I presented and attended SPA 2007 (http://www.spaconference.org/spa2007/index.html ) this year and also attended SPA in 2006. It is an event that brings together academia with industry, java developers with .NET developers (not to mention Smalltalk), Agile with Waterfall and has some rather unique approaches to the format of the three days.
I am always struck by:
- How friendly/informal SPA is – it promotes open discussion.
- How smart yet simple some of their ideas are – yet they really add to the overall experience. The use of pin boards is everywhere – and works great.
- How well most of the workshops work – helped very much by a class room setting
- They made reasonably good use of the conference wiki during the event
Not everything is perfect at SPA – don’t get me wrong. A couple of the sessions were pretty poor but overall I loved it and walked away refreshed.
My mate Matt has already blogged two background reads on Spa. Well worth a skim
- Overall thoughts http://blogs.technet.com/matt_deacon/archive/2007/03/30/early-thoughts-on-spa.aspx
- Goldfish Bowls http://blogs.technet.com/matt_deacon/archive/2007/03/30/the-goldfish-bowl.aspx (these are great when they work)
Ah - but back to the theme of "Simple yet elegant". I took a few pictures of how you use paper and pins (not Pocket PCs, Exchange Servers and custom web code - sound familiar) to help ensure everyone gets the most out of a conference.
During the event you can create “sessions on the fly” – just pin a page to the BoF wall:
The “Get in touch” wal helping people meet like minded people:
All Sessions Share their outputs – either with the SPA Wiki or the Output Walls (I did read these!):
And everyone creates their own “This is me” card – what an excellent idea!: