At most conferences, participants are still just seen and treated as an audience. Speeches might be inspiring, even groundbreaking. Often they are not, but no matter how gripping the talks are, very few actively engage the audience. And while a conference is not a workshop, let us make the case for frequently engaging the participants in co-creation.
First, co-creation can lead to a better understanding of the content, especially of the vision, the transformation to come. Engaged participants fully absorb the “why, how, and what” of where the community is going. Second, it is a colossal waste of potential to not have participants actively co-create new questions, and new answers, that can feed your company’s division or your industry’s future.
Co-Creation sessions are critical to the success of your conference. And they are no waste of time. In fact, you can have people do three things at the same time:
First, they learn something new by making sense of the content you give them and integrate it so they can work with it during the year.
Second, they network on a deeper level than just the three minutes at the coffee station. This allows them to build relationships that can outlast the conference, possibly relationships which they would not have sought themselves which makes your community, team, division more diverse and thus stronger.
Third, they carry your cause further by co-creating questions and answers that you and your small conference team have not yet come up with. Indeed they could create solutions to a challenge that you and your team have not yet discovered, let alone solved. A successful conference is a dance between the three ingredients: Connect, Learn, Co-Create.