Thoughts About the Q Conference
I just returned yesterday from participating in the Q Conference in New York City (see previous posts). Although I am still processing some of the thoughts that have stirred my mind from Q, I would like to share some of the following observations about the overall conference:
What I Appreciated About Q:
- Overall, I thought it was one of the better all-around organized and marketed conferences I have been to of late. The intentionality and creativity of the organizers was clearly recognizable throughout the 2 days. The gift bags and attention to details (e.g., welcome sign with everyone’s name on it) made a big statement of care as participants walked in.
- The flow and pace of programming had a great rhythm to it.
- The 18 minute running clock for speakers was a great idea (TED.com-like). I liked that the speakers really had to focus on which “big idea” they would share in such limited time. The intensity and focus of the presentations were great.
- The diversity of disciplines that were represented at Q was greatly appreciated. The mixture of church leaders, non-profit leaders, artists, business professionals, scientists, news reporters, musicians, political activists, etc. truly made this a unique gathering. It was refreshing to go to a Christian conference that had more than church leadership on the platform. Also, the caliber of presenters (not so much the speaking abilities, but rather, their life example) warranted much attention.
- The venue (Gotham Hall) was amazing and quite appropriate for the conference. Also, the wireless access at the venue was very helpful.
- The conference itself provided a great environment to form new friendships as well as nurture previous ones. Elements including lighting, sound, breaks in between sessions, close proximity of food vendors, list of all participants’ emails, etc. made it a great networking venue.
What I Would Suggest for Future Q’s:
- Although there was a diversity of disciplines, given our global context and the desire of Q for cultural creativity and impact, I would liked to have seen more cultural groups represented. There were very few Latinos, Blacks/African Americans, etc. represented both on stage and among the participants. I think the biggest minority group represented were probably some of us Asians. Also, there were only a couple of female presenters. I am hoping that Q would become a diverse expression of God’s creative mission in the world. It would be good for Q to incorporate some more diversity into its core leadership as long as it doesn’t compromise its purpose.
- Allow for more intentional time of networking with others with similar affinities for missional living. It would have been beneficial for people to meet up in a learning and networking forum of some kind to not only hear someone else present, but work through actual case scenarios of what participants are going through in their own context. I understand that this may be difficult to coordinate (especially in light of some who misuse these moments to promote their gig). Nevertheless, maybe there could have been a couple of meal time options to meet with like-minded people.
- More documentation of average (and not necessarily high-profile) individuals/groups making a difference in their world. I think I heard a few comments hinting at the tier difference between those who were presenting with those who were attending. Maybe consider highlighting a few people each year that are unsung heroes of living as cultural catalysts.
- Incorporate more visual media components into the presentation like Dave Gibbons and Shane Hipps. This would definitely help those of us who learn visually. I do understand that not all speakers communicate in this manner. Nevertheless, maybe consider having a creative team that can assist those speakers who would like this option.
- Create more spaces for spontaneous development of new ideas.
- Facilitate a social networking area with some highlighted organizations, ministries, and businesses where people could talk to these representatives in non-booth environment.
- Power strips and plugs would have been nice at the tables. 🙂
- Would it be possible to offer participants avenues to receive coaching by professionals in their field during the conference? Maybe 30 minute slots?
- Show some short films to engage ideas.
- Ideas for Future Topics for Presentation:
- The Art and Skill of Networking
- Nurturing Creativity
- Globalization, Faith, and Culture
- A Theology of Future
- Human Sexuality and Cultural Identity
- Social Entrepreneurialship
- Missional Culinary Art
- Grassroot Movements and Change
- Open-Source Social Develoment
- Multi-Ethnicity and Ecclesiastical Praxis
In conclusion, I would definitely recommend the Q conference to others. I think a conference like Q will definitely benefit those seeking to live out their faith in the culture they find themselves in.
To the organizers… Thank you for dreaming and moving to facilitate a great environment for awareness, collaboration, and mobilization.
Just some thoughts…