Over the past year, I've attended many events and conferences, of all different types and sizes. I can tell you -- about half of them were not worth the time, expense and effort, which as any veteran event-goer knows, is considerable. But I just completed a few solid weeks of event-going, and it's clear to me that the smarter organizers are beginning to understand that the best way to make an event succeed is to carefully think through how well you are serving the individual, from a social perspective.
As a partner to Socialtext on a number of "event wiki" projects (e.g., Web 2.0, and NewCommForum), we've observed how at least one part of the offline world is adopting rules and tools from the online world. Just as blogging has personalized publishing, wikis and new organizational concepts like Open Space are personalizing the event experience. And the effect is this: events are getting better at the individual level, because they are becoming more personalized and participatory.
It's an interesting trend, and I'm betting we'll soon see this kind of thinking applied to more complex offline environments. Last Fall, we talked about how the online world -- the greatest venue for social experiments today -- will influence the offline world (just as the New World exported its lessons learned from early experiments in democratic government). Prediction: in 2006-08, we'll see innovation in the realm of political organization. See our earlier post on Mark Warner and Hillary Clinton. We believe the Democrats will be forced to innovate first.