LAST is about community, connection and sharing learning.
In 2012 we held the first LAST Conference (Lean, Agile and Systems Thinking) , in Melbourne, Australia. Over time, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide joined in as well.
In 2014, we started an event series called Spark the Change that explores meaning and purpose in workplaces and society. We feel that this has an overlap with LAST in that the Systems Thinking element encourages us to zoom out and understand the wider contexts in which we operate.
In 2015, we started 1st Conference in Melbourne, and adding Adelaide in 2018. This event concentrated on the foundations of "business agility".
The experience at all of the events is focused on meaningful interactions, and learning by collaboration and connectedness with other participants. This worked well for us, but we started thinking about people who for a variety of reasons, can’t physically be at one of our conferences.
LAST Anywhere was born. It started with a collaboration with Product Management expert, John Cutler. He ran a very well-received online workshop with us, mid-2019.
We were set to expand on this in 2020, so with the onset of the COVID-19 situation, in March 2020, we rapidly expanded the LAST Anywhere programme. Between March and June 2020, we held around 25 non-paywalled talks, and around 10 longer format workshops, with the aim of providing a place to keep learning and developing professional knowledge and skills while not being able to physically meet.
Presenters have been in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland, USA, and Canada. Hundreds of attendees have joined from North and South America, Asia, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand.
LAST Club takes a new approach to the future of LAST. We are trying to explore new opportunities, as well as helping people to maintain connections and make new ones. Co-Founder, Ed Wong explains it more fully in this blog post.
The Club takes elements from the Conferences, and LAST Anywhere to provide a valuable service to LAST community in 2020 and into 2021, both online and also in hybrid and in-person settings, once the health situation improves.
LAST Conferences were founded in Melbourne by members of the agile meetup community. A group of them formed Tabar (a word that is a type of tribal unit) and today Tabar is the main organiser of LAST Conference Melbourne, 1st Conferences in Adelaide and Melbourne and Spark the Change Melbourne. They support local organisers in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra with their versions of LAST Conference.
Tabar has worked with people such as Jurgen Appelo, Alistair Cockburn, Lisette Sutherland, Bas Vodde, Joanne Molesky and more, to support their training courses in Australia and have them speak. Other high profile names to be involved are Dr Peter Senge, Norman Bodek, Kriti Sharma, and Professor Henry Mintzberg.
They have actively supported local meetup groups and the Flying Robot School charity.
You can find out more on the Tabar website.
For more information on the origins of LAST Conference, hear from Craig Brown who told this story in 2018.