This is not an advertisement for a conference; it is serious analysis and critique of a new product development and innovation conference from a learning perspective to determine if one could ‘learn new product development and innovation in a conference setting. The author attended the product innovation management annual conference in Orlando in October 2012 [1, 2] and audited the academic forum, workshop series, and general conference sessions with special attention paid to the format and content. Participant's ratings of "value" and "the amount they learned" were captured from "beginners" and "experts". The results show that individuals who prefer learning through auditory and reading/writing reported, "absorbing" the most; while kinesthetic learners and those who required all inputs (auditory, visual, written/reading, and kinesthetic) wanted a greater variety of formats namely more exercises, demonstrations, case examples, and videos examples. The author tentatively concluded that "yes" one can learn NPD and innovation practices effectively at a conference setting where content and quality of materials and speakers are high. Importantly, the content quality appears to be highly dependent on the conference organizer's depth of knowledge in the topic areas. Suggested improvements to future conferences to help individuals learn more would include providing handouts and summaries after each session for the read/write learners, to increase the number of charts, graphs, diagrams, and videos for visual learners, and to increase the Q&A time allotments and included moderated discussions sessions for auditory/ learners.
International Journal of Innovation Science – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 2012
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