Just as the title says. I just got back from the inaugural two-day Canada 3.0 conference. To say it best, it kicked ass.
The conference was billed as a discussion to define a digital media strategy for Canada and all were invited, government, education, industry, and even the public was invited to hear the keynotes and walk the showroom floor. On the second day there were even high school students whose goal it was to visit and learn from each exhibitor and get a letter. Once they had all their letters they finished their scavenger hunt (if they got a prize for the teacher I have no idea), but it was a great way to get the next generation experiencing what’s happening outside of Facebook and learn from their perspective as well. Have you ever heard of a conference giving young minds this kind of opportunity?
It was great to not know who was in the room or who might be coming by the booth (ya, we kicked some ass ourselves with our three screen booth!). Instead of the pitch you give over and over when you’re at an industry/trade show, it forced exhibitors to tailor their message to whoever the audience was at the time; something we all should be doing in digital.
I can say enough about the event. Full marks to OpenText and the University of Waterloo for sponsoring/putting on a great show, for the Ontario government’s involvement. Yes, the government! Sure some gov’t speakers put me to sleep but others like Premier Dalton McGuinty and Minster of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson delivered very dynamic and relevant talks. The government really is working diligently to promote all things digital in Ontario.
Now the important part, it was out coming out party! Sure, we’ve had some great success over the past few years but it’s all been quiet, networked, word of mouth business based on the work we do (thanks everyone!). At Canada 3.0 we stepped up our game and for the first time, had a dynamic, interactive 3 screen experience booth! We had our upcoming social media tracker (you can get it here: getsocialseek.com (invite code: canada30)) running on a mac, the very cool Digital Wall (sensidea.com/digitalwall) on another screen, and a our multimedia show running on a huge TV behind us. Thanks to everyone that stopped by, played with the apps, and engaged in great discussion. We met some great folks and business prospects. An amazing experience!
My only regret is that it was such a busy two days I completely forgot to take pics or video! Luckily the very cool Stephen Edgar (stephenjedgar.com) took our pic and I’ll update it here once it’s published.
I recognize the importance and need for focused industry conferences, but those looking to openly engage a diverse audience can take a note from Canada 3.0:
1. Invite everyone because we all learn from each other
2. Have great leaders, great innovators, and aspiring students and people in the room
3. Make it an open discussion filled with great content and companies
Great job Canada 3.0, looking forward to next year!