confToday is the official start of the IQPC Pharma IQ ELN Conference in Amsterdam. All my own tasks are behind me, as yesterday was a busy day. Today, I can take a more relaxed approach to seeing and participating in activities.
Yesterday’s focus day turned out to be active. I think there were more attendees than planned as our room had a number of chairs along the sides of the room, even with the front row full except for one seat (because most people resist sitting in the front row).
Sometimes, it can be difficult to draw people out. As a speaker, you have to wonder if the group understood what you presented or, possibly, just didn’t find it interesting. When there are many questions and comments and when it is fairly easy to drive audience participation, it’s usually a sign that the topic was an appropriate one for the group and is gratifying. At the end of the interactive presentations, we held a roundtable where we revisited topics of importance from the day as a discussion among the entire room – anyone with questions or input could jump in. As chair, I finally had to end it so that the room could be prepared for the workshop, but it was an active and interested group.
Despite the first day being called the “LIMS Focus Day” we discussed both LIMS and ELN, with references to other types of systems, too (such as CDS, SDMS, ERP). Plus, the topics of today were mainly general-enough that they applied to any system. Much of the day touched on a variety of project issues, such as buy-in, whether to have a dedicated project manager, whether to have a global or local project, and other related topics.
Also, there was a good mix of people at the conference from the US and Europe but heavier on the Europeans, as one would expect. One US delegate came to me and said she had already gotten so much just from the first day that she felt she could justify the extra expense of attending a European conference, again. So, all our expectations are high for today and tomorrow – the actual conference days.
One more important activity is that people who are at these conferences where most people are from out-of-town seem to try to get out eating an evening meal with other conferees. Part of these meetings is about the actual conference, but the other part is about catching-up with people we know and don’t see, often, and with meeting new people. There’s a definite social element to some of these conferences and I wonder if that’s one of the keys between the conferences that are doing well and the ones that aren’t – the ones that have not just great programs but also make us look forward to coming back seem to be the ones we continue to attend. That’s just some food for thought on that topic, though.