Re: How will conferences change post-COVID? #conferences #COVID-19

Jane Dysart

Thanks for this timely thread, Patrick!  I am the program director for KMWorld and our call for speakers for 2021 is now live and we hope to host the event once again in DC – but who knows?

the theme, Impacting The Future: New Models & Tech For Knowledge Sharing

Our 2020 event was the first virtual experience for the KMWorld community, was definitely a success in the producers eyes, and I believe in the attendees as well. It did allow for speakers who were in different countries to share more easily and if allowed for a larger universe of speakers!


I have always thought of KMWorld as a meeting place for the sharing ideas, insights, experiences, processes, tools and technologies for knowledge sharing in communities, governments and organizations, etc. That includes speakers who make us think in different ways, diversity of thinking; speakers who have tried a technique or tool and were successful or not & want to share their lessons learned – one of the best ways IMHO to learn; speakers who have engaged their communities to participate in building knowledge sharing intranets, or other platforms, especially on a global or remote basis; basically the building of learning environments/ecologies that can problem-solve, crunch data & analyze it for good decision making (perhaps using AI & machine learning), organize & find information, experts & knowledge (taxonomies, etc)


I believe in practical experiences that can be shared, or ideas that spark innovation/change, and lots more…. But you get the idea.  I want conferences that make me think, try something new, connect me with others who are doing similar things or trying something different that I can learn more about.  Not every session is going to be appropriate for everyone but if you can learn a few new things, make some new connections, find sone new avenues to pursue, I think that’s a win.


Interaction is so much easier and wonderfully serendipitous in person, but we are (after a year and a half) learning new ways to do so online. Certainly some advantages to meeting online, but I do no think that will totally replace in person events, enhance them maybe, but not replace.

My opinion & I looks forward to your thoughts!




Jane Dysart, Program Director

KMWorld 2021

Nov 15-18

Call for Speakers:


KMworld Connect 2020

Promo video:


Curator of Curiosity


Twitter & Skype: jdysart





From: <> On Behalf Of Matt Moore
Sent: April 26, 2021 4:59 AM
Cc: km4dev@...
Subject: Re: [SIKM] How will conferences change post-COVID?




As Peter Drucker so memorably opined: With the lights out, It’s less dangerous, Here we are now, Entertain us.


I suspect that post-COVID, trad conferences will return. I rarely go to those kinds of events but people seem to like them.


I hope that we get more purposeful and we think about what we are trying to achieve and what that means for format. 


While I love facilitatory formats, I’m also interested in borrowing from the performing arts. Marcus JH Brown’s work is wonderfully uncomfortable:




Matt Moore

+61 423 784 504

On Apr 26, 2021, at 1:16 PM, Patrick Lambe <plambe@...> wrote:

I’m posting the question in the subject line to both SIKM forum and KM4Dev, so apologies if you see it twice.


There was a question on KM4Dev about speakers for a conference. Bev Wenger-Traynor morphed it into a question about people with something to offer. Arthur Shelley distinguished between speaking and facilitating. Nancy Dixon has been speaking for a while about the importance of dialogue.


I am wondering how our conception of conferences (and other convening events where large audiences are expected to listen to/follow small elite cadres) will change post-COVID? I am wondering how the economics of such events might change. 


Let me give an example of post-COVID shifts in how we at ISKO Singapore are experiencing new ways of interacting. We are the Singapore chapter of an international organisation. Each country chapter runs its own programmes.


We used to have monthly in-person events. We would book a venue and refreshments, and get a speaker or a panel. We always tried to have networking and discussion, it wasn’t just listening. We got on the zoom wagon early, because we had attracted a couple of members from outside Singapore, so we would do live streaming for our overseas attendees, with them whatsapping questions or comments to be interposed. We started bringing in speakers/panellists by zoom as well to interact with the local panel. Our horizons broadened.


Since COVID all our events have gone online. We have become completely “leaky”. Our last event attracted folks from 12 countries. We have barely no costs. Our society’s members are essentially patrons, providing the volunteers and minimal funding to offer events to anyone who cares to attend (or see the materials afterwards) - very much on the SIKM Leader’s Forum model, but with a core group that has a shared Singapore identity and agenda. We are now starting to wonder what it means to be a country chapter. Old conceptions are starting to break down. 


Mainstream conferences, to survive, have started to experiment with new formats in a digital environment. I am wondering if we do have an in-person event this year or next year, how could it be different? How could we make better use of folks’ time being in the same space? Will conferences become “leaky” too, distributed over time, and with digital and physical components? How will the economics work? Or will (sponsoring) employer expectations force us back into our old passive habits?


I do think it’s worth bringing folks physically into a shared space in order to interact, ask questions, inquire, and share. I’m not convinced of the egocentric personality model where the “names” are the principal actors. Yes, names are good, as seeds for convening or to share experience or insight or to spark discussion (as Bev says, folks with some experience/skills to offer, and enough confidence to share). I would not even go so far as to recommend the use of the word “facilitator” because I think that has become contaminated with the notion of a special person (s/he who tells us - sorry suggests to us - what to do next). 


I prefer the terms convenors (to frame the invitation) and brokers (to help folks make connections with each other or in dialogue). The more convenors and brokers the better. In fact, we should all be convenors and brokers. We should all be pointing up other people’s good work so that they get curated into events.


So how will conferences change? Or will we slip back into dark-panelled ballrooms with no natural daylight watching large screens flicker expecting to be entertained and fed, and shuffling from session to session?


Bev, I would be fascinated to learn what your experiences with BEtreat might suggest.


By the way, if anyone is curious about our upcoming ISKO events check out - all welcome.




Patrick Lambe
Straits Knowledge

phone:                                             +65 98528511

knowledge mapping:


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