5 creative conference ideas to inspire your next eventPosted on February 18th, 2018 in Experience Economy
In today’s ‘experience economy,’ events that are fresh and engaging are more likely to appeal to discerning young people who value creative thinking.
There’s still room for traditional keynote talks and workshops at modern conferences, but mixing in some more innovative offerings will set your event apart – especially if your target demographic is tech-savvy Millennials who are always looking for new experiences.
Here are five tried-and-tested examples of creative conference ideas from around the world that can be applied to many types of events.
- Campfire sessions
One of the most popular formats sweeping conferences and exhibitions in the last few years, campfire sessions are more intimate, informal and free-form than a typical presentation.
The speaker will usually get the ball rolling with a short talk on a topic, which is then given over to the small audience who may address their specific interests or concerns.
The format is credited to Meeting Professionals International (MPI), which regularly holds 30-minute campfire sessions shaped by delegates covering all manner of topics.
- Silent conferences
If you have a number of speakers at your event, but not enough time or enough rooms to host them all, silent conferences use technology to solve the problem.
Inspired by silent discos, where several DJs play at the same time and dancers can choose their preferred beat, attendees at silent conferences are given wireless headphones and can choose which of multiple speakers to listen to.
One of the largest silent conferences was the Adobe Summit Conference held in London in 2017, which featured up to five speakers talking at the same time to a total of 5,000 attendees. However, the format is easily adapted to any large space.
- Lightning talks
You don’t have to invest in new technologies to try something new at your event. This system of timed presentations uses the same set-up as a regular presentation, with the proviso that the slides are on a timer and the speaker has to keep up.
Beginning as PechaKucha Nights in Tokyo in 2003, lightning talks are ideal for making sure talks and meetings don’t overrun, but their benefits aren’t only practical. They can be a lot of fun for speakers and audiences by speeding up talks and cutting out digressions. They also encourage audience participation, as there may be time for many people to have their say.
- Natural lighting
If you’re used to organising events where lighting is strictly controlled, the idea of letting in sunlight could seem like an alien concept. But for nature-themed events, or those set in a beautiful location, it can be a refreshing change.
This was the case for Tourism Australia’s Destination Australian Conference in 2017, which traded the previous year’s dark conference venue for a sun-filled room overlooking Sydney’s Hyde Park. Events that use natural light must take steps to shield projection screens so they remain clear for the audience.
- Secret events
Going against everything you’ve learned about marketing your event and securing registrations, holding back details of a highly anticipated event until the last minute can work for brands that already have substantial interest.
Events such as The Lost Lectures and Secret Cinema held around the world have led to a flurry of social media activity as would-be attendees wait for details to be released.
Trying out a variety of new and traditional styles can keep your event lively and engaging and ensure it’s memorable.
Find out how to grow your business
Stay on top of the latest trends in the events industry by attending The Business of Events, a new two-day conference taking place at Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park, from 7–8 February 2019.
This brand new event combines a range of innovative conference styles, including campfire discussions and highly targeted networking sessions.