Most corporate events are planned with the overall goal of imparting some sort of actionable information to attendees. If your goal is innovation, you will have to create the perfect environment for an effective event. Innovation is perhaps one of the most difficult actions to inspire — but it’s possible. You must have the right venue, speakers and content to light the spark of innovation.
Content That Drives an Innovative Event
The first step in executing any project, from events to new products, is brainstorming. Assemble an event-planning team with the most forward-thinking and innovative people in your company. You may even wish to hire a professional event coordinator. Your planning team should begin by deciding which content will help catalyze the innovative spirit within the audience. According to Forbes magazine, the following keys are essential to inciting innovation. Use these keys to create content that is specific to your business:
- Motivate youthful thinking.Ted Greenwald, reporter for Forbes, says most young people do not have fixed ideas of what is or is not possible. While the young people in your company certainly warrant attention, you can help spread this type of thinking to all of your employees. Greenwald points out that youthful thinking is behind some of the most innovative ideas of our time — from the Apollo missions to the dot-com revolution. Create content that challenges the way common problems are addressed, and encourage your employees to think without restriction.
- Tolerate failure. Let your audience know that failure is, contrary to popular opinion, acceptable. Michael Jordan is famously known for saying he failed his way to success. Unfortunately, most people are afraid of taking risks because it can harm their reputation, or worse, get them fired. Make it known to your staff that all ideas should be explored, even if they are a failure. Encourage employees to have crazy ideas, and let them know that they won’t be met negatively. These crazy ideas may lead to the biggest innovation in your company’s history.
The event planning team doesn’t have to write the speeches or develop the multimedia presentations — they simply need to have a rough idea how their event will encourage innovation. Execution of the aforementioned keys will vary by industry; however, they provide an excellent guideline for content creation.
Choose the Right Venue and the Right Speakers
Once the content has been considered, it’s time to consider the venue and the keynote speakers. These two variables are powerful pieces of the equation.
The keynote speakersare the meat to your event’s potatoes. You may have come up with the right content ideas, but it will take an expert speaker to create a compelling presentation that propels innovation. You cannot count on your audience to pay attention or even to want to be innovative. The right speakers will know how to captivate the audience, impart the desired information and leave them craving innovation. They will leave the event ready to approach old problems with new solutions, design new products and create revolutionary designs.
It can be difficult to determine what venue would be the best for your event. Have your event-planning team consider several factors when deciding on the venue:
- Will it be able to comfortably seat everyone in attendance?
- What impression does it convey to the attendees? Does a hotel convention room convey the same sense of innovation as a convention hall with a contemporary design?
- Will the location alone provide a fresh perspective or at least a break from monotony?
A venue that helps your audience feel as though they are separated from their usual office environment will help spur innovation. Breaking out of the traditional mindset is essential for innovation, and a new environment can help accomplish this task.
Enjoy New Insights, Breakthroughs and Productivity
Once your event has ended, your employees will return to work with a new perspective. They will be motivated to work with a sense of creativity when encountering issues, designing products and brainstorming. Your employees will start having new business insights and increased productivity. With the right venue, speakers and content your event will truly spur innovation.
About the Author: Dustin Berger is a contributing writer and event coordinator. He is responsible for planning events for several large corporations.