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


Mobile – Your Event Planning Advantage

ECV11 mobilityWhat does mobile mean for events now? QuickMobile’s specialist in event app solutions, TrevorRoald, shared his perspective at Event Camp.

Mobile in its many forms means as the Organizer, you have more ways to connect with face to face and remote participants before, during and after the event.  For the participants this is from the comfort of anywhere they and their mobile device are.

Mobile increases engagement as you now have additional channels for discussion.  Mobile discussions can work to bring together groups or individuals that may not connect face to face, even if they happen to be at the same meeting – particularly larger meetings where participants can get quite spread out.

Should you add in gamification elements created using your mobile app, as an organizer you can develop content in a way in which it enhances learning and deepens understanding of the information you are sharing.

Mobile is not the future, it is now. The majority of participants across all sectors and from most of the world has access to mobile devices and it is now an expectation that when you attend a meeting you can be connected not only to home but also to where you are.  We want to connect to the people we are meeting (and could meet IRL if we know they are there) and mobile adds to this experience.

You also have the opportunity to significantly cut your paper production as all the detailed information required can now be uploaded via the mobile devices (native app or web based programs) and you can save money on this as well as be more flexible in your programming as the deadlines for updating print vs updating mobile are very different.  During an event you have the ability to adapt rapidly to the changes that inevitably happen as you can immediately update your program – speaker or room changes as examples – and push the information out to participants.

Mobile builds community. Pathable is an excellent example of a tool to do this and their systems allow integration across many platforms, making it very user friendly for your events.  If you are considering mobile – now is the time to delve into it!

For more info, you can also check out the presentation from EventCamp Vancouver.

Links to ECV11 AWESOME info

So many people involved with Event Camp Vancouver shared and continue to share great information, so here are some more great links for all #eventprofs and meeting professionals.

Event Camp Vancouver
The learning continues

Ruud Janssen of The New Objective Collective gave a thoughtful and thought provoking presentation on Collaboration and his slides are available here.

Liz King was integral as our remote host, joining us from New York, and collected the twitter highlights for us here.

Sarah Vining of the NCC has a great comparison (as well as similarities) between ECDC and ECV here

MediaSite by Sonic Foundry made it possible for this event to be hybrid, and their thoughts as well as quick links can be found here

We hope you find these as useful as we do!

Collaboration – Key to Success

#ECV11 Collaboration

Collaboration in Action

From the time we decided to host an Event Camp in Vancouver, the committee knew that this was going to be about bringing the right people together to collaborate on creating an experience that would truly envelop the learners in an environment that engaged and delivered on learning objectives.  As we looked at the diversity of our group and extrapolated that to the people that would potentially attend and participate would have a similar diversity we chose to keep the topics broad so that we would be able to adapt to specific needs within these broader categories during Camp. To set the stage for the most effective working together as a group we began Saturday morning with a session on collaboration that looked at the bigger picture of how we can work together better. Based on the relationship building that happened throughout the weekend and continues today,  we can look back and be comfortable this was the right choice.

If you would like to hear the session on Collaboration presented by Ruud Janssen and Glenn Thayer you can check it out here

One of the tools we used during this session that included both the face-to-face and remote attendees sharing their ideas on collaboration is called Pirate Pad and you can link to our ideas here.


How Furniture Impacts Event Design

Tom Stulberg, LoungeWorks

LoungeWorks seating

EventCamp Vancouver ready for action

A successful event happens in an event environment that supports the objectives and enables interaction. More and more event designers are looking for better ways to create a strong brand presence and establish a distinctive value proposition for the event organizer and guests. Soft seating and lounge spaces offer a way to achieve both of these goals simultaneously. Soft furniture in a meeting context is an amenity that participants will view positively much like they appreciate the amenities they’d find in a VIP lounge in an airport. For the event organizer, furniture can be an easy way for them to state clearly the importance of the audience and the value the host/organizer places on the audience’s comfort.

In many ways, the addition of comfortable, well-designed conversation areas will also aid in learning. Any change that creates an environment that is different than what people are expecting will put them in a different learning space perceptually. Additionally, the more comfortable people are, the happier they are in the space, and the more likely they are to interact positively. By providing a variety of seating options you allow for different kinds of dialogue and group interaction. In a context that is generally focused on a stage, by adding furniture groupings you can add another dimension that encourages collaboration amongst members of each seating grouping.

As hybrid meetings become more and more popular, an essential part of the design equation needs to be looking for new ways to group participants and focus dialogue. Theatre and classroom style arrangements, while great for traditional meetings, work less well, when the conversation is between multiple groups in multiple venues. Living room style groupings–Pods–with comfortable furniture, TVs and even pod-focused cameras create opportunities for different kinds of engagement. With colour options, and custom logo treatments to event furnishings, a strong brand statement can be developed.

The pictures show a variety of seating groupings using more comfortable seating provided by LoungeWorks for both EventCamp Vancouver as well as other clients.

Furniture at work #ecv11

One of the working group optionsAnother environment that worked

On being a Social Media Concierge

At Event Camp Vancouver we had both Liz King and Marc Smith of Amuse Consulting as hosts that were specifically related to the remote audience and who acted as the link between the remote and live audiences.

Here are his thoughts on the experience, and we think it is a great read!

Social Media Concierge

Marc Smith, Social Media Concierge

Technology: Ideal In Its Place

Host Committee Member, EventCamp Producer

Tahira Endean, CMP

ECV11 Technology

Campers at Work using the technology and people power

As we began planning EventCamp Vancouver there was an overriding sense that this would follow the model that focused on innovation, Social Media and technology, following the vision laid out when these began. The fantastic thing about Event Camps however is the ability for the host committees to model innovation in the way that best suits the current EventCamp, so all eight have been quite different, and all valuable to the participants for various reasons.

Case in point, while ECV11 took place at the same time as EventCamp DC, Traci Brown and Adrian Segar stood by innovation, but focused this via a true peer conference strategy as found in Adrian Segar’s Conferences That Work, a book that shows how and why a peer conference can be optimal for small group deep-dive learning and relationship building.  In the end, both events worked on many levels.

In this post we will look closely at the methodology and technology at EventCamp Vancouver.  First, we believe the point of technology is
to support the message.   It cannot overwhelm the message, but its power to enhance learning when used to its maximum potential is irrefutable.  Below are the tools we used and why we used them.

1. Registration Website.

This gave us a place to direct potential  participants to where they could find out more information on what they would gain from attending, and ultimately to register.  Running on the fantastic etouches platform we were able to build the site within their space, manage the payment process, link to our social platforms including the Pathable community, and provide reports in a variety of ways.  In short it was simple for both the participant and the organizer.  The one requirement was a website designer to build the webpage within this and thankfully Eric Lukazewski from Echelon Design supported this process, creating a simple and clean space for finding information.

2.  The EventCamp Vancouver mobile app developed with QuickMobile allowed us to do the following

    • Eliminate paper agendas
    • Manage a community – you could see everyone who was attending both face to face and remotely.
    • Run a game that would encourage sustainability and show our participants many ways that they and our supplier partners could all contribute to making any event more sustainable, enhancing learning
    • Create a gallery where anyone with a smartphone could upload and share photos
    • Recognize our  collaborators and make it easy for participants to find out more information about them

3. Virtually Eliminate signage

    • With the support of Bell, the in-house digital and internet provider at the VCC, we showed off their kiosks, a tool that allows event planners to do a myriad of things including providing program information and collecting evaluation information if you chose
    • Imagine not having to produce paper signage for every meeting room – we had one sign.  The rest used the electronic screens outside each meeting room – saving on production, preparation, shipping and setup – imagine the possibilities!
    • Direct Impact Media produced both our logo loop as well as our collaborator recognition and we were able to run these on the screens in the room several times during the
      meeting providing one form of recognition in a green way

4. AV Basics

Ideally, a show of this magnitude has a Producer (Tahira), a Technical Director (Fred), someone to seamlessly call the show throughout without distractions, A1, V1, vision mixer, camera operators, LD and lighting op – wait basically without our collaboration with AV Strategies, Sonic Foundry, and supported by the infrastructure of Bell, lighting from Riggit and added details from Direct Impact Media, this would have been a meeting with a flipchart!  All of us are grateful for the  experience  created that used technology to support the messages.

From the front of the house, this was a standard setup.  A nice stage provided by Scene Ideas and enhanced with sustainable florals from Full Bloom Flowers, simply uplit, two screens for the audience and a comfort monitor for the presenters, along with suitable furniture for the presentations from LoungeWorks (more on how they created this environment in another post).

We also had a plethora of wireless handheld and lav mics so the audio  feed would be properly captured for the livestream (and archive), a podium with laptop feed for when it was needed, music playback, video playback, ppt /  keynote slides, skype specific computer for remote presentations, feeds to the live stream from all of these outputs, a camera feed from the room, and a team of experts to setup and seamlessly operate  the above (did I mention the 4am move in?) who not only know exactly  what they are doing, they make suggestions that make the show better, and make the right decisions that will provide the best audience experience.  They come with all the right pieces, and most
importantly the knowledge and the attitude to adapt to on-site changes.

5.  Hybrid Meeting – Connecting Globally

Without  technology and the support of Bell, we would not have been able to share the  fantastic educational offerings with remote participants. WiFi for all the participants allowed those that chose to join the Twitterverse could.  With participants from countries across the
spectrum we felt very fortunate to have this option for event professionals.  We were also able to get their feedback, thoughts and opinions on subjects ranging from collaboration  to hybrid meetings to the challenges we face as an industry, and to have a  diversity of thoughts allows the collective information to be so much  stronger.  It is the partnership of Sonic Foundry and their MediaSite that allowed not only the live streaming but also  the ability to archive and catalog the information, so you can go back and see  it when you have the time.

6.  Presenter Opportunities

The VCC with its partner Bell is fully set up and able to do video conferencing  from any room in the facility. The challenge we ran into was that those on the other end did not have mirroring technology, so we returned to the default of Skype. This allowed us to bring in presenters that were simply not able to travel due to their already busy schedules, but whose thought leadership we recognized would enhance the experience. This happened in real time so we could easily interact and ask questions in real time of these presenters.  Thank you to Ruud Janssen, “Pink Deb” Roth, Mary Boone, Liz King and Heidi Thorne for making the time to share with us.

7.  Hosts – Live, Social Media Concierge and Remote Hosts

With three hosts, Glenn Thayer live, our Social Media Concierge Marc Smith in Vancouver and Liz King in New York City engaging with the remote audience we were able to share and collect more timely and relevant information and to interact in more meaningful ways with the remote audience.  Twitter is a great medium for encapsulating timely snippets and creating a cohesion of the information being shared into ways you can apply now or later, and their ability to drill down to the meaningful posts made the experience richer.

Ultimately, when technology is used to enhance learning, engage the attendees, provide information in a more meaningful way as it touches on more than one sense, allowing our brains to process the data in ways that connect the dots and make it applicable for us, then using technology is the right choice.   When we add in the added benefits outlined  above, the right use of the right technology is something you should be considering as you develop your initial plans and budgets for your meetings, beginning with your objectives and discovering your options.  Let the learning begin!