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Another Look at the Power of Growth Conferences

Five more Growth Conferences that have captured our hearts and minds.

In a previous blog, we recommended 5 growth conferences worth checking out based on their programming, keynote speakers, feedback from attendees and social buzz. 

With so many conferences out there, we decided to research and search for more… and include different criteria in our selection process, including:

 

Unexpected programming

Does the conference allow for the deepest dives in your psyche or use the latest technology to explore reality?

Potential for personal breakthroughs

Is the conference designed more for personal growth or targeted for business growth?

Calls to action

Are there ways the conference supports further development and growth after the event is over?

These events help you connect, create opportunities and accelerate your personal and professional growth, often in unexpected ways. Also, they are a lot of fun. So, here we go!

 

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1. SXSW

Looking for mind-expanding presentations by industry leaders? The leading growth conference for cultural experience, Austin Texas’ SXSW (South by Southwest) may be for you. SXSW offers over 24 conference tracks to explore with leading members of that industry, including: Intelligent Future Track, Startup Village Track, Style Track, Social Impact Track and Brands and Marketing Track.  

SXSW features a variety of subjects that allow attendees to explore what’s next in the worlds of technology, entertainment and culture. They believe that the “most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.”

Who goes where and when

Offered every March, 2018’s line-up includes: Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins, Psychotherapist and best-selling author Esther Perel, quantum computing expert whurley, and more. Past speakers include U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Joe Biden and Mick Fleetwood, founder and drummer of Fleetwood Mac.Their keynote speeches and other talks are available on the SXSW YouTube Channel.

Unexpected programming

New for 2018 is Cities Summit, a convergence program that explores the future of cities.  Cities Summit includes 2 full days of inspirational talks, hands on learning sessions, and events to spark connection. Open to all SXSW registrants, the Summit is created to bridge the communication gap between city leaders and decision makers. With SXSW communities, digital creatives, entrepreneurs, designers, artists and others work toward “a fresh look at how we shape our cities, and how they shape us.”

Calls to action

You can shape the 2018 SXSW Conference programming by voting on session ideas in PanelPicker during Community Voting from Monday, August 7 – Friday, August 25.

 

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2. Landmark Worldwide

The Landmark Forum is widely thought of as the latest pillar of the “human potential movement.” It offers a practical methodology and space for producing breakthroughs in life—achievements that are often outside of what’s predictable. The growth conference is grounded in a model of transformative learning. This is a way of learning that gives people a realization of the basic psychological and social structures in which they know, think and act. From that awareness comes a root shift that leaves people more fully in accord with their own possibilities and those of others. “Participants find themselves able to think and act beyond existing views and limits—in their personal and professional lives, relationships, and wider communities of interest.”

Who goes where and when

The starting point is a three-day event, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with one Tuesday evening session. The curriculum is in over 2 dozen countries. It is shaped for those who are “interested in living life fully; in making the right choices and pursuing what is important to them.”

It offers seminars, wisdom courses, conferences, coaching and leadership programs. This growth conference is often the spark for a more indepth growth opportunity.

Unexpected programming

If you are looking for a more one-on-one experience, Landmark offers Personal Coaching starting at 10 sessions for $2900.

Potential for personal breakthrough

Breakthroughs are how Landmark makes its name. I’ll let former attendees speak about transformation for themselves:

“I have yet to see anything else that has such a positive impact on people's ability to relate, communicate, and perform as Landmark.” —Paul Fireman, Founder and former CEO, Reebok

“To know that I could be effective at work was one thing, but to know that I could make a difference at the same time was a huge gift.” —Jennifer Kramer, President of Special Olympics Chicago

“Of all the programs we've ever done with our staff, Landmark's has made the most difference—a difference that impacted our bottom line as well as the satisfaction level of our employees.” —Andrew Cherng, Founder and Co-CEO Panda Express

 

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3. ICON

ICON’s audience is for the hungry small-business owner looking for what’s next. Actually, what could be just around the corner. Their formula of “insight plus clarity equals confidence” energizes attendees to see the “right thing to do next.”

Who goes where and when

Created by Infusionsoft, their motto is: “It’s not just education. It’s progress. It’s not just connections. It’s transformation.” ICON awards “Small Business ICON Finalists” and in 2017 the awarded companies were: African Leadership Academy, Kickstagram and Dierks Farms Grass-Fed Beef.

With relatable breakouts taught by business owners, they specialize in bridging the gap of expertise. Sessions this year include Kickstart Lab, Action Plan Lab and Elite Hiring Lab. As technology demands more in the gap connection, this growth conference offers a tangible bridge. ICON 18 is planned for March 26-29 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Potential for personal breakthrough

To take away the complexity of growing your business, ICON teaches a simplified business growth model with partnerships, ideas and solutions. This allows you to focus on the growth of you and your business and not feel like you are reinventing the wheel.

Calls to action

They know accountability is a sure way to keep you on track, so ICON offers a community as your guide to progress and a “plan in hand” for each attendee.

 

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4. Web Summit

Touted as the Davos for geeks, this growth conference is one of the largest tech summits in the world. Only 7 years old, Web Summit started as a simple idea: to connect the technology community with all industries, both old and new. Although they have grown quickly and now feature over 25 conferences annually, their programming remains true to the original idea, while keeping the summit organized and diverse.

Who goes where and when

High profile speakers include musician and social activist Bono, inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk, corporate CEOs of Dell and Pixar, as well as the founding giants of change-making companies such as Netflix, Twitter, Tinder and Vice.

With over 1000 companies and 160 countries exhibiting at Web Summit, the conference offers something for everyone. With the opportunity to connect to a highly influential audience, the quality of the experience in every aspect — speakers, topics, attendees— is why this growth conference landed in the top tier of our list. Besides, Bono and Elon Musk, anyone?

Simply one of the most important events in the tech calendar, according to The Huffington Post.  Web Summit will take place this year in Lisbon, Portugal, November 6-9.

Calls to action

Past attendees rave about the incredible value of “connecting with an audience that really has interest in your business.” Getting exposure, gaining access to funding and making meaningful connections are top reasons Web Summit is one of the most actionable conferences for growing your company.

 

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5. Future of StoryTelling

This growth conference began with the small task of reinventing the way we tell stories. FoST originated as a passionate creative community of people from the worlds of technology,  communications and media out to explore what the digital world’s impact is on the art of storytelling.

Founder Charlie Melcher became curious about how we are evolving and making sense of our world with digital technology. With the tools to create storytelling exploding in the last decades, there is a paradigm shift that everyone can be much more involved and tuned in.  Although the FoST Summit in New York City is invitation only, the FoST Festival is open to all. It is for those who are interested in experiencing firsthand the very latest and most-cutting edge immersive storytelling projects and technologies.

Who goes where and when

From teachers and students to artists, designers and technologists, the Future of StoryTelling format is packed with interactive installations, performances by groundbreaking artists, and conversations with leaders from the storytelling world. FoST Festival is designed to entertain, educate and inspire. You can become a partner, fellow or volunteer, or submit your own project for consideration. The 2017 festival is scheduled for October 6-9 in New York City.

Unexpected programming

Looking at the lineup for this fall, every project is unexpected. Here’s a taste of what’s coming: immersive, mixed reality theater to augmented reality (AR) hardware that enhances our abilities to create and communicate. There are stories that use speech-recognition technology to create audio stories with responsive narratives to an interactive installation in which two strangers “meet each other but also themselves.”  If you go, be sure to see Broken Bone Bathtub, an immersive theater performance that takes place entirely in a bathtub. The audience takes on the role of the actors’ close friends, listening and sharing their experiences, and assisting the cast-clad artist in the actual ritual of taking a bath.

Potential for personal breakthrough

With a motto  “get lost with us” how can it not lead to personal breakthroughs? Experiencing and experimenting in art inspires and widens our world. As Henry David Thoreau wrote: “Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.”

Connect and Create Possibilities

Think these conferences aren’t for you? I had a grumpy neighbor who was talked into going out to the desert. He came back with a complete change of attitude and an infectious smile. True, Burning Man is not a “conference,” but it just goes to show that when you are open to change and connection you never know what can happen. So even if it’s not a change of attitude you are looking for, these growth conferences offer inspiration and energy that will open your mind and heart.