In the old days of in-person events, the information exchanged in breakout groups was mostly effervescent. During breakout groups, great ideas bubble up, and the group creates understanding and excitement around the best ideas. This understanding and excitement are, in turn, significantly diluted by the note-taking and the dreaded report-out activities. Traditionally breakout group ideas are really only heard by the handful of people having the conversation.
Sadly, that is a lot of useful insight lost forever.
When members have conversations that solve problems, it’s a pity to keep that knowledge locked away in a breakout group. We’ve got to find ways to capture and understand the best ideas and use them for the good of the community.
For example, the data from breakout group conversations can offer an association insight about what members want and need. Or, these conversations might help you source your next speakers and authors and interviewees and give you valuable insight for content like articles, white papers, and research reports. Better yet, these conversations may sometimes unearth many little solutions for a big problem vexing the profession, industry, or field and with a little amplification, can help other members who are struggling too.
Few associations are mining attendee conversations for data because this was impossible to capture during in-person events. But this paradigm has changed. During online events, we can capture all of that amazing, juicy, interesting data and use it to increase the knowledge in the community.