Do you recognize that feeling of excitement when your head spills of new ideas, opportunities and possibilities? The feeling that have not quite stepped out of 'the bubble', while sitting back at your regular workplace?
I'm currently still "in the bubble" of the 50th Congress of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). The conference took place at the modern Congress Center of Leipzig, with a remarkably light and open architecture. This undoubtedly contributed to the great atmosphere. Besides of course the presence of over 1,000 fellow professionals from over 70 different countries.
In this article I share with you the 5 trends that were my main take-aways. All 5 subjects who got a lot of attention at the congress. And that I believe we all need to start to work with on them.
In these times of economic turbulence we can no longer deny: how do you ensure that (visiting) a convention or meeting provides the maximum added value? At the ICCA conference a lot of attention was paid to Meetings Mindset and the ROI Methodology. Click on the links for a short video.
With Meetings Mindset, Jonathan Bradshaw from the UK is on a mission to make sure that visitors maximize the results of their participation in a conference or meeting. He offers an “online performance center" where you can prepare yourself beforehand and assess yourself afterwards. In addition, Jonathan offers energetic on stage performances. Here in Leipzig he was responsible for the kick off for first time attendees. With great success in my opinion!
The ROI Methodology was represented by Dr. Hamso Elling, managing partner of the Event ROI Institute in Norway. The Event ROI model allows you to place a conference or meeting in a broader context. It starts with setting goals on different levels of abstraction. By keeping an eye on these goals when designing your conference, and afterwards to specifically evaluate on all of them, you will be able to better determine and monitor the added value.
As in almost any conference or event in our industry today, social media was again a hot topic. Dutchman Lykle de Vries announced to completely stop with traditional marketing. And the budgets that are freed up by that, should be used to actively engage in dialogue on Social Media. But beware: this only works if you stop shouting and start listening.
There was not only much talk about interactive learning, it was also heavily used in the sessions. For starters, there were no classical theater setups available. In each room were round tables that were used for discussion, practice and play during the sessions. The deployment of "game elements" generally increases the involvement of the participants. If you are particularly interested in this subject, perhaps the Fresh Conference in Copenhagen January 15 to 17 is of interest to you.
This was not so much a session in the topics, but rather a personal observation. I realize that some of my best moments at the conference had nothing to do with the official program. For example how I ended up in a spontaneous peer review about my own performances as a speaker with Roy Shepard and Lykle de Vries. Very inspiring!
I believe that organizers can enforce more of these experiences by creating the right facilities. Such as lounges, which include beverages, good internet access and flip chart boards, and conscious "white space" in the daytime program.
Of course, I had a special interest in the sessions on technology and the use of technology by the participants at this conference. ICCA was using Spotme in Leipzig. A device whose days are numbered I think, given the reactions by delegates and on Twitter. But I noticed that there are a number of interactive features on that device, that are currently not provided by existing event apps.
Many current apps (including our own product “What's On?”) focus primarily on providing information. However, I realized that much more added value lies in technology that stimulates the interaction between participants. But in a way that is as accessible as possible, within the platforms that people already use, but also including all participants.
Gerrit is an entrepreneur with a passion for events and technology. His greatest strength is connecting a group of people together for a concrete result. He helps organizations to realize their dreams in the role of event consultant and experienced expert in the field of Social Media.
Gerrit is also co-founder of the company Triqle Event Intelligence, which earlier this year launched the already highly successful service "What's On?". "What's On?" informs visitors of events, conferences and exhibitions about the program through screens, mobile phones and internet. Triqle Event Intelligence received an honorable mention in the 2011 EIBTM Technology Watch.
Gerrit can be followed through his websites and www.triqle.eu and www.vivo.nu, through his blog (Dutch) or via twitter @gheijkoop
Gerrit Heijkoop was also recently interviewed for the famous Meeting Podcast blog in the U.S., where he met Mike McAllen to talk about "What's On?". Listen to the interview here.