Fast Company produced an great article with six lessons on how to fix conferences. I clicked through to this because my new job involves planning conferences - although not for designers. Regardless, it gave me a few ideas. Maybe it will help you too.
Here's a quick run-down of the 6 lessons:
1. Social media is the enemy of time-based productivity
2. All problems are systems challenges
3. Big thinking loves tight parameters
4. Ask for what you want
5. Meeting in-person is powerful
6. Action is harder than rhetoric
Read the full article here and learn more about how these tips can create a more collaborative environment.