In response to Austin Govella’s request for a brief summary/rationale of the decision by the IAI to decommission IDEA and instead create World IA Day, I offer the following.
Reason 1: Consolidate Identity. For years, the IA Institute’s identity and name have been misunderstood to be synonymous with those of the IA Summit. And in the past, the Institute would explain that no, the IA Summit is an ASIS&T thing, and that the Institute’s conference is a different event called IDEA. And that unlike the IA Summit, the Institute’s conference event did not have a specific emphasis on information architecture.
The Board’s belief has been that making the Institute’s identity crisp requires making the thing around conferences clearer. To those ends, we’ve decommissioned IDEA, formalized sponsorship of and participation in the IA Summit with ASIS&T (the conference this year for the first time is “brought to you by ASIS&T and the IAI”), and created World IA Day 2012.
Reason 2: Increase Participation. I think Abby said it well on Twitter today:
1 conference for 300 folks or a global grassroots celebration of IA? Easy choice.
It still amazes me that the executive producer of the most profitable IDEA conference in IAI history (IDEA 2010 in Philadelphia) was able to get beyond the confirmation bias of that success and peel this banana from the other end. But she did, and in the rear-view mirror it’s difficult to imagine a more effective way to put flesh and bones on the IAI’s desire to increase global participation in conversation, teaching and thought leadership around information architecture other than inventing WIAD.
I and my colleagues on the Board are deeply grateful to Abby and also to Jessica DuVerneay, Joe Elmendorf, Brad Simpson, Noreen Whysel, Jeff Parks Deborah Fellinger and the entire WIAD 2012 volunteer team for their imagination and hard work in pulling off the first of what’s intended to be an annual global grassroots celebration of IA.