From The Top 4 Meeting Innovators
Every year BizBash Magazine identifies the 15 most innovative meetings of the year. I always enjoy reading this article for two reasons: 1) To learn how far event organizers will push the envelope; and 2) To understand how technology improves the meeting experience.
Today’s blog post will focus on the top four events and the creative ways they engage attendees.
This 3-day Canadian conference has established itself as a laboratory of innovation. With over 5,000 attendees, their motto is “Attendees need to live it rather than just listen to it”.
Here is what they offered:
- In small groups of 4 attendees and one facilitator, they suspended individuals 18 feet in the air (sitting on chairs with netting below) to force them out of their comfort zone. The facilitator asked them a series of questions they needed to answer before they could be grounded.
- They booked celebrity speakers like Chelsea Clinton and Andre Agassi. This along with live entertainment and a theme park atmosphere made this conference entertainment focused with an educational twist.
Social Good Summit
This two-day event had 1,600 attendees and over 700 bloggers and journalists in attendance. It was held in New York City.
Here is what they did:
- Rather than going it alone, Mashable partnered with the United Nations Development Program, United Nations Foundation and 92|Y to create an event that would help determine how technology can help address world-wide issues such as poverty and climate change.
- They held this event during the week of the United Nations General Assembly, thus gaining momentum with individuals who would already be in NYC and talking about the issues the general assembly is wrestling with.
- Using online streaming, conference organizers could translate the content into 7 languages. They also encouraged social sharing with the hashtag #2030NOW and MeetUp events where groups could get together, in small groups, all over the world to discuss the issues after viewing the content.
- By incorporating a digital media lounge, reporters and blogger could view live content on a large video wall rental.
This 3-day conference attracted 7,500 attendees last year (an increase of 6,000 individuals) with a slogan of “Where the Tech World Meets”. How did they do it?
- They brought a mix of investors, start-up entrepreneurs and developers together for three days of networking, they heard from industry leaders and pitched their products and services.
- In order to make the most of the conference, event organizers completed data-based matchmaking, suggesting to investors the 10 most relevant start-ups. Then the organizers created a “speed dating” environment where each start-up and investor had 15 minutes to meet. At the end of this session, event organizers told the start-ups which investors were most interested in hearing more about their innovation.
This 5-day conference had one overarching goal: Show developers and IT staff the breadth and depth of the entire Microsoft product line.
- Rather than having several shorter silo conferences, Microsoft decided to expand the length of this conference to encompass all their specialties at one event. On their landing page, they created a “Why you should attend this event” video and even an email template to send to your boss for justification!
- Event organizers encouraged cross-talk between IT and developers by offering different sessions, trade show activities and networking options. The Microsoft Ignite team held receptions, ask-the-expert presentations, and mash-ups
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