When I think of business events, I hear the roar of coffee machines, see people exiting conversations by saying, "Sorry, I've got to take this," and I smell enough shirt starch to stand the tower of Pisa upright.
I wanted to put together a list of business conferences and events that defy these stereotypes; of those that care more about helping people fulfill the visions for their enterprise than helping them keep up an image.
In the pursuit of such, I've found five examples that push the boundaries of what a previously stuffy niche on the conference scene can be. These are the contenders:
The shape of business processes is constantly shifting. The tools we use now for anything from transactions to note taking would be unrecognisable as little as a decade ago.
Keeping on top of trends in the business world as they arise, as well as running a business itself, is a near-impossible task. That is, without guidance.
We.Conect provide that much sought after help in the form of their Enterprise Business Collaboration event, taking place in November 2019.
Boasting an attendance of over 200 different businesses, what you'll find among them is a shared enthusiasm for worldwide strategic approaches and digitally accelerated collaboration.
As well as discussing themes that affect business operations from a macro level, there will be a distinct focus on the technology-based opportunities associated with mobile, voice, social, messaging, and virtualisation.
They'll also provide a facilitated icebreaker and networking dinner so that you can be guaranteed to have a helping hand in fostering connections with those that share your vision and reciprocate your inspiration and experiences.
Dates: November 25th & 26th, 2019.
Tickets: Cost €2,695 and are available now.
Ah Chicago, our fave.
One of the reasons Chicago is so well-received as a place to host events and do business is because of the businesses its seen reach success. As Fortune puts it, "When most people think of a successful company, the first word that comes to mind probably isn’t “nice”—unless you’re in Chicago." To name but a few, Basecamp and Home Chef call the Windy City home.
This year, Innovation Enterprise are visiting, and bringing the Business Intelligence Innovation Summit with them. As well as local speakers including the Business Intelligence Analytics Manager for the City of Chicago, their speaker line-up is shaping up to be a global affair, with confirmed presenters from McDonald's, HP, and Caterpillar.
The two-day event will cover the convergence of business and technology on a grand scale. Topics will include machine learning, translating raw data into business intelligence, and much more besides.
You can view a past presentation to get a flavour of the quality you can expect throughout on their site.
Dates: October 23rd & 24th, 2019.
Tickets: An on-demand web pass for lifetime access to the talks is currently available for $600.
Travelling back across the Atlantic, FutureScope is due to take place in Dublin next March. This business conference focuses on creating a platform for multi-nationals, high-scale businesses, and entrepreneurs to share knowledge and insights.
This happens in a variety of ways on the day due to the breathe of stages and exhibitions available to attendees. As well as keynotes from leaders in global business, there will be deep vertical panels, innovation showcases, and interactive technology demos.
Last year's version showcased the importance of collaboration, innovation, and creativity, as well as cultivating an atmosphere of inspired, happy guests. Alongside the guaranteed plethora of learnings you can expect to take away from the event, a delicious buffet lunch and always-on coffee will keep you energised and ready to absorb all that the FutureScope team have to offer.
Attendee numbers are limited to 1,200 to facilitate quality networking, so early booking is advised.
Date: March 28th, 2019.
Tickets: Early birds are available now for €89.
Moving east, it's with great pleasure that I get to tell you a little about Wolves Summit.
Often pointed to as the biggest and most effective multinational networking event in Central and Eastern Europe, Wolves Summit is quickly becoming an industry favourite.
As an enthusiastically attended meeting of the minds, Wolves Summit welcomes investors, businesses looking for new partners and clients, and start-ups who can apply to attend for free.
For investors, Wolves Summit provides them with tangible introductions to new innovations across a vast field of products and services. 1:1 meetings are scheduled ahead of the event to ensure that those seeking connections have the time, place, and bandwidth to meet. Further to that, avid investors have often complimented the ease of networking as they took part in some of the 21,967 meetings at previous versions of the summit.
Of course, with any conference you can expect quality speakers. Though the line-up for 2019 hasn't yet been finalised, previous editions speak tomes about the influential talks that you can expect from Wolves Summit next March. Included in the conference alumni are the Head of Products at Visa, the FinTech Leader of PWC, and the Head of Industry Solutions at Microsoft.
Full details will be available on the site closer to the conference.
Brighton and its locals symbolise limitless creativity to me. For a quick touch-stone, you can see some of the work Vicky's produced on this blog.
To give you more proof, I'm rounding out this round-up with Meaning Conf.
The concept of this event was once "fluffy" to me. I thought that any conference or event that promised to deliver a true sense of completeness or accomplishment was overreaching at best, and a scam at worst.
Then, I looked into it a little more. If you recall the start of this post, I'm in the market of debunking stereotypes, and Meaning Conf certainly pulled that off.
Pitched as an event that "connects and inspires people who believe in better business," there are a few ways that the Meaning team go about that.
Firstly, the thinkers and do-ers that gather there aren't just limited to the world of what you might traditionally associate with business. Instead, representatives from the arts, activists, and academics are all given a platform to share what drives them and how they've accomplished their accolades.
Secondly, the event isn't just the conference. There are a variety of fringe events on offer from wild swimming to a beach clean to an ethical business tour by bike.
If that isn't enough promise of there truly being something for everyone, you can check out the speakers from last year who included Guardian journalists, a mental health first aid leader, and the creator of sustainability practices around consumer electronics.
Date: 14th November, 2019.
Tickets: Early Birds are available now for £195.
Hopefully you'll find something to your taste in this line-up. We'll try to update this post in due time as new additions to line-ups and tickets are available.