Content Games, Business Assets, and Automation at LavaCon Dublin 2017

team playing cricket on field with big stadium

The theme for this year’s conference was “Spanning Silos, Building Bridges,” which called speakers and presentations on the topics of collaboration, project management and customer journeys.

The conference was conveniently located in Croke Park Conference Center, at the famous Dublin stadium. The stadium can hold over 80,000 fans and hosts the most important Gaelic games, such as hurling and Gaelic football. The light and settings were excellent and the conference team as amiable and competent as ever.

The conference
lasted three days and spanned over four tracks: Spanning Silos, Building Bridges, Content Strategy and User Experience, Case Studies and Tribal Knowledge, and Thought Leadership. A live streaming track provided a good overview to those who registered for free to the virtual conference.

Games at the Fore: Jeopardy Booth and Snakes and Ladders Workshop

The games, however, did not stay in the field this year as Dawn and Brianna Stevens from Comtech Services designed a “Jeopardy” booth to test your expertise on DITA and trivia. Attendees and vendors tried to collect them all! The questions were drawn from the DITA specifications, spanning metadata, reuse, maps, and attributes with a touch of the history of the standard.

Jeopardy Comtech LavaCon Dublin2017

With over 30 participants, the Snakes and Ladders workshop (presented by yours truly) was a success. By introducing games, asking people to team up and present the result of their discussions and plans, the workshop provided an excellent ice-breaker for attendees. This year’s project challenge was focused on subject matter expert collaboration.

Workshop Attendees LavaCon Dublin 2017

“The Snakes and Ladders Workshop was one of the most interactive and beneficial sessions!” according to a LavaCon attendee.

Technical Content IS a Business Asset – and Should Be Treated Accordingly

Overall, technical content was promoted as very beneficial. Andrea Ames, keynote presenter, introduced herself not as a Senior Content Designer at IBM, but rather as a person “who solves business issues.” She advised the audience to present technical content as a pre-sales activity. Her most (re)tweeted slides read: “Using technical content is the 2nd most important pre-sales activity for technology buyers.”
Irina Pashina from SAP made the case that content should be treated as a business asset by defining its a) purpose, b) audience, and c) impact.
Bruno Fraissinède from FluidTopics went further by explaining that the organization’s technical content could—or really, should—become a strategic asset.

In the meantime, Marie Girard and Peter Gilliver, both from IBM, presented how to map your customers’ experience with content…

With all these repeats, there could be left no doubt in the minds of the attendees that technical content is indeed an asset for any organization!

Curation Versus Content Overload and New Skills to Pick up

Stephen Walsh’s keynote presentations stressed that to overcome the tsunami of content published every day, the need for filters, taxonomy, and relevant content curation were of utmost importance. Quality, curated and relevant content requires human minds. And skills. Co-founder of the Anders Pink agency based in Ireland, Stephen demonstrated how it is possible to mashup and create curated content based on the LavaCon community.

Community Stephen Walsh LavaCon Dublin 2017

Handle DITA Content in Your CMS as Merchandise on the Conveyor Belts

Megan Gilhooly, a Senior Content Manager at Amazon, presented three aspects of content craft and delivery that content professionals need to rethink. Her keynote underlined that the time spent to transition content between phases in the development life-cycle was a huge waste of time. She estimates that up to six weeks could be wasted on a three-month cycle. She mentioned that the component content management systems (CCMS) can act as huge conveyor belts to simplify and specialize contributors’ work during the content creation and curation processes.

Design Thinking – a Practical Workshop to Bind Us All

The final workshop on the afternoon of the last day included practical design thinking exercises. Each group worked on conference personas, tackling one issue, and creating solutions and designing a journey for a selected solution. The workshop was very well attended and effective for collaboration and creative thinking. A big thank you to the team at IBM for accompanying us and showing us how this can be easily achieved!

LavaCon 2017 was an excellent conference. Jack Molisani and his crew did an excellent job, covering both thought-provoking presentations and fun social activities in the lively city of Dublin.

Thank you all for reading this and see you next year in Ireland!

Missed out on Dublin?

Experience LavaCon in Portland, Oregon and meet the IXIASOFT team 6-8 November.

Hurling Image source:


Nolwenn Kerzreho
Technical Account Manager at IXIASOFT

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