I haven’t heard back on it, yet, but I expect that the LRIG NE (Laboratory Robotics Interest Group – New England) (http://lab-robotics.org/New_England/Archives/2010-04_Meeting.htm) and Boston LIMS/Laboratory Informatics (http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/36640/6A50095E87BA) meeting went well. 152 people had pre-registered when they had to close registration down due to a space limitation. I don’t know that any of us expected to max-out the room, but I’m glad to hear that it happened.
It took a team of volunteers a LOT of work to put this together. The night started with a networking cocktail mixer, followed by the various speakers. I’m particularly proud to say that the ELN Expert Panel we put together sounded terrific, as that was the task I more specifically worked-on. Having been closely in-touch with the panel members, I felt they were prepared and were ready to have a great session.
This local meeting was larger than some of the “big” meetings. Yet, for all that, for being so large and well-attended, it was not considered to be “news.” I have noticed that the industry periodicals spend a good bit of their newsprint on the “big” conferences. At the same time, there seems to be a shift away from attending some of the larger conferences and a shift in some areas toward doing local events.
While one could argue that promoting these local events is a local issue, I claim that if this is the type of event that people are now most likely to attend and to learn from each other, then these events are increasingly important to help promote. It’s not just about making everyone aware that these events exist for the purpose of attending them, but to give them ideas of what their own area could be doing, as well. Each of these events is a potential model for a similar event in another locale.
And think of the largest conference you’ve been to that has laboratory informatics as its topic, either generally (i.e., Laboratory Informatics), or specifically (e.g., just LIMS, just ELN, just Chromatography). Were there 152 people in the room together? It’s unlikely. So, maybe it’s time to wake-up and realize that the way we attend events changes. It doesn’t mean we’ll never return to the big conferences, just that that’s not the current trend. As such, let’s focus on the events that enable the greatest number of people in our industry to participate.
So, our “little local” event of 152 might not have been “news” but it’s certainly an important event in our industry for the year 2010, regardless.