Introduction to "The Big SIG"

Intimate, focused meetings of 15-20 expert practitioners, like the Special Interest Groups (SIGs), are a necessary and enjoyable way of getting granular on research- or business-critical issues. They are fantastic for network building, sourcing of ideas and insights, and finding solutions.

However, it is also important and useful to understand how the progress being made within individual SIG meetings jigsaws together to drive progress overall.

Context is everything

Interlink pockets of discussion and advances, and you challenge and change existing perspectives. Bringing individual SIG groups together, helping people to consider the overriding context, and asking 'what's next?' or 'how will this change how we operate?' is the best way to quickly make significant progress.

That's where The Big SIG comes in. At The Big SIG these discussions happen, and the outcome is documented, leaving participants with a brilliant event experience, and an incredibly valuable intelligence report that they can share with their team.

what is the big SIG?

The Big SIG is a hybrid of a conference and the smaller Special Interest Group format. It is a combination of talks, round-table discussions, tech sessions, interactive panel discussions and plenty of time for networking. It all takes place in one action packed day. 

120-150 senior-level practitioners and research/business leaders participate. The Big SIG is heavily reliant on the calibre and suitability of attendees. Therefore each participant is hand-picked to ensure that they qualify for the discussion, and to ensure that the balance of each round table discussion is optimal.

A single report is generated during and after the event, packed full of intelligence, useful insights, perspectives and solutions. The report covers a summary of the discussion from each round table, and also how each of the round table discussions and output come together as a whole to drive progress i.e. what they mean in context. 

how does the big sig work?

before the event

Business- and research-critical topics are identified and validated, either from SIGs or from further research with our extensive contacts in the genomics/precision medicine field. Each topic will form the basis of discussion around a table at The Big SIG. 12-15 topics will be chosen in total.

One topics have been decided, participants are invited. The make-up of each table is carefully curated, and participants are hand-picked according to their expertise, willingness to engage openly and the value they bring to a fruitful discussion.

Finally, a week or so before the event, participants are contacted to propose ideas and discussion topics that fine tune the round table discussions. 

at the event

The Big SIG is in development at the moment. However, a typical agenda will look similar to this:

8.00          Arrival, networking, coffee

9.00          Keynote sessions 2 x 20 minutes, each with 10 more minutes for questions)

10.00        Networking and coffee

10.30        Round table sessions - Special Interest Group discussions.

12.00        Lunch and networking

1.00          Tech sessions - addressing whether available tech is fit-for-purpose and how

2.00          Round table sessions (continued) - output is finalised

3.00          Round table feedback - output is summarised for all participants

3.30          Expert panel and interactive session - closing discussion and take aways

During round table discussions, notes are taken to capture the discussion and summary points, focusing on insights, ideas and solutions. These form part of the final meeting report. 

Tech sessions being vendor companies and end users to discuss and address how fit-for-purpose existing solutions are, where the shortfalls are, and opportunities for improvement. These form part of the final meeting report.  

During the round table feedback sessions, one person from each round table summarised the discussion and output for all attendees. 

The expert panel and interactive session involves an audience wide discussion of take aways and conclusions for the day. Specifically, the questions of 'what's next?' and 'how will this change what we do now?' will be addressed. 

after the event

All participants are surveyed. The results are added to notes taken from each round table, the tech sessions and the expert panel, to form a final meeting report that is packed full of intelligence, insights, perspectives and solutions. Privacy is protected by adherence to Chatham House rules. The report is shared with all meeting participants, as well as the wider genomics and precision community.