Why the Storyteller Matters

If you could design your own conference,  what “must haves” would be in your top feature list? I have been thinking about what mine might be, and so far, I have narrowed them down to this final shortlist:

  • As an attendee: Inspired programme of content that challenges the status quo with emphasis on learning while doing.
  • As an attendee: Emphasis on networking and learning from each other.
  • As a vendor: Improved vendor interaction and engagement opportunities.

(if you’re feeling creative – add your “must haves” in the comment section below)

That said there are many conferences organisers who are challenging the traditional format of networking opportunities sandwiched between presenter led keynotes and vendor stalls.

Authentic short stories & deep dives

One such event is The Business Agility Conference in NYC. Now in its 2nd year, this event aims to take you from the “art of the possible” to “what are you going to do on Monday morning” by providing a platform of learning and engagement between attendees AND the speaker. They have achieved this by limiting the speaker presentation time to  20 minutes. The rest of the time is devoted to group discussion.

“it’s the people you are meeting, it’s the conversations that you are having in the corridor, the new friends that you are making, old friends you are reconnecting with. It’s all about those connections and that community” – Evan Leybourn – Business Agility Conference Chair

The conference is presented by the Business Agility Institute (BAI), a new platform “designed to connect leaders across industries and regions to share their experiences and insights with each other.” BAI also provides a medium for corporate members to engage with the community in the months prior to the conference through symposiums, podcasts, articles and workshops.

Learn what it takes to survive in the modern economy

Workshops include AWA’s own ICAgile-Accredited Enterprise Agility Masterclass alongside other well-known USA based companies, including, Agile Transformation, Lithespeed, Solutions IQ/Accenture, Green Bullet and Angel Diaz Mararto. For more info about the workshops see the registration page where you can buy conference passes and workshops at a special rate.

“the storyteller matters” – Evan Leybourn

This year’s event offers 3 tracks on both days; Executive, Thought Leader and Practitioner, each incorporating:

  • Three 20 minute keynotes: Speakers are selected on the authenticity of their stories
  • Interview with the Audience: Curious to know more about their journey? Want to know how they would approach a specific problem or transformation? This is your chance to get the advice of the Business Agility Conference speakers.
  • Deep Dives: Group sessions to learn from peers, ask the speaker questions or take a moment of quiet reflection.

“this is an advanced conference and every single one of the people in attendance will have a great story to tell… but I can’t put 500 people on stage to tell their story so we wanted to find a way to give people a chance to tell their story”- Evan Leybourn 

Out of 132 people who originally applied over half were turned down. The ones that got through were interviewed one-on-one to ensure their story was relevant and provided “a diversity of thought”.

“the ones who were selected had a personal story to tell that was inspiring, that showed that they really had done something that was unique in scope or in scale” – Evan Leybourn

We’re feeling really inspired by this refreshing format. And look forward to experiencing it for ourselves when we head out to NYC this March!

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