Dan Saffer offers some thoughts on how to program a conference. Some good ideas. I liked what he said about themes:
Unless your conference is extremely targeted and you are planning to work with the speakers to shape their talks don’t pick an arbitrary theme for your conference e.g. “Connecting Us Together” or “Exploring New Worlds.” Not only are these sorts of mushy themes useless and ripe for parody, but they almost never work.
Though as an open space fan, I’m tempted to offer a slightly shorter proposal on how to program a conference: don’t.