LAST Conference Anywhere

LAST Conference Anywhere

LAST Conference Anywhere

Practitioner-focused, remote-first talks, and facilitated discussion sessions

Highlights of the first ever LAST Anywhere session

Our first LAST Anywhere was with John Cutler. It was a great success, and there are going to be more scheduled.

From in-person to remote-first

Since 2012, we have organised LAST (Lean, Agile and Systems Thinking) Conference, in Melbourne, Australia. It’s a community-driven, non-formal learning event, where professionals get together to hear from and share with their peers, and also to hear from a few notable speakers from further afield. In recent years, it’s expanded to include locally organised editions in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide.

We also run 2 other physical conferences called 1st Conference, and Spark the Change Melbourne. 1st Conference is a more formal variant of the LAST Conference formula, with a few more bells and whistles. Spark the Change is about wider themes around meaning and purpose in workplaces and society, and it’s part of an international series of events, in 6 countries.

The experience we try to create at all of these events is focused on meaningful interactions, and learning by collaboration and connectedness with other participants. This has worked well for us so far, but we started thinking about people who for a variety of reasons, can’t physically be at one of our conferences.

These reasons might include:

  • You might not be close to a place where one of one event is held (e.g be in a regional area, or not in Australia)
  • You may have limits on mobility
  • Not be able to commit a whole day (or two) to being there, physically.
  • We can only fit a certain number of people at our venues, that often doesn’t meet demand. For example, LAST Melbourne always sells out weeks in advance.

Remote-first, with substance

We also started to think about changes in the way people work, communicate and learn, and the convergence of technologies and the changing workplace. Early in 2019 we worked with Lisette Sutherland, an expert in remote collaboration, and it had us thinking about how we could create an experience that helps people to learn, but also to feel connectedness with people, despite their physical location.

We are launching LAST Anywhere; a program of remote-friendly events drawn from our experience and contacts that we have from running LAST Conferences and other events.


We are going to start small, with the first LAST Anywhere later in 2019. This is what we think LAST Anywhere #1 will be like:

  • Using video technology, 30-50 people who are mostly not physically in the same place. We are working with a technology partner whose platform will have innovative remote facilitation and collaboration features.
  • There will be a one-to-many talk by someone drawn from our contacts. For example, at past LAST Conferences, we’ve had experts like Dr Peter Senge (Systems Thinking ), Professor Henry Mitzberg (Management), John Cutler (Product Management), Kriti Sharma (AI), and Norman Bodek (Lean), beam into the event.
  • Virtual Breakout sessions of 5-10 people, facilitated by one of the great facilitators that we have from the LAST Conferences community
  • Everyone will convene again to share learnings from the breakouts

Depending on the session, the above will repeat, or it might end there. Of course, conversations can continue in our Slack community.

It’s evolving

We want to bring what we believe about product development (frequent delivery and fast feedback) to apply to creating LAST Conference Anywhere. We hope to then grow in scale and in frequency as we go on, always evolving the experience to benefit learning and a sense of community. We don’t know all the answers (and sometimes we don’t even know the questions!), but we will be doing our best to create a valuable, next generation, non-formal, professional learning experience.

Be Informed

LAST Anywhere will be coming later in 2019. We’d love for you to be part of it and share your feedback about it with us, so please contact us below and we will keep you informed.

We also want to keep writing about LAST Conference Anywhere on this site. Please expected regular blog/twitter/LinkedIn updates about what we are doing.

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