Learnings from the Lift13 Survey

Sylvie Reinhard, May. 23, 2013

It took us quite a while to study all the survey results - understand, analyze and digest your numerous comments. Many thanks for your feedback, we really appreciate it ! And a big thank you to OWL Re, the independent company who has been running the Lift satisfaction survey of the participants for the last six years.

Here comes a “short” recap of the Lift13 Survey results, to share back your great inputs. Besides the survey results we also tried to consider as much as possible the feedback on the Lift13 experience provided through many postings on blogs, twitter and Facebook.

First of all, we are very happy that Lift continues to be an inspiring and meaningful experience for the vast, vast majority of you, where you get new ideas and meet new people, and often also develop new professional projects.

Another thing, that we care very much about, is that Lift seems to be able to maintain a healthy balance between attracting new Lift participants, all the while keeping a core of long-time Lifters, that have accompanied the Lift adventure for the past years and still are our most important supporters. For Lift13 the percentage of "repeating" Lifters has been again over 60%.


Key Insights at Lift13

Tag cloud of responses to question: “What was the most inspiring and innovative insight you had at Lift13?”

Although we would love to indulge a bit more in the positive feedbacks, to soothen our stressed conference organizers hearts ;) let’s move forward now and discuss the top improvement requests that you proposed:

Interactive and timely Workshops

Let’s start with the one area that has crystallised a great number of improvement requests: the workshops. Being a key element of the Lift program, the workshops are proposed and run by participants and offer a great opportunity to connect with fellow Lifters and have more in-depth discussions of topics related to the program.

Based on Lift12 survey results we decided to create the "Build-a-workshop-toolkit" with our friends at Stimmt, to make the workshops more interactive and worth your time. We were happy to read that many of you have noticed and appreciated the improved, interactive experience. But still you mentioned the following improvement potentials :

  • "Improve the workshop registration process": yes, we totally agree and for Lift14 you will be able to register online in due time before the conference. But we still will keep a few seats to be allocated at the event. Finding a way to make sure people actually go to the workshops they registered for instead of the one that feels good the day of the event remains a challenge of course :)

  • Workshop outcomes should be more included into the Lift program. Perhaps info screen with results (images, videos...), or special hashtag/tumblr for workshops which are shown in the lounge... perhaps a pool where all results could be posted to?!”.  Great idea and we will work on this for our upcoming event. Also we have started sharing the workshop results we got from the moderators on our Facebook and Twitter. Do you have a workshop recap you would like to share? Ping us :)

  • "How long does a workshop lasts?" The program needs to inform not only about the starting- but also the ending point, good point well made - although of course good things sometimes just last as long as they have to.

  • "Time management issue regarding workshops" +"More efforts to insure participation and interaction": We will ensure to address both time management and interaction even more in the briefing calls with the workshop moderators. We will continue to develop our toolkit in this sense and support workshop leaders implementing it.

  • "Possible not to have sessions and workshops at the same time?" That’s a tough one, that has already been discussed intensively in the past years: the reason we do run workshops in parallel to sessions is 1) to give an alternative program for those who might not be interested in the session topic 2) to feature a majority of the workshop topics, as we only have 2,5 days for the conference and receive many great workshop proposals.


Contradictory Speakers and Program Preferences

Concerning speakers, some of you perceived certain Lift13 speakers as too «commercial» and self-promotional and asked us to work on this issue. We are already really tough in the speakers coaching regarding self-promotion, but we will put even more emphasis on an idea-sharing-oriented, non commercial delivery of their speech.  There were also several requests for more geographical diversity, with speakers from Asia and Africa, that we will try to accommodate.

Regarding the program topics and sessions the survey outcomes have been contradictory for the past eight editions of Lift : there are always 50% who wish for less business-oriented, more «inspirational» speeches and the other 50% who crave more hands-on and actionable content, business-to-business you could say. As in every survey we have participants rating the same speaker as the best, that others rated as the most disappointing.

This contradiction perfectly illustrates the challenge (and asset!) of the diverse Lift audience, with different interests and complementary tastes. As we surely all agree that this diversity among participants and speakers actually is a key factor for Lift being an interesting, dynamic and fertile ground for innovation and discussions, we cannot solve this issue on the main stage.

What we can and are doing, however, is offering workshops during sessions that risk to be too much «special-interest». And independently from the different thematic preferences our editorial team will continue in putting all their energy in bringing you some of the world’s most inspirational speakers - and speakers that you’ll have seen here first, before they make the world news as happened again this year. So stay tuned for the first Lift14 speakers announcements!

Connecting with participants

Another comment that was insightful (Anna’s complete blogpost on her Lift13 experience is worth a read) :  “The name badges seem to have been standardized, whereas previously discovering your badge was part of the surprise, deciphering its meaning a playful challenge…”  Let’s put it like this: we plan to keep on surprising you :)

Another issue, which several of you shared in the survey, is the participants list being integrated too late on the new website. And of course the buddy system from the old website missing. We all have felt something was missing and that’s why we are already full speed working on this issue and exploring the best option for Lift14. We totally acknowledge the importance of some form of a participant list, enhanced with options for social connections, to be available ahead of the conference for those of you who take the time to prepare. Expect this to be available for Lift14. On the other hand there’s no need to build another LinkedIn or Facebook, and nobody longs for having to maintain yet another online profile.

Then we were happy to read that our different initiatives connecting participants in a playful way, like the speed dating session in collaboration with W.I.R.E. and the Röstigraben Express have resonated positively with many of you.

We are already cooking up new matchmaking initiatives, for those of you who wish for a more curated approach of meeting amazing new people. All the while we take care of keeping these initiatives opt-in, leaving these participants alone that continue to cherish a more serendipitous approach of meeting new people and old friends.

Let's meet: Apéro June 17th in Geneva

Again, thank you all very much for your positive encouragements, feedbacks and improvement ideas, that allow us to keep the Lift adventure evolving. And bravo for reading all the way through this recap! For those of you based around Geneva or happening to be in town mid-June: Let’s continue the discussion on June 17th at the Lift office, where we will be hosting a “Brainstorming Apéro”. It would be a pleasure to see you there! We will limit the number of people to 40 people to allow for decent interactivity, therefore rsvp quickly by sending us an e-mail to info@liftconference.com to save your seat. A bientôt!