Weekly News & Insights: “Did You Hear About This?” Edition

Illustration: stock.xchng / Ambrozjo
Illustration: stock.xchng / Ambrozjo

Since it’s a slow news week, it offers a chance to catch up on some of the news that may have slipped by you throughout 2012. So here’s a round-up of some interesting tidbits you might have missed.

The founder of the TED Conference once again challenged convention with a new conference. Richard Saul Wurman hosted the WWW Conference in September (no, that doesn’t stand for World Wide Web — in fact it doesn’t stand for anything in particular). He described the format “like a dinner party with a hundred of the world’s greatest minds having a conversation, two at a time.”  The pairings were diverse, such as Herbie Hancock and will.i.am or Jeffrey Katzenberg and Norman Lear, prompted by a single challenging topic that Wurman provided in the moment. To round out this experience of “improvised conversations & intellectual jazz,” Yo-Yo Ma and Herbie Hancock served as musical directors, providing musical interludes. There were no tickets for sale — instead it was by invitation only, then presented as an app so people could participate from anywhere. Reviews of the conference were mixed, according to an article in the Financial Times, but it appears it did succeed at Wurman’s ultimate goal of sparking conversation. Could this be a template for 21st Century conferences? (To read more of Wurman’s thought process, check out this interview in BizBash.com.)

For those seeking a more action-packed, experiential adventure, check out the Extreme Sandbox in Minnesota. This 10-acre construction playground for adults offers the opportunity to operate heavy equipment in supervised obstacle courses and challenges. No experience required! Perhaps a model for trade shows of the future?

And speaking of the future … video conferencing is going Star Trek with holographic projections. Researchers at Queen’s University have created a video pod that projects a life-sized, 360-degree holograph of the person you’re talking to. It’s called TeleHuman, is still incredibly expensive, and only works if you have the giant acrylic cylinder used to project the image. But hey … could it someday be used to “beam” guest experts into your booth?

And now for some new tools for exhibitors:

  •  An RFP bidding site for trade shows that works a lot like the popular travel bidding sites: ThatsSHOWbids.com
  • A social directory listing conferences and events worldwide: Lanyrd.com
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