Monday, March 7, 2011

March roars in like a lion

Last week was a bit of a blur as March roared in with the usual commitments at work keeping me busy and several extra-curricular activities added to the mix.

Wednesday started with Communitech’s Tech Leadership conference, an annual event that provided a great opportunity to meet people and engage in conversations. It also featured a pretty impressive lineup of speakers. I have to confess that Geoffrey Moore’s keynote presentation was a slight disappointment; while he’s a dynamic speaker, the material didn’t seem to add much in the way of new insights to what he has previously published. This particular crowd has to have been pretty familiar with the concepts of crossing the chasm.

The next session for me was with Scott Berkun, whose talk on the Myths of Innovation picked up on the theme of his book of the same name. I’ve heard Scott speak before and knew that I would enjoy his talk, and I did just that.

Following Scott’s talk, I travelled with him and my uxWaterloo conspirator Bob Barlow-Busch out to Quarry Integrated Communications in St. Jacobs, where Scott had agreed to do a special uxWaterloo lunch time talk. The theme was creative thinking hacks, and the format was completely open and driven by questions from the audience. It’s the same format that Scott used when he last spoke to the group, and it works well.

Wednesday evening was spent at Design Exchange Waterloo, where I acted as an industry panelist along with a couple of members of the local design community, Graham Whiting and Tammy teWinkel. The event featured enlightening presentations and lively conversations with many students. The hardest part was deciding which teams to give awards to, but after much deliberation we were able to arrive at decisions. The next event will likely be in the fall, and I’m looking forward to it.

Thursday was, of course, TEDxWaterloo. I hadn’t planned on attending, but some last minute schedule changes and the timely appearance of tickets changed that. As with last year’s inaugural event, it was a day of stimulating and inspiring presentations from some distinguished speakers. It was all terrific, but the most delightful surprise for me was Ben Grossman’s presentation on the hurdy gurdy, an ancient musical instrument with which Ben made some striking music while he was on stage. Moreover, between the two sets of talks, Ben provided wonderful background music that, for me, enhanced the many conversations that I had.

Sprinkled throughout the week were a few meetings with some of my fellow Ignite Waterloo organizers as we make plans for our next event. More news on that later.

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