on the planning committee for EventCamp Chicago.
February 12-13, 2011, Catalyst Ranch, Chicago, IL, The Hotel Allegro ChicagoSustainable Meetings Conference

The Green Meetings Industry Council has an innovative conference idea for their 2011 Sustainable Meetings Conference. They will be using principles from the online gaming world – specifically role-playing, leadership, narration, feedback, and ranking – to encourage attendee engagement and hands-on learning. Each team will receive a customized iPad complete with game instructions, social media functionality and point tracking capabilities. Definitely one to watch!
February 20-23, 2011, Doubletree Hotel, Portland, OR

Next Generation Learning At Great Ideas Conference 2011

Next Generation Learning at Great Ideas 2011 will look at what the research says in terms of how people learn differently with the use of today’s new media and how to successfully apply and implement the research in your association. It will be a learning lab that models unique, innovative education formats including hands-on interactive activities to livestreaming to facilitated Peer2Peer Roundtables. Great Ideas Conference has been labeled the innovative experience by many ASAE members and the Next Generation Learning takes it to the next learning level. Disclosure – I am on the planning committee for Next Generation Learning.
March 13-15, 2011, Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, CO


Summit Series

The Summit Series is part networking, part TED, part extreme sports and has become the epicenter of social entrepreneurship. Organizer’s goal is to connect and inspire a new generation of leaders to succeed in business and in life. Attendees are online connected, highly engaged in social sharing and not fazed by others texting on mobile devices in the middle of conversations. The DC10 Summit Series had a who’s who of speakers from President Bill Clinton to Philippe Cousteau to Mark Cuban to Lauren Bush to Jessica Jackley. Is this conference the wave of the future for Millennials?
April 8-11, 2011, on the high seas. 

SobCon Chicago 2011: Building New Loyalty And Leadership Business

SOBCon is the think tank of the social web where some of the best minds in the Internet space gather to present models, discuss insights and determine best practices. SOBCon gives business owners and marketing executives an opportunity to listen to and discuss changes in the business landscape with thought leaders Chris Brogan, Twisted Sister Co-Founder Jay Jay French and Sharon Gitelle. SobCon Founders Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker carefully craft sessions to include high attendee engagement and learning. This conference is always one to watch and attend.
April 29-May 1, 2011

What are some other Winter or Spring 2011 conferences that have caught you eye?

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Hurt, sgnewsfeed, Shawn Cheng, meetmontreal, Paul Cook and others. Paul Cook said: RT @JeffHurt: Six Conferences To Watch In 2011 #eventprofs #pcma […]

  2. kalisa says:

    Now that “Social Media” is part of my title, I wonder if I can get my company to spring for SOBCON11??

  3. Jeff Stiles says:

    Great list. One I am also looking forward is the Immersive Education summit in Boston this May, aka “iED 2011” that is at

    Last year I went to iED 2010, but just for one day out of pure curiosity (I am not an educator), and was blown away. It’s three intense days of virtual worlds, virtual reality, simulators, learning and training games, and augmented reality. Researchers and faculty from Harvard and MIT were presenting last year that made the one day I went worthwhile. If I can make it to Boston this year I am going for the full 3 days.

    1. Jeff Hurt says:

      Thanks for adding that one to the list. iED 2011 sounds like a very interesting conference and one to watch for sure!

  4. […] If you are interested in the opportunity to participate in these types of discussions over the next year and in person at next year’s conference go to the GMIC website, become a member, find a local chapter and mark your calendar for next spring to attend one of the top conferences to watch. […]

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