Interop ITX kicks off next week and it will be the 31st year of the event. Wow. As we prepare to bring together thousands of tech leaders who are passionate about the way their IT organizations are run, I want to highlight some of the new show programming and formats we’ve added this year.
Interop ITX is a conference-first model. What does that mean? It means we’ve built the event around our conference program and our conference attendee. The conference has been an important component of our event since the very beginning, and we’ve now put it at the center.
The creation of our first ever Review Board was an important step in that process. Our board is comprised of attendees, speakers, industry experts, and our editorial team — allowing for a diversity of experiences and perspectives to shape our program. They’ve each spent dozens of hours on conference calls, online discussion forums and recruiting speakers to make sure our program is providing you with the most relevant tools and practices for today’s IT organization. We have built a conference program for the community, with the community.
We broadened our conference tracks to encompass the Full Stack. The challenges you face every day are not limited to networking, or infrastructure, or any one thing. It’s about finding solutions to help run a modern IT organization throughout the Full Stack, which you’ll find in our conference program and in our Business Hall. If you’re still not sure what sessions to attend, we also launched Conference Journeys this year. Our journeys provide suggested conference schedules based on topic or your job title, and personal recommendations from our editorial team if you submit a request. You can also search for companies in the Business Hall by product or service.
We refocused our Business Hall to make sure it’s designed to foster authentic interactions between our sponsors, exhibitors and attendees. We’ve made lots of improvements, but here are a few we want to highlight. First, we worked alongside our sponsors and exhibitors to create experiences where they can connect with our attendees through content, such as our ITX Theater, Vendor Tech sessions, how exhibitors build and staff their booth with a focus on solutions and more. Secondly, we standardized and limited the size of booths to level the playing field, and ensure that emerging companies, as well as established companies, have the opportunity to connect with our attendees. With the conference-first model, we also eliminated the Free Expo Pass. Every attendee at the event is invested in making the most of their Interop ITX experience. This facilitates a more intimate, engaging event.
Networking and making connections is the most important thing we can do to help foster and grow our community. Here are a few of the things we did this year to help do that:
- Conference sessions — Learn more about community building with content on the inclusive workplace, leading distributed teams, retaining millennial talent, creating strong relationships between business and IT, and open source advocacy.
- Topical Lunch Discussions — Allow for in-depth, small group discussions on topics important to our community. Look for info in the mobile app.
- Badge Ribbons — Our community is made richer by a diverse and growing community, and allowing you to easily find those you want to connect with. First, identify yourself as an alumni or first-timer. If you’re an alum, seek out those first-timers and give them a warm welcome (it can be scary in a new setting!). First-timers — seek out alumni to get advice on how make the most of your week. Industry ribbons – we’ve heard feedback that you want to be able to easily find people in your own industry, to enrichen your network and find colleagues that share common experiences. Make sure you’ve tagged your badge with your industry to make those connections easier!
- Girls Who Code partnership — Ensuring our future community stays strong and grows more diverse.
- Ice breakers – You’ll find games throughout the venue to help break the ice. Whether you’re a trivia buff, or prefer building things, we hope you’ll find a game that suits you — challenge a table mate!
- Special events — From parties to yoga to award programs, we have events planned throughout the week to feed your body and your mind.
We are excited to welcome you all next week. Safe travels and see you soon!