Sunday, 12 November 2017

#cipdACE17 - summary post

So this week its been the 70th Annual CIPD Conference and Exhibition, referred to this year as #cipdACE17. I was thrilled to be part of the Blogsquad again covering the event on social media on behalf of CIPD. Here's my summary of the event.

I should start by saying a big thankyou to my current employers at the Disclosure and Barring Service for allowing me to see through this commitment that I'd made some months before joining them, despite it being a busy time, for not once moaning or making me feel guilty about going, and for recognising the huge development potential #cipdACE17 had for me and the potential it had to reflect well on them through me raising their profile.  Thankyou for that.

This was my 14th year running attending the event, and although some years I've just made it to the exhibition, I've come to enjoy the conference itself just as much. The conference this year was about "Embracing the new world of work" and many sessions were focused around this theme.  As usual, I found it hard to select the best sessions to go to and its a shame I had to miss more than I attended because of clashes etc.

Here's the blogs I did of the various conference sessions:

I enjoyed each of these sessions and although I missed the final two sessions, including the closing keynote, because of needing to attend to a work-related matter, I found there had been sufficient to stimulate my interest across the bits I had attended.  I went away with a big long list of actions to take back into the workplace and am looking forward to doing them.

The exhibition seemed larger, and that's a good thing.  There was a good variety of exhibitors and a range of free to attend sessions.  I was disappointed in the overall lack of quality of free gifts - in some years gone by I'd return home with bags full for my kids but this year I filled half a bag - my kids don't want mints, pens or stress balls unfortunately.

I was also disappointed - again - with the lack of engagement some exhibitors had with social media.  Not all, I should add - some were excellent - but some others did nothing to try to engage with attendees on social media and some, when asked, did not even know their own Twitter handle.

Sadly I didn't get as much time in the exhibition as in previous years, and felt I didn't do it justice - next year I'll try to redress this.

However the general atmosphere in the exhibition hall and in conference sessions was excellent, something many commented upon.  The only thing I thought went wrong was the Members Lounge in the CIPD stand was poorly organised and cramped, and should perhaps be separated back out next year.  Otherwise, everything was great.

And this translated well into the fringe activities but again too much clashed for me to be able to get to it all.  At least 3 things happened Tuesday evening, at least 3 things Wednesday evening and at least 2 things Thursday morning - now that's good in one sense as it caters for the interest that must be there, but scheduling them all at the same time makes it difficult to attend them all.  And the fringe is an important part of the Conference - its still not quite what it was in Harrogate because of the sheer size of Manchester, but its improving and can improve further.

I enjoyed speaking at the CIPD Manchester fringe event on the Thursday morning #cipdbigconvo - doing an Ignite on the subject of being a working parent - and strangely this prompted a lot of reflection from me on my current priorities, something I'll update you all on shortly.

Like many people, I got as much from the conference through networking with people and generally catching up with ex colleagues, old friends and new contacts.  I'd like more space built into the programme for this - the gaps between the conference sessions were sometimes 30 minutes - and there isn't much time to get to the toilet, grab a drink, look round the exhibition AND network in just 30 minutes.

But it was great to see so many friendly faces and to talk to as many people as would listen about my current situation and how I can resolve some inherent conflict in it.  Also great was the ability to input into other people's discussions and help them improve their own situations.

It was also a very tiring event as usual, made worse by the transport difficulties caused by rail and bus strikes on Day One getting there, and the closure of the M6 when going home on Day Two.

But I loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat.

I found myself thinking a 3rd day, as used to be the case years ago, would have given me and the conference the room to fit everything in.

Is it time to go back to 3 days?

Overall, a great conference and exhibition and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Till next time...


PS a time of upheaval for me in many ways - watch out for two imminent blogs updating on my personal and professional lives...

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