Mega-display policy prioritizer, built in FileMaker, for Wall Street Journal conferences

When the Wall Street Journal hosts a conference bringing top CEOs together with Washington insiders to develop policy proposals for the White House, the presentation software for the meeting has to be flexible, powerful, and capable of pixel-by-pixel control.

That's why conference-planners from FutureView teamed up last fall with Inner File Software, a leading FileMaker development firm in Washington, DC, to build an integrated audience-response and mega-display system facilitating discussion and prioritization of ideas for the incoming Obama administration. Conferees (end users) included  the CEOs from Google, Best Buy, Time Warner, Goldman Sachs, UPS, IBM, the Mayo Clinic, and dozens of other leading firms, organized into working groups along with numerous senators, former cabinet secretaries, and other political leaders.

In the working group sessions, an array of policy options was put forth, using FileMaker software, and displayed on 60-inch HD plasma monitors. At the concluding plenary session, the FileMaker display filled a 10-by 30-foot screen and served as the background for the media component of the meeting. All conferees were issued handheld controls, with which they voted on, prioritized, and otherwise interacted with the FileMaker display, which changed to reflect their input.

FutureView and Inner File considered and ultimately rejected many other technologies.

FileMaker won out, despite the fact that it is not traditionally classed as presentation software, because of its versatility and its amenability to control over every detail. Efficiency was also a major factor; Inner File developers were able to deliver a smoothly working FileMaker database-presentation package in less time and at considerably less expense than with all other technologies considered.

The final product of the meeting was a set of prioritized policy proposals delivered to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for consideration at the highest levels of the new administration. That report, too, was FileMaker-generated.

Since that first event, the software has been used in several conferences in Washington, DC, New York, and London.