Thank you to everyone who contributed to our conference survey. This is what you told us:
75% rated their experience of the booking and communication process leading up to the conference as excellent, 25% as OK. We will try to make the booking process easier, provide a better booking confirmation/acceptance process and improve the quality of our accommodation lists.
57.14% rated the conference overall (i.e. in terms of duration, session length, content, format, keynote speakers) as excellent, 39.29% as OK and 3.57% as not very good. In short, you liked the venue, the speakers and the overall format but there were a few hints that you thought some of the parallel papers were a little ‘thin’ on content. We will try to address this.
The discussion groups were rated OK by 67.86%, excellent by 25% and not very good by 3.57%. There were a few suggestions that it did not always feel safe to participate in discussions and that more robust facilitation may be required. We will look into this. We are also considering moving them towards the end of the day so that they can cover more than just the keynotes and also feed more directly into a (shorter) closing plenary.
The plenary sessions were rated OK by 52.73%, not very good by 25.45% and excellent by 10.91%. We know this aspect of the conference is problematic and will make changes for 2018. The key (we think) is to make the ‘task’ more explicit and to ensure that the configuration of chairs and space is conducive to that task.
Structured and unstructured space
When we asked you whether the conference should offer more in the way of informal/unstructured spaces (eg social, personal, reflective, spontaneous), most of you were satisfied with the current arrangements but there were a few pleas for longer coffee/lunch breaks and a few more reflective spaces. We will factor this into our 2018 planning. We have the option to continue into Sunday this year so that presents opportunities for more variety and a less intensive schedule.
Venue, catering and facilities
When we asked your comments on the venue, catering, service and facilities, you were generally very complimentary. Next year, we are in a different venue but will be able to address the three principal requests expressed – for more breakfast, more seating at lunchtime and a longer drinks reception – whilst maintaining the generally high standard of catering and facilities that you expect.
When we asked you to list the one or two presentations you enjoyed most, every single presentation was listed by at least one person. The same happened when we asked you to single out the presentations you would attend if they were put on again. The votes were distributed very evenly but with a few clear leaders. This indicates a general satisfaction with the presentations on offer; I commend and thankyou all for your contributions to a stimulating conference.
We also received a number of interesting suggestions for keynote speakers which we are following up at the moment with a view to launching the 2018 conference in the Spring. Thank you for putting these names forward.
A number of you expressed interest in seeing Marianna’s slides from her keynote, which she has very kindly agreed to supply. If you would like a copy, please email me.
Please put 16-17 November in your diaries for the 2018 conference, to be held at the offices of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in the City of London.
My thanks again to John Wilkes, Xavier Eloquin and Anne Augustine for all their hard work behind the scenes and on the day. John has indicated a wish to step down from the committee for 2018 but I am sure you will all join me in expressing gratitude for the courtesy, efficiency and thoughtfulness that he brought to the role.