MEET THE ROCKSTARS OF CONVENTA CROSSOVER 2021
Every year, Conventa Crossover invites world-renowned meeting planners, marketers, entrepreneurs, and creatives to share their knowledge in Ljubljana, Slovenia. This year won’t be any different – inspiring individuals who have helped co-create and transform the meetings industry will come together from 26 to 27 August 2021. At the same time, we will be opening the stage to a new generation of young and talented meeting planners and marketers. You will learn from keynote speakers who have successfully transformed their events and are recognized as the pioneers of our new reality.
Joining the 6th Conventa Crossover conference is Kim Myhre, the Founder and Managing Partner of Experience Designed. Before you meet him at Conventa Crossover 2021, we wanted to hear his thoughts on the future of the meetings industry and see what surprises he has in store for us.
Interview with Kim Myhre
Q: What do you think about the theme of this year’s Crossover – The Meetings Industry AC/BC (After Corona/Before Corona)?
I think we can all agree that Covid-19 has been a serious shock to the system. But whilst the virus has accelerated change it is not the root cause of challenges faced by the events industry. Anyone who has been involved in the events business over the last decade knows that it was only a matter of time before changing event audiences and emerging experience technologies, would change everything. Covid or not.
The pandemic has forced an unexpected break from traditional live events that has offered us a unique opportunity to re-imagine how live experiences could be more like we’ve always wished they could be. After-covid the meetings industry is now able to create events that are more engaging, more sustainable and offer greater access and participation than traditional live event ever could.
Q: What is your forecast for the meetings industry in the coming year (2022) and beyond?
“WE already live in a ‘hybrid’ world”
It would be foolish for the events industry to not accept that transformational change is now here, and that it will have an impact on the future of how we design and deliver live experiences. A new generation of digital-native audiences have emerged. Needs and preferences have changed, and new event technologies has created new expectations and opportunities for event designers.
Today, most of us already live in a ‘hybrid’ world that is partly live and partly online. We shop live and online, network live and online, drive with satnav, we read, entertain ourselves and learn online. When we meet live again will attendees want the same disconnected events of the past or will they want the excitement of new more connected, technology-enhanced, content-rich experiences now possible in a hybrid event format that reflects the way they experience the world?
Imagine a future where technology enhanced hybrid experiences are able to reach and actively engage more people in more personalised, convenient, meaningful, and potentially life changing ways.
Q: How do you envision agility and innovation in overcoming the corona crisis? Can you share some examples of best practices?
There’s lots of talk in the events industry these days about how the business is being transformed through innovation and even disrupted by emerging trends. Covid-19 aside, new technologies, changing audiences and growing demand for more personalised experiences have been driving change in the events industry.
There are plenty of examples of how technology innovations have already dramatically improved the way we do live events. Some even verge on disruptive. Take mobile and web-based apps for example, where we can now more efficiently register attendees, track their behaviour onsite, discontinue printed event guides and agendas and increase attendee feedback and participation. Believe it or not, back in the day organisers mailed printed event brochures in huge numbers and received back hand-written registration forms by fax. This approach is now obsolete, but we still register event attendees.
More recently, virtual events have changed the way we bring people together and we have already realised benefits, like greater, more inclusive audience reach, engaging content formats and vastly improved environmental sustainability. While we will surely still want to meet face to face, the truth is that bringing people together online can often be more efficient, more impactful, and even more effective than live events. Most now acknowledge that online or ‘virtual’ events will forever change the way we view live events and will require that we innovate with ‘on-live’ or hybrid event experiences moving forward.
So, whilst the events business may have not yet experienced the kind of disruption that we have witnessed in other industries with products like iPhone, Amazon, Uber or Airbnb, the increasing innovation we are seeing in event technology and design means that big, transformative change is coming.
Fortunately, the events industry does not need to be a casualty of this inevitable change. We have an opportunity to re-imagine and re-invent how we plan and deliver experiences and we can take very deliberate actions to create the industry future we want to see.
Q: How would you comment on the following statement? “Coronacrisis has shown the need to organise events that are responsible to the environment, the participants and the community as a whole”
Most of us agree that Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on changing consumer behaviour, and one of these changes is the increasing interests in brand ethics and purpose.
Event organisers are now more motivated than ever to demonstrate that they care for the social issues that their participant’s care about by exploring ways to incorporate ‘purpose’ into the design of their event experiences.
Of course, featuring Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives at live events is not new. Brands have used live events as a platform to show concern for popular social issues like the environment, diversity and health and wellbeing for some time.
But now, as virtual and hybrid experiences become the ‘new normal’, opportunities will emerge for brands to build brand social purpose initiative that extend well beyond the live event. Virtual events can reach audiences that have not been able to travel or attend live events. Virtual events are more environmentally friendly, reducing air travel emissions, venue energy and food waste. Importantly, virtual and hybrid events allow brands to build and sustain online communities over longer periods of time.
The post-Coronacrisis trend to make event experiences more purposeful, meaningful, and socially impactful is positive progress. But there is still some heavy lifting to do to deliver on the promise of purposeful experiences. We often use words such as break-through and game changing to describe the experiences we create, without seriously moving the needle on social, environmental or wellbeing initiatives.
Creating experiences that are truly purposeful, actionable, and ultimately achieve positive change will require that brands embrace experience design approaches that place the audience and the issues that they care about at the centre of the event design.
Q: What will you surprise us with at this year’s event?
“I am a passionate advocate for embracing change”
I believe that through innovation, we can enhance and positively transform brand experiences in ways that we cannot yet imagine.
We can dramatically influence change and progress in the events industry by how we choose to talk about its future. A ‘nothings really changed’ attitude towards events has the potential to undermine the new opportunities for innovation that the events industry so desperately needs.
‘Surprise’ events industry – there’s no going back.
Kim Myhre is the Founder and Managing Partner of Experience Designed, a strategic advisory and creative ideas agency that applies purpose-led design principals to create transformative brand experience strategies. He is an experience designer, consultant, speaker, guest lecturer, writer, creator, innovation activist and brand storyteller with a unique combination of strategic, creative, commercial and international agency experience. Kim is also responsible for creating the MCI Experience – an incubator of innovative experience marketing capabilities.
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Join the 6th Conventa Crossover
THE FESTIVAL OF EVENTS AND LIVE MARKETING
The Conventa Crossover conference, intended for event planners, creatives, marketing experts and all those involved in the MICE business in the New Europe region, will be carried out as a hybrid event this year. This means that you can choose to attend the event LIVE or ONLINE. Click the link below to register!