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June 5, 2017

LavaCon Dublin 2017: spanning silos, building bridges

Two weeks ago, The LavaCon Conference made its return to Dublin, Ireland. Before I dive in, thanks to Jack Molisani for yet another fun and insightful LavaCon conference!

The venue

This year’s conference took place at the historic Croke Park. Set a brisk 20-minute walk away from the excitement of Temple Bar, this venue offered bright modern common areas and presentation rooms in a quieter area of Dublin. The vendor floor looked out over the well-manicured pitch (field).

Attendees were entertained watching the grounds crew mow the pitch each morning. Many were amazed that they use 3 normal size walk-behind mowers and not a large lawn tractor.

The event

This year’s conference theme was aptly titled “spanning silos, building bridges.” Keynotes and sessions predominantly focused on cross-departmentmental collaboration and user-centric design. Every session provided unique advice that attendees could apply back at the office. We even learned how judo principles relate to how we approach content, product, and project management.

I spent quite a bit of time in the vendor hall talking to attendees and other vendors. Localization is becoming a hot topic as more companies are beginning to bridge the content gap between departments but have global audiences to address. This would explain the rather heated question-and-answer session during and after my talk on localization strategy.

Networking, Dublin style

If you’ve never attended a LavaCon conference, know that the conference day never ends at 5:00 PM. When the formal sessions end, the networking begins. We ventured out to Dublin’s traditional networking centers: the pubs!

One dynamic I’ve noticed about LavaCon that sets it apart from other conferences is the diversity and inclusion at after-hours gatherings. Attendees, staff, and sponsors mingle, share stories, and discuss everything from content to hobbies.

Wrapping up

This year’s conference ended with an afternoon design thinking workshop led by Diego Dalia of IBM. The workshop was specifically tailored toward the overall LavaCon conference experience.

Attendees broke out into six groups, each tasked with developing a persona, problem statement, and solution storyboard using a metric ton of sticky notes. The teams provided Jack with a wealth of ideas for enhancing future conferences from the perspective of first time attendees, returning attendees, speakers, vendors, conference staff, and managers.

While the session was long and mentally taxing, we were well rewarded for our efforts.

Looking ahead to Portland

If you missed the Dublin conference, fear not! LavaCon is returning to Portland, Oregon this fall. I’m interested to see how Dublin’s design thinking workshop will influence the Portland event. We plan to attend. Will we see you there?