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Is the conference dead?

The traditional gathering of industry minds is not cutting the mustard, so Dave Birss is here to explain how new ways of getting together are changing business

A few years ago I read an article about exercises you’re supposed to do on a flight to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis. It was in an airline magazine, which I guess is an appropriate place to put it. Apparently you’re supposed to rock your feet back and forth to keep the blood circulating in your legs. And to get up from your seat for a regular walkabout. It even gave some exercises you can do in the cramped toilet cubicles (although I don’t think I’d want to go in after someone had just exited looking sweaty and out of breath). The aim of it all was to stop the blood clots forming in your stationary legs.

I’ve often found myself doing these very same exercises when I’m sitting at a conference. You know the ones. They’re filled with selfinterested case studies and people parroting all the stuff that’s already done a few cycles around the echo chamber. The organisers were aiming for something TED-ish but actually succeeded in creating something TED-ious.

This is an extract from the Business & Management Magazine, Issue 279, November 2019.

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