Designing Learning 2011 is 12 month process - and yet, there are several very key DESIGN decisions that we make in the last 19 days:
Last Minute Registrations: There is a segment of our audience that will register in the last 2 1/2 weeks. These include folks that needed to see if their schedule would allow a trip, people that just heard about the event for the first time - from an attendee at another company, and people that needed to wait for internal approvals and authorization.
So, we are expanding our capacity in a number of ways to be agile with last minute registrations - which includes adding another block of rooms and a shuttle bus route at a nearby Disney hotel. And, shifting the AV in the large room, to allow for more space at tables and seating in the largest sessions with President Clinton and John Lithgow.
More Content from Session Leaders: We just reached out to all the session leaders from the 240 workshops and sessions at Learning 2011 and asked them to add some additional messages to attendees. These will be included in the LearningWiki at http://www.learningwiki.com in the next two weeks.
Kill Some Formerly Good Ideas: There were a few things that I wanted to do, that just are not going to happen in 2011 - either because it would be too complicated or might actually be distracting. We increased our focus on the CNN Video Experience and deleted a large Ariel Robot activity that might have been cool. If you innovate - be prepared to "kill" a few ideas along the way.
Add Micro Design Elements: A lot of the things that I am adding are micro design elements - small 5 minute segments at one of the General Sessions or even a transition at a key point.
Improvisation in Real Time: After all of the design is completed, there is still loads of opportunities to improvise in real time. The discipline is to make those improvisations logistically neutral - in other words they don't require major physical or hosting changes. So, these will be focused on keynote questions and harvesting conversations from the hallways to use in General Sessions.
On a personal note, this is also one of the highest stress moments for me, as the producer and host. I have to start to shift from designing the event structure to integrating the actual on-site experience for the 2,000 attendees. I'll take a few days off - between now and Nov 6th - to make the personal shift and prepare for an incredible 4 days of learning.
So, the next 19 days will reflect our agility in dealing with last minute registrations and polishing the design elements to reflect the realities of the 2,000 participants coming to Learning 2011!