Laurent Demontiers - The interactive meetups

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Hello Laurent, could you introduce yourself, present the theme of your conference and tell us who this conference is for?

Hello Gilles, my name is Laurent Demontiers, I have been designing products and digital services since 1997. Since 2012 I have organized a local event in the city of CAEN, Normandy (France): “Les Rencontres Interactives” (The interactive meetups).

The first goal of these events is to pool local energies and resources of local professionals in web and mobile design. It's also a good way to meet, to create synergies and share our knowledge around good design practices.

Tell us about how The “Rencontres Interactives” has established itself over the years as a not-to-be-missed event in Normandy?

The original idea was to recreate locally a series of general conferences based on the model of Paris Web (one of the most important conferences around web design in France). The “Rencontres Interactives” takes place in Caen each quarter. We meet around various themes such as design, backend development, FrontEnd development, ergonomics, web marketing, SEO, e-commerce ...

Since 2012 there have been 16 editions of the “Rencontres Interactives”, 41 conferences and 37 speakers who came from all over Normandy to share their knowledge.

What does the Rencontres Interactives bring to local professionals?

The idea of these events is also to promote and transmit good design practices, to encourage the emergence of local digital projects, and of course to promote synergies and exchanges of skills between participants.

Are you talking about synergy between the participants? What do you mean?

All modesty aside, since 2012 the “Rencontres Interactives” meetings have allowed local providers to train, to progress, to realize that it was possible and helpful to work with higher quality standards than they do while they are dealing with the minor budgets.

In my opinion, the synergies are very concrete. On a personal level, these meetings allowed me to forge strong relationships, sometimes even friendships. Practically all the missions that I have completed in the region last year are due to those meetings network.

What motivated you to create the first edition of this event?

I created The Interactive Meetings because there was no local event for web and mobile designers in Normandy. We did not pretend to create an original event, but just to lay a foundation stone to federate local web workers.

The event was a real success from the first edition on. 110 people were present that day. I really felt that we were responding to a clear need.

Today we claim more than ever our local base to develop and federate more and more people. In the medium term, we have the ambition to grow the event to promote the local know-how at the national level.

Can you tell me about your strategy for developing the event?

I organized the interactive meetings alone for a long time. It is too difficult to be on all fronts and manage both speaker research, logistics organization and marketing aspects.

Today the Rencontres Interactives are undertaken by the association “Drakkar Numérique”. It will allow us to develop the event more widely. We have lots of ideas and we will soon launch our first joint actions.

What are the 2 or 3 main problems you have encountered in organizing your conference?

The main problem is that we lack members in the organization. Our second problem has long been to "recruit" new speakers.

Many local professionals are very competent but few dare to perform in public. It's too demanding for many, too intimidating for others.

In France we do not have the culture of representation and this same culture encourages discretion, not to put forward. It does not make it easy to recruit speakers.

Many local professionals are very competent but few dare to perform in public. It's too engaging for many, too intimidating for others.

How did you solve these problems?

We created an association and this framework attracts and federates many more people. We can even pay people who invest in our projects.

For the speakers, I think that the most effective method is to work on the trust we have in them and the quality of our relationships with them. Speakers here are pampered by the organization and the audience is always benevolent.

What are the current projects?

The merger between the Rencontres Interactives and the Drakkar Numérique association will multiply our organizational capacities. The event will reach a wider audience. With the arrival of funding through new sponsors and patrons, we will be able to offer increasingly rich and numerous content. The goal is to quickly offer content from the highest spheres of research, and popularize them to make them accessible to professionals in agencies. We are inventing a new form of knowledge transmission. The challenge of educational innovation is both very ambitious and very exciting.

Thanks Laurent for your participation in this interview.

Follow Laurent on Internet:

And don’t forget to take a look at his amazing event: Les Rencontres interactives

If you are a conference organizer yourself and would like to be interviewed, please do not hesitate to contact me.


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