White Paper on ECV11 Meeting Design

When we began this experiment we call Event Camp Vancouver, we had many objectives, and we achieved much as a group. We learned lessons from the seven Event Camps that had taken place before us, learned from their innovations and experiments, and built on some and added some new twists. There was so much thought, time, effort and energy put into what was a highly successful experience, and so many learnings along the way we simply had to share these.

In this paper we will walk you through the intentional meeting design elements we incorporated and how we began with low-tech, high-touch sessions to build trust among participants and then evolved into a high-tech, high-touch hybrid event on the second and third day.  Incorporating best practices in sustainability, social gaming and event technology we were able to create a meaningful experience and introduced a number of elements that meeting and event professionals could experiment with and may be able to include into their own events.

Going through the process of re-examining why we did what we did clarified what worked well, what we can improve and how we can grow from this experience.We hope you find this useful and welcome your comments.

ECV11 White Paper

Bell… the possibilities

Technology for meetings has evolved exponentially in the last decade.  Our clients’ expectations and our guests spoken and unspoken requirements have changed as well. We are so fortunate that when groups are hosting meetings at the Vancouver Convention Centre, that with some advance planning there are many cool ways that you can meet and exceed the new needs of the guests.  Here are some of the ways we enhanced Event Camp Vancouver with the existing technology in the building. ECV11 used one specific space within the Centre and Bell was able to isolate the monitors in this space.

#ecv11 game

One of the check in points - infomation uploads to the Bell Leaderboard

  1. Collaborators could all be recognized on the existing monitors so no additional standard sintra or coreplast signage was required
  2. The program of what was happening was tim
  3. ed to change outside of the room on the digital signage, handy as we relied on this with no paper program printed
  4. The internet bandwidth allowed us to host a seamless hybrid meeting where we not only worked with MediaSite to stream out the meeting live, we also skyped in presenters and the Montreal pod in real time (they also have amazing video conference capabilities, we just didn’t have anyone on another end to test this out with)
  5. The wifi, now expected by many has capabilities to serve even the largest meeting and its needs and we had people tweeting, gaming, blogging and all their normal use without issue for the duration
  6. The digital signage at the entrance of each room we were using could also show the twitter stream (which we chose not to have distracting inside the room so having in the foyers worked well)
  7. The leaderboard for the Get Your Green On game integrated into the overall program was updated from the mobile app and sent automatically to specific screens set to track this
  8. Kiosks throughout can also be branded and be used as a tool for a variety of functions from surveys to sponsorship
  9. BONUS – Bell set up a QR code on the screen that uploaded an EventCamp Vancouver postcard that could be sent from any smartphone with a scanner app – really how cool is that!?

More importantly though, as the planner we found the team at Bell to be both thoughtful and proactive throughout the process, offering suggestions on the best way to use the technology to enhance the guest experience.

There is naturally a cost for the services required and if a planner starts early in the planning process to identify the opportunities and to budget appropriately you may find that you can save in other areas.  This may include reducing some of the traditional paper products (signage, programs) and may also give you added benefits such as the use of QR codes, you may not have considered before. You may find there are layers of benefits to your meeting, including sustainability initiatives matching those of your own organizations. The opportunities are interesting.

Check out this video too.

Paperless meetings… possible?

As it has been clear throughout, we planned EventCamp with sustainability front of mind. Is it possible to plan an event with (almost) no paper? YES!

The paper we printed and the places we saved are below

ECV11 green

A game checkpoint

* one sign – used for the commercial and at registration.  The Bell technology in house at the Vancouver Convention Centre allowed us to provide an incredible amount of information without using any paper

* all the registration was electronic – no paper (all the marketing was electronic too!)

* we had three handouts – these were the only on-site items printed – 280 sheets total

* there were a few game checkpoint signs produced by the venues – many of the tasks were over the app though

* the session signage for the design Genius Bars were done on plantable seed paper – and the paper was sent home with one of the techs who has a daycare in their home for the kids to plant

* the planning for all the elements was done through email, limited meetings, skype and phone  calls – all limiting carbon footprints as well as meeting notes / agendas etc.

* the post event information will all be via this blog – again, very friendly

* we used old name badge stock not used at previous events, and corn based plastic holders, also leftovers from a previous event (Bonus – most people brought their own lanyards)

* the app, the game and the structure of the meeting taking place in predefined spaces meant also that we had no printed program

So can we have no paper? Probably not – but we can cut it immensely and we urge you to rethink too.

Sparks Session Recap – CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility:  Being more than “green”

By Katie Schaeffers

November 13, 2011

I had the pleasure of collaborating with Elizabeth Henderson (@ehenderson) at Event Camp Vancouver over the course of two “sparks” sessions focusing on Corporate Social Responsibility.  In two 45-minute sessions we uncovered various ways our colleagues in the events industry were defining, implementing, and forming corporate culture around CSR.  We also realized that CSR is about much more than simply being green. In many ways, our key takeaways over two sessions were just the beginning of an infinitely connected puzzle.  What we highlighted repeatedly was the need for constant discussion around and evaluation of best practices.  Top takeaways:

  1. The Triple Bottom Line. Corporate social responsibility is about much more than being green.  We must take into consideration people, planet, and profit.
  1. CSR can inform multiple touch points in your event planning.  Consider sustainable menu choices, use of LED lighting, donating conference swag to local schools and/or engaging your community in your labor force through such organizations as Starworks (http://www.starworks.ca/).
  1. Reverse Logistics.  Sustainable planning requires dedicated human and financial resources.
  1. What is the ethical obligation?  Do event professionals have an obligation to employ sustainable practices, even if their clients do not wish to incorporate “green” elements into their events, or perhaps do not have the financial bandwidth to support these elements?  The resounding answer was YES WE DO!
  1. Corporate culture vs corporate checklist.   CSR must be “a way of doing business” as opposed to just a checklist.  Company leaders should instill this in their teams.
  1. Regulation and Standards.  Some of us questioned the guiding principles and regulation around CSR.  Elizabeth shared some great resources such as:
    1. The APEX ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards
    2. ISO20121
  1. Education.  Event professionals can educate their clients and in turn educate the wider public through event that employ sustainable and green practices.
  1. Sharing Resources.  How do we share resources both locally and nationally?  We identified a need for a sharing tool or technology so we can share best practices and resources.  In the words of Glenn Thayer:  “will you take that on?”.  This was our core action item from the culmination of our session.  We would love to hear your thoughts on how something like this could be implemented.

A big thank you to Elizabeth and all of the participants in this important and very encouraging dialogue.  As event professionals we can be leaders in the education around sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Sustainable SWAG Part 2

We were so fortunate to have so many partners and collaborators who have sustainability as a key tenet of their business.  In addition to Patterson Brands supplying us with water bottles, we also ran a game to engage participants in easy ways to make their events greener and Heidi Thorne generously donated copies of her book (below) to both the on-site camper and the remote camper with the most points at the end of Camp!  This is a great resource for those who continue to seek alternatives.

The term “swag” (an acronym for Souvenirs, Wearables, Awards & Gifts) refers to any promotional product that has a logo, message, tagline or some form of personalization on it, usually with the intent of advertising a business, event, team, person or cause.

Swag is generally easy to buy. And it’s easy to make mistakes when buying. But those mistakes can be costly, not just in terms of dollars, but in terms of your image and brand. So SWAG: How to Choose and Use Promotional Products for Marketing Your Business shows you how to buy it right using the Promo With Purpose concept!

Inside you’ll discover…

* 3 Ways Cheap Promotional Products Can be the Most Expensive

* Why Retail Products Cannot be Decorated

* Why You Don’t Always Need Something Different

* How Non Profits Can Avoid a PR Nightmare

* The Number One Promotional Product Mistake Restaurants Make

* 5 Ways to Ditch Promotional Product Thieves at Tradeshows

* When Ecofriendly Promo Doesn’t Work

* Understanding the Buying Process

* What is Good Artwork for Imprinting?

* How to Imprint QR Codes

* 7 Things You Need to Know When Ordering T-Shirts

* 4 Tips for Handling Rush Orders

* What is the Shelf Life for Swag?

Check it out! Thanks Heidi!

SWAG with Sustainability in Mind

When we first began planning EventCamp Vancouver, Patterson Brands was one of the first companies to say “we are in” and “what do you want?”  We knew that whatever we gave away we wanted it to have a purpose – no swag for the sake of it, no random items desired.  We quickly agreed that having a reusable water bottle was a great thing, and these were ordered up, and not just delivered, but hand-delivered to the guests.  At the end of the event we had just a few left over, and these were taken by Tazneem Fazel and made their way into Christmas shoeboxes! Thank you Patterson Brands!
Water bottle sustainability

All Sustainable!

Patterson Brands is a company which is proud to be based on the West Coast of Canada, and we cannot help but be passionate towards our environment & the astounding natural surroundings in which we live.  It inspires us to consciously do our part in being environmentally conscious.   We strive to produce orders using the ‘100 mile’ rule.  (products which are made, warehoused, decorated and/or delivered within a 100 Mile radius of the final delivery point.)  For the most part, local sourcing puts valuable dollars into the local economy. A B.C. based business helps its business colleagues by using B.C. based warehouses (full of workers) and decorators and courier companies.  Of course, much of todays manufacturing is being done off-shore (mostly Asia), therefore we may not be able to complete the entire process locally, however we try to keep as much of the value-add labour and dollars close to home.

If a customer comes to us with a product idea, we will always try and source an eco friendly/recycled verion of the product if available (ie. reusable shopping bag made from recycled product versus one which is not).    We utilize local eco-friendly courier service Novex for local delivery to help lessen the carbon imprint. Patterson Brands also works with numerous suppliers who are constantly updating their environmentally responsible products.  We are a member of PPPC (Promotional Product Professionals of Canada) and staff frequent Promotional Product trade shows, as well as subscribe to other promotional industry based information to keep current on promotional product trends including environmentally sound products.  We then in turn educate our customers on eco friendly products available to them.  When offering products to our customers, Patterson highly recommends using B.C. based suppliers where possible to help reduce shipping distances & waste which may effect the environment.
Patterson team members practice our company values with every order we process:
Accountability : we take responsibility for our actions and their effect on our customers & fellow team members
Community & Environment : to do our best to provide an eco friendly product to our customer which is locally sourced, & delivered by eco friendly means whenever possible
Customer service:  to provide each customer with unprecedented personal & professional service in an efficient & respectful manner
Integrity:  To act with honesty and integrity without compromising the truth
Quality:  we are committed to ensure our customers receive the best quality item within their allotted budget


1715 Acts of Green! Wow!

By Judy Kucharuk & Shawna McKinley

Thank you to EventCamp Vancouver participants who Got Their Green On! A more detailed report of the Get Your Green On Game design and outcomes will be shared soon, but in the meantime: the results! Drum roll please!!

Total acts of green: 1715

Total game players: 78 (67 at event site, 11 virtual)

Top-scorers – Virtual:

  1. Jill Drury
  2. Nancy Zavada
  3. Wendi Haughty

Top scorers – Event site:

  1. Kelly Clarke
  2. Paul Salinger
  3. Jo-Anne Rockwood

Some cool facts about the game, along with Camper photos from our Gallery:

  • By reaching for reusable drink containers game players conserved 169 liters or 46 gallons of water – enough to fill 338 of the bottles provided by Patterson Brands!
  • 52 game players brought their own lanyards to camp. That’s about a 60% lanyard reuse rate!

Here is my reused lanyard, which is also made from cornstarch and is biodegradable

No lanyard....using my necklace

  • All onsite attendees received 4-minute shower timers for the game challenge and 76 showers fewer than 4 minutes were recorded (give or take a few who may have been really hard core and not showered at all, or showered with a buddy!).
  • 120 fair trade coffees and teas and 95 vegetarian or vegan meals were recorded. That’s an estimated 15% veggiesaurs at each meal during the event.
  • Many EventCamp participants opted to take transit, carpool, walk or bike to their event site or remote pod, eliminating 178 single-vehicle trips.

And a big shout out to remote attendees. By participating remotely you avoided enough carbon dioxide emissions to fill 110,000 party balloons! Your remote footprint was about 7kg of CO2 per person, compared to the 1,100 kg of CO2 that would have been emitted by coming in person.

We had Campers join us virtually!

Andrew Walker joining us from the UK!

Acts of Green also resulted in $1500 raised for the BC Cancer Foundation. Thank so much to MeetGreen and Paul Salinger for their challenge donations!

Huge thanks to all collaborators who assisted with the Get Your Green On Game: Quickmobile, Westin Bayshore, Vancouver Convention Centre, Greenscape Design and Bell.