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981 - Producing and Learning: Blends, Logistics & Energy

Elliott Masie’s Learning TRENDS - October 18, 2017.
#981 - Updates on Learning, Business & Technology Since 1997.
57,854  Readers - - The MASIE Center.
Host of Learning 2017 - Oct 22 to 25 - Orlando - 1,814 Registered Already 

Hello from Orlando, where we are preparing for the arrival and engagement of over 1,800 learning colleagues from around the world this weekend, as we kick off Learning 2017. 

Here are a few backstories, tidbits and learnings from this process.  It is the 27th annual event for The MASIE Center and each year folks ask about how it all comes together - so here are a few perspectives: 

* Large events are more like weddings than anything else. We are balancing the planning for almost 9,000 food services, 190 sessions, buses and TV elements.  The conference planning is always balancing the needs of the content and experiences with the realities of serving 1,800 different people in a way that just “works”.  For us, working with Disney as our primary partner is key.  They don’t even blink when we lay out our requirements and ideas.  But, each change has implications for both logistics and the experience of the participants. 

* Food has become a major arena for personal choices to surface.  People are more and more specific about what they will eat or not eat.  We try to accommodate almost any request - but food specifications are often more frequent than content requests. :) 

* Hosting a Former First Lady of The United States (FFLOTUS) as one of our featured speakers adds a whole new layer of logistics.  I have gotten to know the Secret Service team in this area and worked with Mrs. Obama’s Advance Team.  The goal is to focus on our great one hour conversation on the stage - and to do that with care, safety, planning, security and humor.  It is all about good planning, communication and agile implementation. 

* Arts, Music, Theater and More Create Experiences: We have commissioned a song for the event all about learning, “Right Now”.  And, we have choreographed a dance called Learning Right Now, which will be performed with a Broadway dancer and 7 of our participants who have bravely volunteered to learn and perform it in front of almost 2,000 people. We have John Lithgow, an amazing actor, who will perform a one act play, and also talk about Storytelling. 

* Technology and Innovation:  Add Watson, the IBM Robot, the MIT Lab doing brain science research on learning modes, Learning TV to every hotel room as a wakeup show, Digital Signs and real time word clouds from mobile phone text messages.  We will have fun and stretch the technology. 

* Experiences, Experiences and Experiences: In the old days, we would think about conferences as a matrix of classes and sessions.  Now, we start from the Experience side of the equation.  How do we build a community that can have a range of learning experiences along the way? 

* Failure will Happen:  There will be things that will not work, and some will fail.  In fact, you can’t be a Producer without welcoming the role of failure.  If nothing fails, you didn’t push the envelope.  The key is to share the learnings and failures along the way - with yourself, your team and the participants. 

* The Best Learning isn’t Programmed: We are using LearningTown Connections as our brand to focus on the ability of each participant to connect with new colleagues and create their own 1 on 1 or small group experiences.  Take a walk around the lake with a new learning buddy rather then going to the breakout session in early afternoon.  Buy a book and read it - thinking about learning. 

* Learning Gives Back: We are honored to donate funds from the event for 4 socially important groups: 

- TED Ed - for their new Idea Accelerator Project
- True Colors Fund - for support of LGBTQ homeless teenagers
- Assistance to Puerto Rico in Education Recovery and Transition
- eLearning for Kids - global free learning resources 

* Curation is Key: We are going to curate content, context and community learning throughout the event and share it openly after the event. 

On a personal level, producing Learning is a deep process of thinking, reflecting, change, fun, stretching and engaging with a wide community of colleagues. 

Special thanks to our team at The MASIE Center who make this all happen: Cathy, Steve, Brooke, AnneMarie, Lauren, Mollie, Lindsey, Joy, Bob, Richard and folks that join for the event including Davonne, Cary, Lori, Brian, Chris, Ben, Nigel, Emily, Ed and many more. Each of them makes Learning happen and they will celebrate the experience personally in the week ahead. 

While we are almost there, some folks will want to register at the last minute. We have added some nearby hotel rooms and you can still join our 1,814 colleagues. Go to 

Yours in learning, 

Elliott Masie
Twitter: @emasie 

MASIE Center Seminars, Events and Services:

- Learning 2017 - October 22 to 25  Orlando, Florida USA - Over 1,814 Colleagues Registered Already!
- Membership in The Learning CONSORTIUM 

Details and Online Registration: 

Learning TRENDS is produced by The MASIE Center.  95 Washington Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866