Reflection on #ASAE13: A Tale of Two Meetings
It's been a few days since I left the ASAE meeting in Atlanta. I had a great time, as usual, but there has been one issue that has been bouncing around in my brain since I left. Towards the end of the meeting, I saw this tweet from association exec (and big thinker) Bob Rich:
I'll be curious to see exactly what prompted Bob to tweet this, but regardless, I felt exactly the same way. I went to several different sessions during the meeting, and in some of them, I felt energized as we explored new ways of doing things (I particularly liked the session about AGU's transformation on the last day, where the Board Chair was actually one of the presenters--how often does that happen!?). But in others, I felt almost out of place. The conversations were rooted in the traditional assumptions and methods, and the degree of agreement and loyalty to the old ways in the group seemed to be very high. I wasn't sure how to engage, since I came from such a different perspective. And in the sessions where I felt at home, it seemed like none of the people from those traditional sessions were even there, and the old ways weren't discussed much. As Bob said, it was like two co-located meetings.
So what does this mean for the association community? Are we evolving in different directions in a healthy way? Or have we just created two separate bubbles, both of which lack perspective and are headed for some disappointing pops? Is it good to have co-located meetings like this? Should we work harder to integrate them? Or should they just evolve separately? Was this just me and Bob? Obviously I've got more questions than answers on this one. What do you think?