Why I Organized and Ran a Conference

I helped organize and run the recent Balanced Team 2015 Summit. Before the event, you certainly could have asked me, “Why did you decide to organize this conference?” and I would have given you an answer. But not the answer I have now, right after reading the initial feedback.

One of the many ways we solicited feedback at the conference. Image credit : me.
One of the many ways we solicited feedback at the conference.
Image credit : me.

One particular comment made my day, made my last 14.5 months (which is when we first started working on this):

Please keep engaging and encouraging multidisciplinary teams! I left the event with so much motivation that I started experimenting the next Monday to improve collaboration and process at work.

Incredible. Within one day, someone took a concrete learning and started running with it in their day-to-day work. How cool is that?

Outside Perspectives

On a different but related note, another thing that was loved (by myself and many other commenters) was hearing outside perspectives during this event. Almost all of us in the Balanced Team group work in the software domain; at this conference, we had at least three people from outside the software world:

  • A speaker from the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Jon Carfagno. Jon spoke about Balanced Teams in the context of museum & event planning.
  • A local instructor & consultant, Mary Brown, who spoke about balanced organizations.
  • A jewelry designer (!!!!) from Los Angeles. Whoa!

I’d also like to give a shout-out to Kara J Anderson, whom I met at the recent Balanced Team Chicago Salon. Kara comes to us with a public relations background; it was great to hear her perspective on collaboration in her line of work. She even wrote a nice little blog post about it. Thanks Kara!

It's great to hear from other domains, like Kara's -- public relations. Image credit : Tim McCoy.
It’s great to hear from other domains, like Kara’s — public relations. Image credit: Tim McCoy.

Hearing from other perspectives is what makes us a strong and versatile Balanced Team. Thank you all.

There’s surely much more to say about the recent conference. But for now, I’m going to take satisfaction knowing that at least one person (and surely more) are trying new experiments in their work, and that we’ve learned more by hearing from other perspectives.

Special thanks to my fellow planning committee members Rick Harlow, Gail Swanson, Lane Halley, and Brittany Hunter. We made a conference!