What it takes to organize a conference
There's a topic I rarely discuss here: how we work on the program of the LIFT conferences. With 3 editions in Geneva, a small event in Seoul and the LIFT Asia in CheJu next september, a long list of speakers has been booked. Since I am in charge of that part, it's always interesting to shed some light about we handle that part of the conference.
So how does that work? Well, it's not so much of a formal process as it's a combination of the LIFT coreteam daily observation of the Tech world and a discussion with members from our board as well as local advisers. The daily dose of newsfeeds, magazine reads, meetings with researchers, designers, entrepreneurs, public institutions lead us to add names of relevant people in a database we called "LIFT parking". This is mostly coordinated by myself and approved by the coreteam with recommendations coming from the LIFT team, the LIFT board, some partners/friends who reads specific resources (and get a free subscription and LIFT entrance) and of course local contacts who keep us posted about who is intriguing, pertinent and interesting in other part of the world such as South Korea, China, Japan. In the future we'd like to open this to new contacts from other countries in Latin America and of course Africa. Finally, the suggestion part of the website allows people from the community to suggest names and topics.
7-8 month before the event, we start cobbling our notes, potential speaker names and list of topics so that we can discuss the main theme and subtopics for the conference. This allows us to narrow down the list of potential speakers. Board members also suggest speakers at this time.