The annual Ideas Boston conference will get a bit smaller this year -- but will reach more people around the world, its organizers hope.
Since 2004, Ideas Boston has assembled a slice of technological, artistic, scientific, and social innovators from our city to give short talks about their latest work. In the past, the audience has consisted of a couple hundred people who have convened at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's large auditorium downtown.
This year, though, the event will be a "virtual conference," according to executive director Kathy Plazak. A handful of talks will be videotaped on October 1st at UMass Boston, and later distributed online.
The virtual conference, Plazak explains via e-mail, "is a very cost-effective way to get this content out to thousands of people. It reflects the economic realities of the times, with sponsorship funding scarce, and it also puts the emphasis more on our electronic audience, which is not limited by time or geography as are our exclusively in-person events."
This year's event features a half-dozen speakers, including neuroscientist-turned-novelist Lisa Genova; physician Ronald Dixon of Mass General; and sociologist/activist Charles Derber. (You can watch talks from 2008 here, by clicking "View Presentation.") Only about 30 people will be there for the live studio taping.
You can be one of them. Here's how:
The event runs Thursday, October 1st from 1 PM to 6 PM at UMass Boston. (1 to 2 PM is check-in and refreshments; 5 to 6 PM is a networking reception.)
If you're interested in getting your hands on this one complimentary pass that the Ideas Boston organizers are giving away, just send me an e-mail using the form on the right of this page (where it says "Send An E-Mail to Scott") and tell me your best big idea, the best big idea you've heard recently, or the big idea person (or group/institution) you most admire in Boston. Plus, you'll get extra points if you are an active blogger or Twitter user and plan to share your thoughts on Ideas Boston 2009, so send along your blog URL or Twitter username if you have one. I'll pick the winning entry based on how cool/surprising/thoughtful you are.
And I'll contact the winner over the weekend (by Sunday at noon), so that you'll have time to make plans to attend the event next Thursday afternoon.
(Disclosure: The Globe helped launch Ideas Boston in 2004, though the event is now an independent non-profit. I serve on the event's informal board of advisors, primarily suggesting speakers.)
About Scott Kirsner
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.
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