Round up of IWMW18
So another year rolls by and another edition of IWMW has come and gone.
The theme this year was ‘Streamlining Digital’ but I’m not entirely sure how accurate a portrayal of the event it was. I thought it was a particularly strong event on the human side of creating great products, with outstanding talks from experienced and proven managers about how personally difficult it can be to press on in the face your own self-doubt and stress. The openess really set the tone for the event. There were interesting case studies around the particular bumps in the road that institutions with very different characteristics face - essentially all trying to reach the promised land of hard working, engaging content and trying to create processes and practices to achieve that. In tandem with those talks were also great reminders about the central role great, creative content plays in achieving the outcomes we want. Talks that send people away all fired up to do great work. I was also pleased that there were a couple of talks about the nitty gritty of tools and techniques for getting work done.
This year’s edition provided a personal and unexpected highlight for me. The organisers have always been good at trying innovative ideas and formats, so this year the idea of lightning talks was given a go. The idea was to get some volunteers to get up and talk to the whole crowd for 5mins on any subject of their choosing. Being a member of the organising committee, when it looked like we might need some fallback in case volunteers weren’t forthcoming I said I’d give it a go despite a pretty strong aversion to public speaking.
Predictably enough, it then occupied my mind intermittently, with the faint idea that I could always back out. Fortunately for me, Alison’s talk and lots of encouraging people got me over the hump so I went and talked for 5 mins about why drawing is good for you and everyone should give it a go. By the end of that long 5 minutes the jelly in my legs eased, my voice began to lose it’s quiver and I actually started to enjoy it. It was a revelation for me; made possible by the community of my peers. People came up and said lovely things afterwards (and on twitter), which I guess meant I did ok. The format was a great fit for such a supportive and friendly conference.
Masterclasses and Workshops
An often unheralded part of this conference are the workshops and masterclasses, where people really workd hard to both deliver and participate. I went to a Workshop on Design Sprints, and a Masterclass on Digital Training. Both were really well run, had enthusisatic participation and sent me away with a list of concrete things to do.
Talking of concrete it was special pleasure to have an early morning wander to take in some of the concrete highlights of a Plateglass University campus, as I’ve recently been reading about in the fantastic Raw Concrete.
Whilst I’m tenously linking things it’s worth mentioning the sponsors and suppliers who came, some of whom I met. It is so good to be able to have good honest conversations (often about nothing to do with Web stuff) where there’s no subtext of selling. The ‘externals’ at this conference reall seem to buy in to the no hard sell ethos and it’s all the better for it.
Intentions into actions
As I was coming to write up in more detail how I plan to take what I’ve learnt and turn into actions on my geeky todo list I remembered a simple but effective idea I noticed on the University of Edinburgh’s Website Programme Blog - which was to have a heading similar to ‘What I’ll put into practice’ and then write it. Something to refer back to and check.
So here goes a few.
- Create Lesson Plan for Training
- Organise some kind of Design Sprint
It was tempting to write a ton of vague aspirational things, but on reflection that tends to create a pretty punishing list of unachievables that then make you feel bad about not meeeting them - So the talks about mental health and wellbeing are sinking in too!