A few weeks back, when looking ahead to the ITI conference, I wrote that it was the who not the what that counted, that the person delivering a presentation mattered more than the specific content (as you can learn plenty from an interesting speaker, whatever they are talking about). But I also agreed with Betti’s comment that “you can never tell what your best take-away from a conference will be; it may be something from a presentation or just a throwaway comment from a one-minute conversation with a delegate”.
So I was ready, ready for a spot of serendipity and to come away with a stack of useful notes.
Or so I thought.
Yes, I enjoyed many of the presentations, and I have a few pages of scrawl to follow up on (tick). But it was something else that really struck me.
It was a sense of people coming together to make a contribution to the profession, from joining in song to handing out sticky badges at tweet-ups to manning (or womanning) a help desk at the back of the green room. A sense of community, real and virtual, in the form of vibrant Facebook groups, for example (which, with my Twitter and LinkedIn blinkers, I had been missing out on thus far). A sense of being part of an outward-looking event – with speakers from the worlds of education, literature and the military – and an organisation that’s endeavouring to make things happen.
Here were people with ideas and enterprise who are trying new things. With an openness and generosity to share experience and new approaches, cheerfully admitting mistakes made along the way, mistakes that are the real business end of hard-won lessons learned. Showing the importance of soft skills, not just language skills.
It has all helped me see more clearly what I need to do to get where I want to be.
Many congrats to Anne de Freyman and the organising team and to prize-winners Rachel Malcolm and Philippe Galinier.
I had #ITIconf15 withdrawal symptoms for a few days.
Now it’s time to kick on.