Conferences can be a time to connect, a place to learn new technical information or a place to expand your horizon. Since most innovations are based on making new connections between things that were not connected before (rather than innovations coming from thin air or the head of a genius in a lab), I attend conferences for connections, discussions, and discoveries.
I value conferences where I meet people from different fields and backgrounds, rather than very specialized conferences, as well as conferences that have built-in times, space, and a culture that encourages random discussions with strangers. That is why my favorite conferences are TED (coming up in April) and TED Women (in October).
If you’re interested in innovation, regardless of the role and type of organization you are working in, I recommend these five conferences to expand your mind, circle of connections, and knowledge
As their website describes, “the multi-day virtual event explores the most innovative companies shaping trends across multiple sectors. In this event, you’ll hear insights from the leaders, makers, and creators”
Recommendation: I have not attended this conference but attended one of their in-person summits a few years ago. They had great speakers and the conference was inspirational. Plus, being remote makes it easier to attend (granted you will miss the in-person connections). And it is FREE!
Wisdom 2.0: April 27-29 – San Francisco, California
This conference and organization focus on the intersection of technology, mindfulness, and impact. This year’s topic is “Together”.
“To truly change the world, we need to both shift internally and also evolve the technologies of our time to support human thriving” suggests their website.
They offer a mix of on-stage speakers (from famous meditators to the CEO of OpenAI), interactive workshops, and opportunities for conversations.
Recommendation: A few years ago, I attended this conference and I am going again this year. I’ve been very impressed by the speakers, the community, and the depth of thinking. If you go, please reach out; meeting there would be fun.
Heads up, they have limited tickets left (likely to be sold out)
FEI Conference is the most corporate conference on this list, and many attendees work in innovation-related jobs in large corporations. Celebrating its 20th year, they focus on “delivering some of the world’s best innovation content and speakers. FEI is the annual meeting place for innovation and R&D executives from Fortune 1,000 organizations responsible for making innovation happen”.
Recommendation: I attended the conference a few years ago and recommend it if you are working in corporate or with corporate clients to get a sense of the trends.
The world’s longest-running creativity conference is hands-on and offers mostly workshops around creativity processes and tools. The 2023 theme is Engage.
Recommendation: I have attended the conference several times (that is how I got interested in studying creativity) – it’s fun, highly interactive and perfect if you don’t like to sit still and listen to speakers and rather learn by doing. Register HERE.
I’m wrapping up with my favorite conference, TED Women!
After a gap of a year, the conference is back with the theme “Two Steps Forward”. As their website describes, “This year we’ll joyfully celebrate those taking bold strides into the future, those working unapologetically to make big dreams become reality. Whether working on new models of equity and inclusion or blazing trails as pioneers, this year’s speakers demonstrate luminous new thinking and ideas designed to enchant, uplift and inspire us all”
Recommendation: Ted Women is like a shorter version of TED, with fewer egos and amazing conversations with kick-ass women (and men). I’ve made long-lasting relationships – a testimonial to the power of women to create meaningful change. They have an early supporter rate now and another extra discount if you apply as a group of 5. If you can make it, I suggest you apply ASAP!
I am committed to bringing new perspectives and ways to empower you and your team to become more innovative so please share and comment!