Making a Conference Attendance “Stick”

State%20house.jpgThis year’s Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship (BCCCC) Conference just wrapped up this week. It was held in Boston this year, but they try to jump coasts each year. Next year it’s in San Francisco.

The conference kicked off on Sunday night; and this year it had a very strong Monday agenda. In trying to (poorly) manage my work-live balance, I flew out from Phoenix on Monday instead of Sunday morning, so I missed about 65% of the content including some great sessions on Measuring Social Impact and Views from Difference Makers.

I’ve had a perception, right or wrong, of the BCCCC conferences over the years – that they were primarily designed for the Community Relations professional “stepping up” to the Citizenship, CSR or Sustainability function within their companies. A few years ago, I spoke on a panel with Mindy Lubber from CERES about emerging trends in reporting. Side note – I’m also helping sponsor the CERES conference this year coming later this month in Boston.

I was asked to speak about the emergence of new media options (blogs, wikis, social media, web 2.0) as it relates to CSR. Considering my absolute “pre-novice” stature on those subjects, I was sure they’d asked the wrong person! Without even knowing what Web 2.0 is, or ever using a wiki – I decided to talk about the fundamental shift taking place in CSR communications. The panel turned out to be standing room only even after they brought in more chairs. I can personally guarantee you – it was due to the content, not the speakers. The audience seemed to get a kick out of our little recycling video. This broad area is one that most of the Fortune 500 seems to be grappling with.

Of course, I wish I could have also attended the concurrent sessions being run by my colleagues Adrian Godfrey from Cisco and Dan Brock from Microsoft – but that’s another challenge with conference breakout sessions.

BCCCC asked me to be on their Advisory Board this year. I accepted their invitation because I have a personal belief that there continues to be an opportunity to better align external thinking and competencies with tangible business and social value creation. Of course, there are still only 24 hours in the day and I missed the Net Impact Advisory Board meeting last week due to a conflict with a meeting of Intel’s Ethics and Compliance Oversight Committee. I take these assignments seriously, so if you have any perspective or input on BCCCC, feel free to let me know. I’ll take it back to the group in the form of input.

This post is getting a little long, so I need to wrap it up.

One of the more thought-provoking discussions I heard this week was from Chip Heath, author of “Made to Stick.” I’m not going to get in the business of endorsing books in this blog, but his recipe for crafting ideas and plans in a language that makes them stick turned out to be a simple 6 step primer in communications. It’s already having an effect on my thinking and a book title (content of which remains in my head vs. on paper). I’d suggest anybody in our space at least take a cursory look at the book.

In other news……John Davies from AMR Research summarized his perspective of our CAO, Andy Bryant’s appearance at the CRO conference. Scientific American published a story this month entitled Digital Diet that discussed both impacts – both positive and negative of technology on the environment. There were some interesting data points included.

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