Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thoughts on ORF + format suggestion

Firstly, congrats to JCO for the idea of a blog to manage a conference (or probably a better description would be workshop?). For example, academic conferences use to manage paper submissions and peer reviews; commercial ones have read-only web sites or possibly presenter-only sites.

Secondly, I was wondering what the goal / role of ORF was versus the main commercial conference, BRForum (which James T augmented with an EDM Conference) - more business-oriented, and case-studies. The RuleML conference alongside caters for the academic community. So that leaves ORF targeting technical end-users? If so, might be worth stating that in the blog title area (just in case anyone doesn't know!).

One example (IMHO) of a successful technical conference was the original BPMI Think Tank targeted at BPM practitioners, engine vendors, etc. One idea there, which I have seen since at other workshops, and seemed a pretty useful way to ensure audience participation, was the Round Table. Instead of panels with a mostly captive audience, you have topics set in different tables which have an expert moderator (SME as well as good moderator skills, ideally!), with the goal that everyone on the table contributes to the problem definition and solution statements. Examples could be "Web service attributes for decision services", "Stateful rule service uses", "CEP and EDA differences over EDM and SOA", "Standards use cases, or a waste of time?" ... whatever the audience is interested in / organisers want to push. Thie round table idea may or may not be useful for a technical conference - it depends on whether audience participation and contributions are desirable, and whether such discussions are useful.


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