Towards a Technology of "Conferencing"

Author: Ryan O'Donnell, MS, BCBA

Author: Ryan O'Donnell, MS, BCBA

My typical conference experience is usually along these lines:

  1. Spend my hard earned cash to head to an amazing town for an amazing and inspiring weekend with people that I haven’t seen for the last 1-2 years
  2. Room up with 1-10 people to help keep the 5-star hotel costs to a bearable rate
  3. Bring some snack foods in my baggage to reduce the temptation of $25 meals
  4.  Get nervous in front of the big wigs of the field, and muster up the courage to say hi and get a book signed, or perhaps just gawk from afar
  5. Jam as much learning and socializing as you possibly can into a 2-4 day timeframe
  6. Meet a few rally influential people, and come back with a nice conference high
  7. Listen in as a passive participant and rely on a lot of complex skill sets to learn about an amazing application of behavior analysis that I could really use more explicit training on, or at least hands-on experience
  8. Wonder why the behavioral technologies developed to date still aren’t being utilized at the conference I'm attending

That's not an exhaustive list, but it was quite easy to throw those down on paper (love to have you add to this list through the comment section). Sure some of them change as I put in more work, make more connections, and the teams I work alongside develop solutions that people want to hear about; however, there's a need to focus in a little more on how a professional development event is ran, and how we might be able to make it a little better. 

Consider this a public committment to working towards a "technology of conferencing," so long as I'm playing the game of conferencing.

Some of Ryan's accomplishments (click to enlarge). 

One thing that I’ve always wanted to start working on systemically (and that I expect to take years to refine) is a blended model of presentations and workshops that lead to sustained inspiration and learning the skill sets that allowed me to immediately begin exploring the amazing areas of behavior analysis that had just sat and listened to, but wasn't quite sure how to put into practice.

One reason we're calling this one-day event a summit is to not imply the typical events and system that goes into a conference. We're not saying that we have a brand new model - that's not it at all. However, we're putting a lot of effort into understanding how to bring more value to a "conference" experience, including creating meaningful networking opportunities that are easy to make, as well as additional systems in place to help sustain the skills that are learned and the action plans that come together by the end of the day for each participant. 

After dozens of successful and unsuccessful projects and talking with a few close colleagues that share my love and passion for the field we’re committed to taking a shot at offering an entirely new professional development experience.  Here’s where we’re starting, snag your tickets at the bottom of this page!