Event Innovation – Don’t Play Jenga With Your Event Portfolio
It’s knowing what not to do as well as what to do
As a Conference Architect – one who uses and preaches the value of ‘meeting design’ – you may find the crux of this Blog post rather surprising, but here goes: events which don’t embrace the latest thinking around meeting design, engage 365 and audience curation are not all bad. In fact far from it: sometimes events which solely broadcast information and have little delegate involvement deliver what everyone wants, needs and expects. There is always room for some innovation of course but the crucial point is that sometimes what is good enough is well, good enough!
The danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water
As we all know events add more value when they extend the networking and learning beyond the physical event. More ‘value’ is added by embracing the myriad of wonderful advances we’ve made in meeting design, all of which help participants learn and take away valuable content. Now, not for one second, would I want to slow down that valuable progress and that innovation, but with this drastic change from the past, therein lies the danger for our industry.
Some of the events we are running don’t need to change a fact that should be embraced by our industry and welcomed as good work we’ve done. It should also be viewed as a solid foundation for the events which do need to change – the ones that do need a bit of innovation.
Unless we realise and recognise the good work that’s gone before us we are in danger of swelling event departments and bloating our events with things that just don’t deliver the value we perceive: if we do not recognise this we will not be delivering value to those we work for or our clients.
The event industry is at a crucial point in its development
Most of my previous posts and speeches mirror the Blogs and Tweets from the leading #eventprofs and focus on the need for events to add more value to our attendees working and personal life. This journey is critical for the development of our industry and for the success of a large part of the world of events. But ‘value’ is a personal perspective and unquestionably we all have delegates who perceive ‘value’ differently from what we would hope and we have to realise and address this. So what do we do about that? How can we better match what some delegates expect with what we can deliver?
Well, to start to answer those questions, we need to be clear that not all events as they stand are bad. We need to understand that there is sometimes a lot of benefit from simply getting the right speakers on a platform, all with 30min slots, and asking them to broadcast the right content. I know that a lot of readers will be up in arms at this, but it’s true. And this is what I think a true Conference Architect or Meeting Planner should realise: if it works, and it adds value as it is don’t go changing it, but look to add value at other events.
The idea that seems to fill a lot of communication from the industry is that ALL conferences / seminars need to change: but that is just not true. For some events we don’t need organisers to spend more time on the event and more people don’t have to be engaged for a longer period of time. We have to move away from the belief that if events don’t do this they are a failure: talk about shooting ourselves in the foot!
We have to select the events which need this type of value added: it is like events Jenga: choose the wrong event to mess with and the whole stack could come tumbling down.