I am very lucky in that being a consultant allows me to meet great event organisers and spend time in great organisations. Last year I spent an exceptionally engaging day with the European Wind Energy Association in Brussels talking about the future of events and event creativity. So one of the first organisations I asked about my belief that conferences could be less boring was this cutting edge association and profitable events business. And I wasn’t disappointed with the conversation.

With much of the world still being in a recession a lot of businesses are seeing a downturn or slow down in revenues and EWEA asked:

Q: If running an innovative event would reverse those trends for many organisations?

Q: They also asked what I thought about the perceived “cost” of creativity? Does event creativity cost?

Now as any good marketer will tell you it’s great to have some challenging questions when designing a product and these two are certainly very pertinent for someone designing a conference called whostolemyaudience which focuses on creativity and innovation. So exactly how do we answer them?

Innovation is only part of the answer to gaining back your audience

Let’s start by saying: running a creative conference on a topic that no one is interested in will not work. There has to be interest in the topic and market conditions have to favour the content for any event to work. However being creative and innovative is a tried and tested way to differentiate any business and in times of a downturn standing out from the crowd makes great business sense. Maybe just adding creativity to an event won’t completely turn round an event but if done properly it would at least have a positive impact.

Does event creativity cost?

In mentioning the cost of creativity the EWEA were not alone. After my session at IMEX in Frankfurt a few attendees asked me about the “price tag” that is attached to innovation and it is something that no doubt many readers will be asking too. Many organisers have said to me that they “don’t have the budget to be creative”. But many event creatives have demonstrated that they don’t need any kind of budget to be really creative and in fact having a budget makes them less creative!

Creativity is only part of the solution but it is an important one

I strongly believe the barrier to creativity is neither money or the thought that it really won’t turn round an event. I think the barrier is the lack of inspiration that organisers see and experience.

I believe association congresses, corporate meetings, conferences run by commercial conference providers and publishers can be much more creative and innovative. This is the belief I have in our industry and I hope I am not alone. We are a creative bunch we just have to realise it and release it.

Published On: December 20th, 2013 / Categories: Associations, Innovation, Meeting Design / Tags: , , , , /