The SMS 40th Annual Conference was held virtually on October 19-30, 2020 after the SMS Board of Directors voted to hold the conference online instead of through a traditional in-person meeting in London due to health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. The conference had a record 1,450 conference attendees across two weeks of programming, with Interest Group & Community sessions and workshops held October 19-25, and Competitive Program and Plenary sessions held October 26-30.
The unexpectedly apt theme “Strategy in a Disruptive World,” developed by Program Chairs Julian Birkinshaw and Costas Markides, received a record 1,752 proposal submissions. The conference Competitive Program featured 160 Paper and 15 Panel sessions. Additionally, the Interest Groups and Communities hosted 12 Workshops and 23 topical IG&C Sessions. The six Plenary sessions featured speakers from academic, business, and consulting backgrounds, including the Founder and CEO of Babylon Health, Microsoft’s Commercial CMO, and discussants on how disruption might be exploited to address social problems. Six Conference Extensions and a "Family Fridays" Extension series were also held in conjunction with the conference. Click here to learn more about the conference program.
The program also included several networking opportunities. These included daily Plenary Speaker Chats, a Women’s Networking Social, topical discussions hosted by the Chairs of each Theme Track, chats with the SMS Journal editors, IG&C Socials, and a discussion hosted by the SMS Media Innovations team on Generating Impact in the Digital Sphere. A meet-and-greet for new members and first-time attendees hosted by the SMS Ombudsperson was also held in conjunction with the conference.
In addition to live conference sessions, the conference platform featured dedicated Awards & Honors pages, where the nominees for the Best Conference Paper Prize, Best Conference PhD Paper Prize, and the Research Methods Paper Prize were highlighted, as were the SMS Awards and the journals’ Paper Prize winners. These pages included video abstracts for the nominated Paper Prize papers or recorded acceptance speeches for the SMS Awards. Winners of the conference Paper Prizes were announced live during the SMS Annual Business Meeting that took place on October 27. Click here for details on the 2020 Award Recipients. The SRF Dissertation Scholars likewise had dedicated virtual "booths" where visitors could watch video presentations recorded by the SRF Scholars.