When we started the Connect series in 2015 it was because our members asked us to create a way for to meet in person with the people they rely on in TheCR Network. Our members are, and always have been, the foundation of Connect. Whether as a speaker, lightning talk facilitator, Advice Desk attendant, or an engaged participant, we rely on them to make Connect meaningful, and this is even more true this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted us to explore how to design Connect 2020 in a safe way that fulfills that desire to deeply connect with peers. Moving to a virtual experience isn’t simple, at least in the way we’re thinking about it. We can’t imagine a virtual two day Connect… Zoom fatigue is real and we want to avoid trying to jam too much content into a limited time frame.
We’ve reached out to some of our members and noticed several themes in their feedback:
- Connect is as much about the side conversations and one-on-one knowledge sharing as the formal learning and collaboration sessions.
- Hearing how community technology platforms are evolving is important to many of you right now.
- Including sessions for executive stakeholders on the agenda would help you continue to advocate for community at your organizations.
- Running sessions about internal AND external community use cases would be a great way to help you focus on the people and topics that matter to you.
- Running Community 101 AND advanced community talks at the same time will help you and your team pick what makes the most sense for you.
- Even with more spaced out content there will still be live sessions that you want to attend, but can’t, so we’ll be recording and sharing sessions back in the community.
In order to make this event everything we know it can be, we need our members to raise their hands and agree to be part of Connect 2020. There is a role for everyone, whether it’s as a speaker, panelist, a session facilitator, or an engaged attendee.
Based on member feedback and guidance, we have reimagined Connect as a month-long community celebration, with sessions running at regularly scheduled times on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week. Keynotes, case studies, product demos, show and tells, and unique networking opportunities will weave into a comprehensive agenda – spanning time zones and transcending distance.
Our goal is to keep Connect 2020 a “members-only event” and make it an extension of existing membership for TheCR Network, meaning that unlike in the past, ALL Connect sessions will be free for members to attend. If you are not currently a member of TheCR Network you can learn more or join today.
Jim Storer and Kelly Schott, Connect 2020 Co-Chairs