yo wrote:I have to say I really enjoyed the core77 conference!
OK, you're old enough for me to call you old. Did you learn anything?
I go to a lot of medical conferences and I learn a lot because I am not directly in their field. As an outsider, it is a great place to learn something new. I find it worth my time to attend such an event.
But having a couple years under my belt (a nice way of calling me old), I struggle to find a design/innovation conference where I actually learn something new. They are all geared for the fresh meat, which is fine, but I don't get much out of it other than being amused. Sure, the case studies are interesting, but they rarely have a nugget I haven't heard.
I've been to Mayo's Transform twice over the last 7(?) years. I mean it's the friggin Mayo Clinic. They are supposed to be the bleeding edge. And for the healthcare clinicians attending, I bet they learn a lot. Kind of a role reversal to me going to their conferences. But I won't go back to Transform for at least another 5-7 years because only then will I be willing to give them another chance to disappoint me. It is really fundamental design stuff. Sure, they will use the latest buzz words, but that is just marketing spin.
Back to the OP. Sorry for the hijack. I would attend the conferences in the area where you design. I go to conferences for diagnostic equipment, radiology equipment, surgical equipment, wound care and infection control. If you design cars, go to a conference about infrastructure. If you design kitchen equipment, go to a chef's conference. Find out where key opinion leaders talk, show posters and go there.