Salon 14 Conferences, conferences, conferences

There is a veritable cornucopia of conferences, summits, gatherings, and symposia on any given year, month, or day. You have probably attended and presented at several dozens of them, and even designed a few. But, aside from the copious networking opportunities, how useful and successful are these conferences culturally, economically, or politically? Do they breed new ideas and jumpstart new enterprises? Or do they merely provide a stage on which to recapitulate last year’s ideas and proverbially pat each other on the back?

Whatever the diagnosis, there is little denying that conferences have the potential to be uniquely productive forums—or occasional sinkholes of time and money. After all, they provide an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved, and reassess the agenda going forward; they provide a fertile arena for the cross-pollination of ideas; and they bring together individuals otherwise dispersed across the globe. Or do they?

This salon took place on March 31, 2015.


Reading Resources

Megan Hustad The Church of Ted The New York Times (03.14.14)

James R.Mellow The Stein Salon Was The First Museum of Modern Art The New York Times (12.01.68)

Nifoler Merchant When TED Lost Control of Its Crown Harvard Business Review (04.13)

George Meyer My Undoing: Obsessed with Conferences The New Yorker (05.28.07)

Evgeny Morozov The Naked and the TED New Republic (08.02.12)

Nick Paumgarten Magic Mountain The New Yorker (03.05.12)

Louis Rosenfeld How to Organize a Conference Medium (02.02.15)

Shaunnesy Adrian The Design Conference The Design Observer (01.05.15)