I spent most of last week at a conference with about 500 other deans. I have a love-hate relationship with conferences. The networking is good, but the sessions tend to disappoint. They always have great titles, but little of the content in them that’s new. You leave feeling a bit cheated.
I was expressing this frustration to a friend when he commented–“if you are learning something here, you are behind.” He’s right. By the time it makes it to a conference, it isn’t new. It’s state-of-art. If you haven’t already adopted it, you are behind. The better way to learn is to go visit people you meet at conferences that you know are innovating and land an invitation to go visit them. Go see what they are doing live, while it’s developing without all the “marketing” that tends to go with conference presentations. You get the real story much quicker and can learn from their mistakes. Then return the favor, extend a visit to them, show them what you are up to and ask for them for feedback.
In a year or two, they will be asking you and your friends to make that conference presentation to let others know they’re behind.