Reflections from Visualized conference

Back in August I shared details of the first ever ‘Visualized’ conference. The event has been taking place in New York over the past couple of days and so I wanted to share some quick reflections from what has been a fantastic event.
 

The thing that most attracted me about this event was a sense that it would offer a unique blend of different stories and design contexts. I prefer events that are going to introduce me to new ideas and inspirations, rather than being completely coterminous with my current experiences: a dominant feature of the Malofiej conference I was part of and thoroughly enjoyed back in March. It felt like an ideal supplement to the successful Eyeo Festival.

It didn’t disappoint. The variety and quality of work and ideas on show was terrific. It’s fair to say the balance of work being showcased was probably more on the creative, emotive and abstract end of the spectrum rather than the pragmatic and analytical side, but I was hoping for that.

It wasn’t just the quality of the speakers but the balance and the clustering of their talks. The agenda for the day was very straightforward but ultimately one of its key attributes was the schedule, fixed around rapid 20 minute, single message presentations which was, for me, the optimum speed, duration and frequency. The organisers clearly helped to shape the content with a strong focus on ideas above pitching – very refreshing and welcome.

Apart from missing a couple of the early talks, I did try to keep something of an account of the main themes and observations emerging from the day. Below is a storify widget of my main tweets as I’m sure you will want to relive them all over again! I would also recommend checking out the stream of Scientific American’s Jen Christiansen who did a great job of summarising the talks.


[View the story "Tweets from @visualized conference" on Storify]

Despite the significant logistical challenge posed to the organisers, speakers and attendees, there was very little visible impact and this is to the credit of those working incredibly hard behind the scenes to keep everything visibly smooth. In total I would predict there were maybe 300+ attendees across the two days, its hard to say, but there weren’t many empty seats, if that is a guide. Aside from the occasional technical challenge – an issue common to all events it seems – it was a perfect venue: the Times Center theatre was comfortable and ideally suited to such content.

All in all a wonderful event. Great to meet so many new and old friends, a terrifically attentive, respectful and positive atmosphere. This is an event that I hope will continue to have a frequent presence on the conference event calendar.