We’ve been talking to a few clients about this kind of conference event now and generally banging the drum about shaking up the old event routines, but thought these pictures would help to highlight the unconference structure and offer a look at one way in which it can be changed up…
These images are from a large recent event at top venue, the Brighton Centre – as a unique conference for delegates coming from multiple sites, we’ve rarely seen a better example of how well this works. The large plenary area, instead of lining everyone up in serried ranks where they have to sit and listen, was split into zones. Each zone had a different aspect of the business, and without giving too much away, there were incentives to ensure all delegates visited every zone. Tasty incentives. And travel incentives. We’ll just leave that there with you…
KEEPING IT MOVING
There was a rolling agenda through the afternoon where various bigwigs and the CEO were interviewed in a chat show format in the middle of the room, with a live feed through the large hanging screens, and delegates were encouraged to draw close during the brief talks – no more than 10 minutes each time – before being allowed to then move away again and get back into visiting the zones. Apart from the interviews, items screened included a conference sting about the business and the merger (which was the driving element behind the event), but also on the spot live interviews of those in charge of the zones by roving camera and presenter throughout the day.
What we really saw coming out of this was some extraordinary communication going on. People were chatting to each other at the zones, putting names to faces and moving freely around the venue. With a constant supply of tea, coffee and snacks at stations throughout the venue, there was no need for breaks, and the dynamic flow of the event kept everyone awake. We’ve all snoozed our way through long conferences, right? We didn’t see any of that here.
THE CLEVER STUFF
What was really clever was the cohesion across the event. Not only were delegates incentivized to visit all the zones, there were competitions to enter at the zones, virtual reality games to engage with that delivered key messages, and more interaction that you’d usually get at a conference, simply due to the format.