The following post comes from Kate Boeckman, product manager of Wearable and Emerging Product Technologies at Thomson Reuters.

Earlier this month, more than 600 Thomson Reuters technologists came together in Eagan, Minn., for the third annual Technology “Unconference.” An unconference differs from a normal conference in that the attendees are in charge of bringing the content and agenda.

Events like this are especially meaningful to me. As an attorney, I spent several years working on our legal products. My real passion, though, has always been technology. Opportunities, like the Unconference, allowed me to share my tech skills and ideas with others and have played a significant role in enabling me to shift the focus of my career into my current role as Product Manager of Wearable and Emerging Product Technologies.

The Unconference not only fosters innovation, but it also encourages knowledge-sharing, a chance to meet new people, gain a deeper or broader understanding of emerging technology and trends, and provide an opportunity for serendipity to occur.

Bob Schukai, Head of Advanced Product Innovation at Thomson Reuters, kicked off the event with an inspiring keynote wherein he discussed several technologies that he finds particularly interesting and important for people to explore. Following the keynote, attendees could select from more than 60 sessions, with topics ranging from “Forget Bitcoin – What is the Blockchain and Why It Matters” and “Wearable and Emerging Tech” to “Why Women Leave Tech – and What You Can Do About It” and “The Incoming Storm: Cyber Security & Quantum Computers.”

In between sessions, attendees had several options. The Women & Technology Eagan Chapter hosted a networking session with technology executives and puzzles to challenge participants. A wearable and emerging technology room showcased the latest devices, as well as Thomson Reuters proof-of-concept technology. A law enforcement room showed off technology that police use to perform high-risk operations, while local middle and high school students sponsored by Thomson Reuters demonstrated their competition robots and mobile apps.

Contests, including a marshmallow challenge, a beacon scavenger hunt, an oldest electronic gadget contest, a crypto challenge, and more were held throughout the day to keep attendees engaged and smiling.

At the close of the day, everyone was treated to a surprise performance by employee rock band, Kinesis, which was a great way to close out a day that was buzzing with energy and enthusiasm.

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