Over two and a half days in the first week of August, over a hundred innovators and thought-leaders from the Australia’s events industry have taken part in a virtual idea generation hackathon as part of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) inaugural Unconventional Ideas event.
The event brought together in-house experts, as well as customers and stakeholders within the sector, to workshop and pitch business ideas for MCEC to a panel of judges, including Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp; AFL star and hotelier Luke Darcy and MCEC chair and former Victorian Premier, John Brumby AO.
While the ideas that came from the process remain top-secret for the moment, many of them dealt with new and unexpected ways to use MCEC’s world-class facilities, expertise and location on the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River.
“MCEC Unconventional Ideas is a first for our business and is designed to position MCEC for success in the future, ensuring we remain an industry leader, a preferred partner and an innovative, successful business,” said MCEC chief executive Peter King.
“The past two and half days (4-6 August) have been an opportunity to shape a new future for MCEC, our industry and maybe even our city.”
The event mirrors a new way of working currently being used at MCEC.
“Like many in the event sector, we found ourselves unable to perform our core business, so we made the decision to embark on a ‘business relaunch’ journey to secure MCEC’s future, in this ‘new normal’ that we find ourselves in,” King added. “Over a condensed two and a half days, MCEC Unconventional Ideas participants experienced an intensive version of the idea exploration process that all MCEC initiatives are currently following. It’s an exciting and dynamic way to work.”
Teams with a mix of MCEC employees and external partners worked across 12 ideas, with the event culminating in a final pitch to the esteemed judging panel.
Helen Fairclough, director of business relaunch said that it was heart-warming to see a number of MCEC’s valued partners taking part in the initiative.
“We believe the secret to ongoing success, is great partnerships. It’s working with employees, customers, suppliers and stakeholders who are willing to be brave, to innovate and to disrupt,” she said.
“We invited creative thinkers and entrepreneurial minds, industry leaders and achievers, the analytical and the innovators and asked them to submit their unconventional ideas and were blown away by the response, with well over 50 ideas submitted.
The newly created role of director of business relaunch is unique in the industry to MCEC, and leads a process for the business to explore new revenue streams, new business models and new initiatives that positively disrupt the sector. “Nothing embodies this more than our first ever MCEC Unconventional Ideas event, and we hope to run more in the future,” Fairclough said.
The four winning ideas from MCEC Unconventional Ideas will now proceed to the next phase of further exploration or delivery.