After getting off to a great start on day one of the Magnolia Conference 2014, which was a day full of technical, business and digital marketing tracks, day two of Magnolia's fifth annual event had something refreshing to offer.
Mike and I got ourselves back down to the Pathé Theatre venue in the heart of a hot and humid Basel, just in time to witness the start of an interesting and engaging conference activity.
It was the Magnolia “Unconference” 2014, and everybody was getting involved.
Engaging with the Ecosystem
Magnolia’s Unconference - which dominated day two - was all about attendee engagement and collaboration.
An unconference is a style of conference where the attendees propose, schedule and present their own sessions. Magnolia state that:
"The Magnolia Conference attracts some of the most engaged, skilled and innovative people from the Magnolia ecosystem and broader CMS industry. The unconference helps harness this potential, giving each attendee the opportunity to discuss what matters most to them in this rich environment."
So, if the purpose of day one was to allow Magnolia to talk to their audience face-to-face, day two was simply a chance for that same audience to respond.
Although the concept of an unconference is nothing new, they aren’t always incorporated into a company’s largest annual event. It was an invigorating activity, and I have no doubt that the attendees were glad Magnolia chose to offer it.
How it Worked
To ensure the unconference ran smoothly, Magnolia handed out some (very slick) conference folios throughout day one, which contained suggestion cards, amongst other things.
Attendees were encouraged to fill out these suggestion cards in preparation for day two, when their suggestions would be compiled and eventually discussed.
The day began with the audience getting to briefly introduce their session ideas, in what was a very bubbly and relaxed theatre room.
All kinds of ideas were flowing through the room, from Magnolia migration best practises to more comical activities.
In the end, a full day of attendee-suggested sessions were planned out. The sessions spanned from discussions about eCommerce platform integration to brainstorms regarding the top 20 most needed apps & modules.
The finished unconference wall for Magnolia Conference 2014 can be seen in more detail right here.
Running side-by-side with the unconference, was a technical track similar to that found during day one.
Magnolia’s attending clients and partners were running the show, with Tricode, Tinext,Aperto, Jelastic, Lemonize and Agido all dishing out technical presentations.
They spoke on topics such as vanity URLs, utilities portal building and there was even mention of some tips for when it comes to developing a Magnolia website with speed in mind.
Overall, day two had everything it needed to close out the Magnolia Conference 2014. The technical tracks were there for those who wished to hear from industry experts, but the casual nature of the unconference was the icing on the cake. It was fun, engaging and genuinely informative for those who attended.
To get a sense of how Magnolia Conference 2014 went down on the ground, be sure to check out the event’s social media wall revolving around the #MConf14 hashtag. CMS Critic was even ranked as the top contributor!