AIPC CEO Sven Bossu (pictured) says, with live events coming back, organisers seek, more than ever, to create unique experiences which trigger life impacts and demonstrate the core value of live events. Click here to read the feature in the CMW May/June 2022 Magazine.
Events change our lives. To quote Gabriel Radvansky of the University of Notre Dame: “Events are what happens to us, what we do, what we anticipate with pleasure or dread, and what we remember with fondness or regret. Much of our behaviour is guided by our understanding of events. We perceive events when we observe the world unfolding around us, participate in events when we act on the world, simulate events that we hear or read about, and use our knowledge of events to solve problems.”
Professor Radvansky of course refers to events at large, but all the elements he refers to also apply to organised live events where – during a limited amount of time – a bubble is created in which you will share specific experiences with other persons who you might never have met. Making those experiences impactful is the key challenge event organisers have, as they represent the core value of live events.
At AIPC, we are fortunate enough that we do not need to convince our members of the importance and value of live events. At the same time, as event organisers, we want to offer unique experiences to our members – which is not easy with an audience who has already seen everything. A first test case was the Operations & Facility Summit we held at the end of last year at the CCIB in Barcelona. Instead of a set of lectures, we put the participants to work for the full day in small groups and made them share outputs on a regular basis. Result at the end of the day: an exhausted and inspired group of convention centre leaders who continued the discussions during the closing cocktail.
This made us re-think our other events as well, especially the AIPC Annual Conference. Last year – in close collaboration with the host venue (Swiss Tech Convention Center) – we already put a lot more focus on interaction and inspiration from other industries. This year, at Hungexpo in Budapest, we will continue on this track, with an architect, a top vintner, a serial entrepreneur and a former IBM executive on stage to provide inspiration and with a Lego Seriously Play session to facilitate discussion – all with the ambition to have a lasting impact on the professional lives of the participants.
Obviously, convention centres play a very important, and sometimes underestimated, role in creating unique experiences, both by their design, location and the creativity of their teams. A good partnership between organiser and the venue has the potential to create magic, as I recently witnessed at the Brussels International Association Forum, where the assets of the venue – including a former cinema in the attic – were matched with the content of the lectures, allowing for an amplification of the delegate experience. So don’t forget to talk to the convention centre when you want to create unique and life changing experiences.