Who is more knowledgeable? The expert speaker or the room of conference attendees?
In today’s rapidly changing world with knowledge at our fingertips, often the wisdom of the crowd outranks the insight of an expert speaker.
Why? Because knowledge now lives in networks.
The Web Facilitates Connections
Hat Tips Cluetrain Manifesto
The Internet has made it extremely easy to connect to others regardless of our physical location. With the click of the mouse, we can share information and knowledge at lightning speed.
Rather than just becoming a giant depository of collected information, the web and social media has enabled the transfer, reuse, development and progression of knowledge and ideas.
That knowledge continues to evolve and add value because it remains connected to people and linked to our networks.
Information and knowledge does not just live in libraries. It does not just live in museums. It does not just live in research institutions and academia. It does not just live in our brains.
Knowledge is now owned by networks. Those networks include academia, associations, business, government, media, connected minds and organizations.
As author Euan Semple says, “Knowledge is less and less held in individuals and more and more in networks.”
The Importance Of People And Their Networks To Your Conference
People are central to knowledge and wisdom. We have got to realize that relationship management is directly linked to knowledge management and our networks!
We need to encourage our employees and coworkers to cultivate relationships within their professional networks. We need to encourage them to build networks of contacts through online and physical interactions.
We need to design conference experiences around allowing attendees the opportunity to connect experiences, challenges, relationships and professional contexts with each other. We need to know who to turn to rather than thinking we have the answers within ourselves.
We must recognize that,
“…In the network era, the creative economy will gain dominance over the information and industrial economies. Professional knowledge distribution will move away from institutionalized business schools into networked communities of practice,” says educator Harold Jarche.
The key to a flourishing conference is allowing attendees the ability for sense-making, story sharing, collaborative problem solving and the sharing of personal experiences with each other.
“Knowledge in a network is about connecting experiences, relationships, and situations. This is what work looks like in the network era,” says Jarche.
Conferences must adapt from one-way passing of information into multi-way polylogues (multiple talking at multiple times) where attendees are sharing and receiving from each other in active discussions, collaborations and engagement.
Ultimately, our conference attendees want deeper understanding of the issues they face and practical relevant tips on how to solve their problems.
Give them the opportunity to develop deeper understanding and wise application of networked knowledge and they’ll come back for more!
Hat Tips to:
How can participatory conferences actually curate knowledge for a profession, industry or trade? How can we as conference attendees make our own self-management a better node in the knowledge and experience network?