True to the “Engage” of our conference title we always look for formats that go beyond brilliant presentations and that give our attendees opportunities to interact with each other and grow their network within the product community.
But we also wanted to try something new at this year’s MTP Engage conference in order to create a more personal experience for all attendees while they were seated in the auditorium. In Daniel Goddemeyer and Dominikus Baur we found the perfect partners for this, so we asked them to run an interactive data visualisation session immediately before the first coffee break.
Daniel and Dominikus both have an impressive track record in applying data visualisation in academic as well as public contexts. They’ve won many prizes for their data visualisation projects and have developed their own software Polylog – which they used for the session.
Attendees were asked to submit live answers to semi-serious questions about who they are, the context they work in, and what they care about. Their responses were displayed live on stage, and we’ve put together a graphic of the responses here. It was fun to see the excitement on many faces during the session and experience the overall feeling of “togetherness“ generated by the 350 individuals in the audience, as that’s exactly the spirit we aim for with MTP Engage.
It only took a few seconds until we saw the first attendees “gaming“ the system, and because it was visibly live in the auditorium, this encouraged others to try gaming too. We didn’t mind at all that, as a consequence of this gaming, the resulting data set might not be fully “true“ – after all the objective of this session was to have fun together as a group and give people something to break the ice with during the coffee break that followed.
My favourite parts of the session were the moments where Daniel and Dominikus made the audience use their smartphones not only as input devices, but also as blinking, colour-coded signposts to signify their job role and where they came from.
To close the session all attendees received a recommendation to meet other attendee in the following coffee break – we wanted to assure that everybody made at least one new contact during the coffee break.
We have already started to think about new, engaging formats for the next edition of MTP Engage Hamburg in May 2019.