I'm at ETech this week and there's already been a change in plans. Kathy Sierra's tutorial on Creating Addictive Customer Experiences was canceled (reason unknown but were all hoping it was just logistics and not something serious). That's the bad news. The good news is that I'm able instead to sit in on Scott Berkun's tutorial about Innovation (the subject of his forthcoming book - published by O'Reilly of course).
The two big ideas he is pushing in this session are that innovation is usually an unintended consequence of work being done for completely other reasons and that there is no magic formula for producing innovation. That there are, in fact, many environmental conditions and forces over which we have little or no control that can impact whether or not innovation will take place and be recognized.
My favorite part of the presentation is the parallels he's drawing between improvisation and innovation. The best observation: don't be afraid of being embarrassed and don't be half-assed.
From an event perspective, the WiFi is strong, the registration process was fast and trouble-free, and the venue is quite nice. The weather could be better- it's cloudy and cool -but it's not like we'll be outside a lot. More to follow as the day goes on.
UPDATE: I'm really horrified to learn that the reason Kathy canceled her appearance at ETech is due to a series of threats made against her. The frontier nature of the bog space is somehting we all understand but, based on what she relates on her blog, this has gotten way out of control and way, way across the line that divides personal freedom of speech from fundamental respect for your fellow humans. I can only hope that those who made these threats are found and dealt with appropriately. There's no excuse for this - it's indefensible.
UPDATE 2: Scoble weighs in with his personal concerns - well founded as it turns out since he and his wife have been the targets of similar threats from these same criminals. He's taking the week off and has called for a community discussion on this incident and the underlying issues. More via Techmeme.