From the latest technology to innovative ways so problem solve as a group, Nicky Whyman, commercial director with KDM reveals the secrets to running a successful event in 2019

Innovation is crucial to the continuing success of any business, whether that be in the area of products, services or infrastructure. Staff and customer communications are an important part of this mix so how can we ensure that business events are applying new ideas and concepts to create real value?

Technology has advanced rapidly in the last decade to open up literally hundreds of new ways to engage and connect with delegates. The number of apps and software platforms available makes for a formidable landscape of choices so the key to navigating this is to start with objectives. What should the delegates think about differently as a result of this interaction? Or what crucial information must they be able to access? How would this software help to connect delegates in a business-focused way? Deciding on the specific desired benefits of any technology used within an event helps to distinguish the ‘gimmicky’ options from the really valuable tools.

For example, being able to ask questions, run instant polls and display the results in real time is a great way of having a meaningful 2-way conversation with audiences. This is easily achievable now with only standard Wi-Fi access web browsers on delegates own devices: no need to download apps. Similarly, asking potential audiences to contribute in crafting the itinerary of the event has become more achievable with short video teasers, poll consultation on workshop/breakout sessions and even the totally agenda-free ‘unconference’. All these help to create connection and commitment before an event starts.

‘Gamification’ has become another increasingly popular way of presenting business messages in a creative format. One of our recent clients revolutionised the concept of internal client referrals by creating a tabletop ‘ice cream parlour’ game with printed pieces. By posing the idea of cross-selling the companies different services as an ice cream parlour making a client’s perfect order, they used different ‘toppings’ to represent the business products and then asked delegates to create an ice cream to match specific clients’ needs. This linked a very effective training session along with a fun, memorable team building activity!

To use all these tools successfully, possibly the largest area of innovation one can apply is in the approach to event planning. Focusing deeply on crafting the event experiences that enable audiences to leave with the desired information, training and attitudes opens up a wealth of new approaches. And all the technology, bespoke games and itinerary inventions are then there to deliver those bold, new concepts!

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