RSA Conference 2016 promises to be an amazing experience for our attendees. Aside from all of the great things in store to help us celebrate our 25th anniversary—and there are some fabulous things you will not want to miss!—we are planning to introduce several new opportunities and restructure some current ones in our educational lineup to help our attendees maximize their time and investment at RSA Conference.
Wednesday and Thursday will feature educational content all day long for our Full Conference badge holders. We’ll have traditional tracks of content in the morning, with something for everyone in a traditional learning environment. In the afternoon, we’ll “flip the switch,” with small group interactive sessions designed to help our attendees dig deeper and apply what they’ve learned through a variety of facilitated discussions and exercises. We will offer three different interactive paths: 1) Peer2Peer sessions; 2) Learning Labs; and 3) the Focus-On Series.
Peer2Peer sessions were introduced a few years ago to help our attendees meet and engage with others who share similar interests. These small group sessions are capped at 25 participants and feature a moderated discussion around a specific published topic. There are no slides—only a facilitated discussion with everyone around the table engaged and involved.
Be sure to watch the RSAC 365 blog in the weeks leading up to RSA Conference for more detailed guidance from the facilitators as to what to expect in the conversation and who should attend. The blog will also be a source of good write ups after the fact, providing a good summary of the discussion and “ah ha” moments that may have occurred. Our call for Peer2Peer facilitators opens Oct. 8 and will close on Dec. 1. Watch this space for more information if you are interested in submitting.
Learning Labs were introduced with great success last year. These are two-hour deep dive facilitated experiences, designed to immerse attendees in interactive exercises and discussions. Attendance is capped at 50 participants, assuring that every person in the room has the opportunity to engage with the facilitator and get the most out of the experience. Unlike a traditional track session with the “sage on the stage,” the Lab facilitator is a “guide on the side” leading the group through the content and exercises, while challenging them to apply what they are learning and engage with one another. We will offer 12 Learning Labs in 2016 on a wide range of topics.
Rounding out our Wednesday and Thursday afternoons will be the new Focus-On Series. These small group discussions, capped at 50 attendees, will bring some of our morning speakers back for a more intimate Q&A engagement with interested attendees. No new slides or material will be presented. The questions of the group will guide the flow of the discussion, allowing the group to gain even greater understanding as they engage more fully with others sharing similar interests.
2016 will also bring back Birds of a Feather breakfast gatherings on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. This will be a very informal activity—topics of interest will be defined by those who attend. Grab your breakfast and come to the room to lead or join a conversation on whatever’s on your mind.
We’re also expanding the number of crowdsource sessions that will be publicly selected, offering those sessions Tuesday afternoon and all day long Wednesday and Thursday. The submission period for crowdsource sessions is Dec. 2 through Jan. 3. Additional details and the submission portal will be available as we get closer.
We have a few other new ideas brewing that will be announced in the coming weeks as we strive to respond to the terrific feedback from the attendee survey.
We also know that it’s a major economic and time commitment for our attendees to come to RSA Conference, and it's time and dollars that you need to justify to management. To help with this process—and put a spotlight on some of the great content we have in store!—our Program Committee has worked incredibly hard to select a few sessions/track for “early acceptance” status. A small number of our submitters will be notified next week that they have been selected to present at RSA Conference 2016. This accelerated acceptance process will allow us to get content offerings out on our website sooner, allowing you to more easily justify your participation at RSA Conference 2016. The bulk of the notifications will still go out in late November—so don’t fret if you don’t hear from us!—these early ones are just the first out of the gate as we push for more information in your hands, sooner.
We’re excited for 2016 and look forward to you joining us in San Francisco for what’s shaping up to be the best RSA Conference ever. It will be the right way to celebrate our 25th anniversary with you.