Thursday, 24 October 2013

And the results are in... Feedback from GeoCommunity ‘13

OK not all the results are in and there is still time to contribute your thoughts here (it comes with a chance to win a free pass to an AGI event next year) but we have had an overwhelming response this year. In the interests of fairness, openness and not being an evil secret society we will be publishing the results of the GeoCommunity feedback after the closing date for replies (31st October). However I just wanted to share some of the trends we have noticed so far. The survey is of course anonymous so I will not be quoting anyone directly.

Firstly it is worth noting that we expanded the survey beyond just GeoCommunity attendees this year (obviously they got asked different questions). This was to ensure that we were getting a broader view and finding out from those people who didn't attend what we could change to capture their interest. All of this will be used to inform our events programme for 2014 which we want to make the best one yet.

Generally the numbered feedback (on a scale of 1-6 how much did you like... etc) was very positive but it is the typed comments that are most informative. Unsurprisingly it is the programme itself that was the subject of most of the comments. Generally the variety of the programme was praised with conflicting feedback from some people wanting less sponsor/corporate speakers and other people wanting more. Obviously there is going to be a huge range of personal opinion on this but it seems clear that a better labelling system for the speakers is necessary. Beyond the current stream names a lot of the comments suggest that labelling sessions as ‘technical’, ‘commercial’, ‘case study’ etc would be very useful. This would aid people in planning their time and hopefully help with another common (rather positive) complaint that there was too much that delegates wanted to see all on at the same time.

There also seems to be a demand for more hands on training and workshop style sessions at future events. This is something we are definitely looking to achieve next year as it serves the dual purpose of delivering more value and a better experience to our delegates as well as providing greater justification for delegates getting permission to go to events. Being able to say you will attend x and y training sessions always helps with the business case for going to a conference!

We also received feedback indicating that more speakers from the edges of GI would be a welcome change with the plenary from Sainsbury’s particularly well received. Following on from this is the continuing drive for relevance and we will be looking for plenary speakers from outside the core of GI (probably no though I'm afraid). This doesn't mean we’re going to line up some random celebrities but rather we want to see other industries (retail, logistics, insurance etc) take on GI, what they use it for and how it can have a wider effect on commerce.

The other common theme amongst the comments was the location. True to UK regionalism this proved even more partisan than the commercial vs academic divide with comments ranging from ‘anywhere but Nottingham’ (GeoCom ’14 - Minsk it is) to ‘Nottingham till I die’ (OK I'm paraphrasing). Well I can say for certain we are moving from the EMCC but in all likelihood we will be somewhere in the Midlands again next year as it is roughly speaking the middle of the country. ThinkWhere made a very impassioned case for coming to Edinburgh at GeoCom (personally I’d love to it’s a great city) but at the end of the day transport links and central placement win out over pretty buildings and good pubs.

Anyway don’t forget to have your say on next year’s events (even if you didn't come to any this year) and we’ll be putting the survey results up in November.

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