Event Innovation – where to find innovation

Finding inspiration for innovation when you live in the world of events can be hard. Finding true innovation in anything is extremely hard. For those who deplore the phrase “think outside the box” I sympathise; it is over used but when we look at the source of event innovation we really do need to look outside of the world of events. 

William presented at the Event Innovation Summit in Barcelona in 2013 and decided to look at innovation from a quite different perspective. Here’s his event innovation slide deck:

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

What can we learn from retail outlets, galleries and even budget airlines?

I hope that the presentation demonstrates my key message that: “if we want to be innovative it is best to look outside of the event industry” It’s not to say that our industry isn’t creative but like every industry that creativity and innovative streak is watered down when we become too parochial. So let’s go shopping for ideas! 

My three key themes for event innovation:

1. Personalise the experience 

A few of my examples (with Happy Pills being the best one) demonstrate that if you turn a simple transaction: “I would like some sweeties please” into a personalised experience you create something that has much more of a connection with the customer. It changes from a transaction to a tailored experience. I wonder how can we do that in the world of events? Most of our business events seem to depersonalise everyone. There you are at an event dressed similarly (many events still talk about a “dress code”); wearing a badge (identical, save for a few different details);watching the same speaker deliver a presentation in the same format and style as the last and the next; visiting the exhibitors in their almost identical shaped and sized booth; everyone drinking from the same white cups; and on, and on, and on. 

2. Create an experience from the first moment to the last

An often quoted example is the “experience” of buying your first Apple product. It really is a quite different retail experience. I like to mention the Imaginarium in Barcelona (the one with a door for adults and a tiny door for kids) as a great example of thinking about the experience they want to create for their audience. How can we expect our attendees at B2B events to be inspired when they rock up to a dull, bland and boring hotel meeting room?

Event Tech Screens

3. Engage all the senses

When searching for inspiration for event innovation we have to think about how we connect with our attendees on a much deeper level. In a world where retail outlets have been developing their own smells and sounds for decades we are so slow to follow suit. Why don’t our events have theme tunes? Particular scents? If this sounds very strange to you you need to think and smell outside of the box.

Inspiration for innovation is literally all around it. We have to be brave and not simply pick up innovative ideas from our competitors but we have to search out inspiration in every environment where a visitor is expected to spend a significant amount of time. Connections drive business and our events have to connect on so many more levels than we currently attempt.  

[iphorm id=”8″ name=”Events in 2013 (duplicate)”]