As you will know a key theme that runs through most of our posts is about event innovation. In this blog, I’ve decided to look at innovation in an area where you might not expect to find it: the world of association events.

Now, not all associations need to change the way they organise events but some certainly do. The Association sector as a whole is seeing a reduction in attendance and revenue from their events so things have to change. The news that one of Europe’s largest Professional Conference Organisers (PCOs) Congrex have gone belly up does nothing to instill faith in the association events sector. So I believe it is time to be innovative.

I say “innovate” you may say “change”

Most people don’t like change and we will probably all agree that most associations like change less than other types of organisations. But in a world as fast moving as the world of live communications, we have to continually change. There is so much competition that standing still and doing what we’ve always done is the biggest possible risk.

Most commercial event businesses are envious of associations. They see a dedicated and faithful customer base that they would die for. They see members who want their association events to work. In fact, I would say that these commercial businesses pray every night to inherit the “sand pit” environment – where innovation is supported – that associations own.

Association Events – members crave innovation!

I believe that most associations have a demand for event innovation and they would support innovation if there was evidence that innovative events work. I addressed in a blog about the importance of building the evidence base for creative events and in this post I want to highlight exactly how supportive association members are likely to be when you create innovative events.

We ran an exceptionally innovative event for a UK based medical association. Following the event for the British Dietetic Association 120 attendees (almost half of the delegates) filled in the event questionnaire. The slideshare below will give you a flavour of the event as well as some evidence that innovation within events can have a positive impact on many areas within the association.

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If you aren’t in the change business, you aren’t in business

Associations must be accountable and must deliver as much value to members as possible. They have to deliver those services as well and as efficiently as private enterprises so they must be fleet of foot. One way to do that is to innovate and creative. It is easier than you think and more important than you know: If you aren’t in the change business, you aren’t in business.

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