Notes from J. Boye Conference, Aarhus 2014

J. Boye Aarhus 2014 conference brought together nearly 300 delegates from 15 countries. World-class speakers such as Bebo White, Rose Cameron, Eric Karjaluoto, James Cannings, Martin White, Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer, Jake DiMare and Tracy Green, to name just a few, made learning easy and enjoyable. Fantastic social events created natural opportunities to connect with speakers and participants alike. Two light-hearted sessions – Web Idol and Town Hall Debate – filled the conference rooms with laughter and served as a welcome break from presentations and workshops.

With 12 tracks to choose from there was a lot to take in. Here are just some of the insights from this year’s conference.

The pitfalls and challenges of agile approach

James Cannings from MMT Digital gave an excellent overview of what agile is and isn’t. For example, building a car in an agile way should not leave you with something dysfunctional half-way through the project. It should be a product that you can take to market – like a bicycle or a motorbike, says James. He also discussed pricing models (fixed fee vs on times-and-materials basis) and contractual challenges of articulating agile approach in legal terms.


Content Strategy is not optional

Content production and content strategy continues to be both important and challenging. In today’s age of information overload simply creating good content is not enough. Content must COPE with different devices and publishing environments. It must be adaptable, flexible, reusable, and mobile-friendly. And on top of all that – relevant and timely. Although understanding the technical aspects of content production is important, treating content like data is a losing proposition, says content strategist Rahel Anne Bailie.

Treating Content Like Data is a Losing Proposition

Everyone’s a designer

Web Design continues to be a heated and emotional part of many digital projects. Eric Karjaluoto takes some pain out of the process by establishing clear methodology for design projects. Unlike art, design is about discipline and producing sensible, functional, and appropriate work. Good designers are like editors. They amplify the good things and take out the bad.

Eric argues that considering three different concepts at the outset of a design project is like attempting to go to three different destinations at the same time. This is one sure way to derail the project and invite scope creep. Read more about what effective and clear design process is like in Eric’s book The Design Method.


Digital is more about people than technology

There’s no getting away from the fact that technology plays a big part in success, or failure, of a digital project. But there’s a far more complex and important factor at play — people. It’s the team, first and foremost, that determines the fate of a digital project. This message was reiterated throughout J. Boye conference by a number of speakers.


Customer Experience Imperative

For the first time at J. Boye, customer experience management as a theme ran across all three days of the conference, with workshops, presentations, and roundtable discussions on the subject.

Understanding customer experience is more important than ever. It’s what differentiates successful companies that adapt and grow (like Netflix) from those that ignore the current trends and vanish (like Borders). According to Scott Liewehr, customer experience is a strategic inflection point. Failure to provide superior customer experiences leads to irrelevance and business decline.


These are only a few takeaways from this year’s J. Boye Conference. This was my fourth year at J. Boye and once again, the event offered a great environment for learning and knowledge sharing. It was a time to reflect, and a time to look into the future. Events like J. Boye inspire, motivate and help bridge the gap between thinking and doing.

This blogpost was first published on Digital Clarity Group website in 2014.