Tuesday, August 13, 2013

LeadIT 2013 - A Capital Affair

At Conferences we tend to live on adrenaline - the 'buzz' is high-end knowledge sharing and developing relationship connections over a short period of time. 

I've needed this weekend recovery to catch up on sleep and allow my brain to recalibrate so I'll be able to start processing all the content and experiences. 

No doubt you'll see a number of blog posts, news and messages in the next few weeks as each participant savours the results and analyses the take-away from their perspective. Stay tuned to the social channels around LeadIT, itSMFA and HDAA. In the meantime, here's my take with a number of reference links.

The Location

Each city LeadIT visits has its own vibe.  Canberra this year saw an increase in government delegates as the location made it easier to cope with their travel budgets and policies.  The venue was very central to accommodation and I thought well laid out for sessions and other conference activities.  It certainly made the crossover between the program streams, vendor hall and breakout sessions fast and accessible leaving plenty of time for people interaction.   It was certainly Knowledge built by Acquaintance on a grand scale.

The plenary sessions had a great stage in the Royal Theatre and although difficult for the speaker to see the faces of the audience, as one sitting in the stalls, I found it comfortable and everyone could see over everyone else’s head.

We rugged up as it was cold and sometimes wet weather outside but inside the personalities and active participation kept it warm and vibrant.  There was something of a 'Norman Rockwell' painting going on with people gathering fireside at stalls and additional lounge areas chatting amiably and sharing their stories.  Canberra is a quiet city, albeit our nation's capital but I think we managed to liven it up somewhat.

The Program

There were a number of new international guests, local speakers and content so it was a fresh program and the new material delivered by different people was largely welcomed.  Besides the keynotes, the sessions I went to were particularly well attended, in some cases 70+, so I’d have to say they held particular value.  It is very easy to become insular in IT, so it was great that much of the content pushed people’s thinking further out, not just new concepts but to remember our inherent reason for being in the business in the first place – serve and protect!

A key theme that cropped up while I crowd surfed was they were ‘made rich by the personal experiences shared from those that had lived through it’.  Other descriptive words used were ‘Mesmerised’, ‘Succinct’, ‘Articulate’ and ‘Very practical’. The ITSM Antipodean Podcast crew again recorded from the Conference floor garnering feedback from sponsors, speakers and delegates so look out for Episode 36 over the next few days.

Not many get to see the inner workings of such large events however with HDAA partnering itSMFA this year meant a great  involvement of our staff.  It was fascinating to see and experience pulling it together and watching the enormous effort given by staff and volunteers alike.  I was particularly pleased to have a stream dedicated to support services as personally, I felt it rounded out the program to include all facets of ITSM.   At this point, I'd like to thank itSMFA leaders, committee and volunteers for making me feel so much a part of the team and being so inclusive of HDAA thoughts, ideas and activities.  Having met the new CEO of itSMFA, Bruce Harvey, I’m convinced that LeadIT 2014 is going to be even slicker.

New things were also tried such as the live streaming of Hot Topic and Panel sessions via Google Hangout and Webinar as well as a stronger focus on other social media streams in order to reach those that couldn’t attend.  The Ignite series has also been videoed.  High octane speed sessions with the audience wondering if there would be any tongue-tripping – the speakers did very well!

My Highlights

Simone Moore & Chris Haspell
& ITSM Pengi too!
Personally and as part of HDAA, by far the most exciting and gratifying highlight is having been involved with the journeys of three of the award winners:
  • Chris Haspell, City of Boroondara – Innovation of the Year for Motivating Service Desk Staff with Gamification, a little serious fun!
  • John Schumacher, Fujitsu – Chairman’s Prize, Best Overall Speaker for his ROC Program results – taking us beyond winning last year’s award. A first time speaker at LeadIT as well, he is quite inspiring.
  • Ian Baxter, Asciano – Best New Speaker.  Practical content delivered in an honest, open and passionate manner.  
Congratulations also to the HDAA Service Desk Project of the Year winner, University of WA!

The gala dinner was understated elegance in the Great Hall of Parliament House, all the more entertaining for the comedic operatic show that saw a couple of attendees unexpectedly involved.

Facilitating the HDAA Workshops on Channel Management & Workforce Planning as well as Problem Solving Techniques is always a pleasure.  The first was an intimate group where we discussed more specific issues related to their environment and the second we had engaging activities in thinking differently and using the techniques.

Fantabulous Keynotes & Sessions

‘The four indispensable roles of the IT Leader’ by Charles Aruajo (a.k.a. Quantum Charlie!) was a great opener to focus the remaining program around the evolving perception and perspectives of how ITSM is changing. ‘Stop focussing on managing and start focussing on leading’.  His after presentation interview gives some real insight.

Amber Case really made being a cyborg cool instead of creepy bringing fabulous awareness through her research into wearable and calm technology and why you don’t yet want a chip inserted in your brain.  As a human we want to decide what we want to know rather than the technology forcing it on us. I even got to play with her Google Glass … very cool – hear more from her interview

Unlearning ITIL after being so inculcated with it may seem difficult for some but for Aale Roos he made it look easy.  Controversial maybe, entertaining definitely – see more here.

I can’t help it, but I’m a Karen Ferris groupie and loved her practical presentation on the right and wrong ways to select a tool and ‘play the game’ with vendors all in preventing the Monopoly game of chance.  Here some of that great advice in this interview.

Rob England never disappoints in challenging our thought patterns with concepts and unifying views with Kamu as outlined in his after presentation chat.

The HDAA Problem Solving Technique workshop theme was further extended with Phil Green’s ‘Turning Problem Management on its Head’.  

There were a number of sessions that challenged our thinking and that is all to the good of our industry evolution.

New Characters on the ITSM Scene

As the negative team, in the Hot Topic Great Debate – The Service Desk is Irrelevant we had a hilarious time hamming it up in costume (I was Red Riding Hood, John Schumacher as Super Surgeon and Kirstie Magowan as Fairy Godmother).  

Our opposition (Peter Doherty as ITIL NinjaRob Stroud as Chef and Lana Yakimoff as ITIL Angeltried to blindside us physically and bamboozle our audience but our real message got through - Technology might become irrelevant but never the service desk! Nice to know we can live happily ever after!  

HDAA rode, roped and wrangled the evening away at The Amazing Race sponsor evening with all kinds of other team characters providing enormous laughter when attempting to earn passport stamps with creative and interesting games. Take a look at this video.
The HDAA Team

It seems the industry has itself a mascot - ITSM Pengi was seen with various conference delegates, speakers & vendors alike. Apparently he smuggles himself into your luggage to attend IT events worldwide. Invited to the LeadIT welcome drinks, he met a number of notable guests, sat in on panel sessions,  was escorted to a reserved seat at the gala dinner & photographs with award winners. His adventure Down Under is well recorded on film - see the paparazzi shots, friend him on Facebook & check out his photo album.

LeadIT 2014 is tagged to be in Melbourne, so you southerners get your game on because no city has a monopoly on this conference!

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