Close to halfway through 2022 and the feeling in the event industry is one of gratitude and pleasure at simply being allowed to run live events again. However soon, like anything that is around long enough, this will be taken for granted and then I believe we will see a wave of innovation sweep through this industry. Why? For two reasons namely 1) Anyone left standing after the last couple of years are the best we’ve got having survived through guts and adaptability and 2) We are now living in the age of disruption ( Digitisation, ESG, Geo-Political) and from disruption comes innovation. So we’ve now got an industry full of change embracing survivors, facing a resurgence in demand from a market schooled in being open to new ideas with an ever growing range of tech solutions to run events with.
With that in mind here are 6 areas where change could occur;
How often does a presentation only really seem to come to life at the end, during the panel or question sessions and just as the conversation is getting good, it stops! With the increase in digital connectivity we now have the opportunity to move away from the ‘40 min stand and deliver followed by 5 mins of conversation’ format. As an alternative many hybrid events are already sharing content pre-conference and saving the interaction for when their delegates meet ( either virtually or face to face) to enjoy less slides and more interaction
2. Event Structure
People seem busier than ever so the idea that professionals dedicating multiple days to digesting content is becoming less realistic. And if virtual events taught us anything it’s that often people prefer to consume content in manageable bites rather than long sittings. So coupled with the idea above of pre-delivering presentations, the events itself can then be more condensed being focussed on the conversations, collaborations and connections. In this respect a traditional two day event might be cut down to two half days. As a result the event structure could be mornings of content/conversation sessions followed by afternoon blocks of either exhibitions, demos, workshops and site visits for various delegate segments to opt in and out of as desired
Speaking of how we consume information, we also see the opportunity to move away from simply presenting programs in text based spreadsheet format to also include video content. A 15-30 sec grab from a speaker outlining who they are, what they’re bringing to the event and who it’s for could be a lot more engaging than a paragraph of text. This is a great opportunity to increase attendance – along the lines of a ‘try before you buy’ approach.
4. Post Event
After an event, if everything has gone according to plan, there is often a strong appetite amongst delegates to ‘’continue the conversation’ . While in the past this has rarely occurred due to the work involved, now there are multiple digital platforms where delegates can easily and inexpensively gather to discuss, review and share content and ideas post event such as Discord, Slack or via something as straightforward as a Linkedin Group.
5. Venue Location
Many hybrid events are beginning to work on a decentralized model where there is a broadcast ( often with pre-distributed content ) supported by local in-person gatherings at a variety of locations. This opens up a range of options beyond traditional event venues providing the opportunity to better match a delegate audience’s profile (gyms for personal fitness trainers, bars and restaurants for hospitality professionals and schools for teaching professionals).
6. Venue type
Further to the above, there is a growing need for authenticity and this will draw organisers and clients away from accepting traditional venues (think big cavernous, concrete venues) and towards the more atmospheric, unusual and ‘real’ spaces’. And accelerating this move will be the ever expanding tech solutions coming onto the market which will provide much greater flexibility in choosing these alternate venue solutions. For example by coupling portable power sources and next gen sound and lighting rigs coupled with greater wifi connectivity and you can go almost anywhere (warehouses, industrial sites, country halls, quarries, forests! ) without compromising on the quality of what’s delivered.
Of course the great thing about prognostication is you’re never held accountable however I’m confident we’re going to see some incredible changes coming soon to the world of events – and we’re ready for them!