As the only person to have attended every single SEPG conference in Europe, I feel that I should be allowed to comment on some of the differences between this conference and the others, based on my first hour of being here.
First, it is nice to be in Portugal! Traditionally, the process improvement effort in Europe has been centred in the Germanic and Scandinavian countries, while the Mediterranean countries have been left aside. Hopefully, we can continue this trend in the coming years and get Italy, Greece and the others on board rapidly.
This is also the first time (in Europe) that the conference is being held in a university rather than in a hotel. It means more travelling, obviously as everyone is lodging in various hotels across town and a few events are being organized away from the main conference (partner meeting at the Sheraton down-town, gala dinner on a boat…). It also means different atmosphere. We have a lot of young people walking about in T-shirts and jeans, while in the expensive hotels, we had more sedate, well-dressed people – personally, I find this a lot more fun.
The talks are being given in university auditoriums (auditoria?) which means rows of people on wooden benches towering over the speaker and less possibility of walking about and using pointers at the screen; the slides are projected on top of the speaker’s head.
A few times in the past, the exhibitors have had a hard time, being sent to rooms away from the crowd. This time, they are in a hallway and everyone must walk past them to go from one room to another. It looks like a good idea as far as maximizing passage and visibility and the hallway is wide enough not to get clogged up when people stop to chat.
Peter Leeson (Q:PIT Ltd)