VCC – Brain Friendly Food and More

Quite honestly, this innovative and thoughtful menu was too good not to share.

#ecv11 Vancouver Convention Centre Meal

Chef Blair Plates lunch

To be able to put into practice what we are talking about with meeting design and brain friendly foods, and to see and hear about the tangible results was an Event Camp win for all.

Often as meeting planners we will choose from existing menus which may not entirely inspire with their flavours.  More importantly though, the approach often means that we are feeding our delegates high-fat breakfasts, breaks that have many baked goods full of white flour and white sugar leading to carb and sugar loads that have a negative impact on learning and engagement as your body struggles with the chemicals they release in the brain which leads to the “rush” and then the crash, rather than a stable release of blood sugars that allow for maximum meeting energy.

 With Event Camp Vancouver we worked with the Chef to try a fresh approach and the snacks below were available always through the day, so participants could go out at any time and re-energize on their own schedule.

For more information on Chef Blair Rasmussen’s philosophy and approach to creating nutritious and delicious food in the Vancouver Convention Centre’s scratch kitchen can be found here  

The Menu

 Morning Energy Bar

Low Fat Yoghurt Mango Banana Shots

Build Your Own Granola 

Gluten-free Chocolate Almond Loaf

Smoked Oceanwise Salmon, Emmenthal and Free-Range Egg Popovers

Fruit Energy Shot Blocks

Whole Fruit Basket 

Espresso Drink Bar with a Range of Espresso Drinks with Skim, 2% and Soy Milks, Matcha Tea Lattes, Vancouver Convention Centre Wildflower Honey 

Raspberry Smoothie and Watermelon, Organic Orange, Grapefruit and Carrot Juices

Pitchers of Water

Lunches at meetings are often heavy, or multi-course or buffet, and often are also high carb, leading every speaker to ask to not have that post lunch spot! Chef Blair and his team presented an incredible, light, fresh lunch full of local ingredients, and the participants really appreciated having something different. 

Lunch was presented with family style platters for the salad skewers and mini-dessert pops with the main presented in a “bento box” format shown above.

Platters of Caprese Salad Skewers

Spot Prawn Cucumber Sunomono, Micro Greens, Oceanwise Albacore Tuna Tataki and Avocado Tartar on Grilled Papadum,Vegetable Tofu Crepe Roll, Aldersmoked Free range Chicken, Chanterelles and du Puy Lentils

Platters of Double Chocolate and Lemon Cake Pops, Light Raspberry Ricotta Cakes, Apple Kuchen 

Afternoon Energy Bar

Build Your Own Trail Mix 

Garden Vegetable Crudités,

Gluten-free Crisps, Yogurt Dip and Hummus

Cranberry Oat Bites, Kamut Shortbread

and again the Fruit Energy Shot Blocks, Espresso Drink Bar,  Hydration Station were again available.

We knew we were providing the nutritional basis for keeping the attendees alert, so we added small details, a sand trough to play in, playdoh and markers at the lunch table, and an amazing environment to ensure that all the senses were engaged, each piece leading to greater retention of learnings and more “connecting the dots” which leads to greater future application of learning.

Thank you to the Vancouver Convention Centre and Centerplate Catering for understanding and working with us to deliver this innovative menu.


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.

Food fit for Circus Camp

At the beginning of the planning process for EventCamp Vancouver, Culinary Capers came on board to serve up delicious fare for our Saturday night event at the Underground Circus rehearsal space. This was to be an evening where “Fear is Just a Word” and where we could play with our food as well as the apparatus.   It was also important for us to stay with the sustainability we had woven through the balance of EventCamp Vancouver, and Culinary Capers is a major proponent of using local, fresh, seasonal ingredients, and in constantly innovating and reinventing food presentation, and they definitely delivered!

Culinary Capers cream puffs

The Cream Puff Cart ready for action

ECV11 Saturday Evening Menu is here for your perusal and enjoyment.  We thought it was fabulous – every single bite!

Then there was the circus – and what a lot of fun this was.  Campers could climb the skyladder, take a turn on the triceau, watch performances including crazy contortion, learn how to fall, talk to the owners of Culinary Capers Vancouver and Beijing via Skype, have a chat with a California green event planner, Joella of Mumtaz Events who kindly joined into the party, make a shadow in the shadow box, swing around on any of the moving platforms hung at sitting level, and enjoy simply fantastic food with a glass of wine poured by a wine fairy.  This was a night unlike any other experience that our guests had participated in – and one that won rave reviews.  We are still grateful to Peter, Ninon and the acrobats for welcoming us and making this a simply great party!

Corinne Kessel Climbs

Corinne Kessel of Greenscape Decor is up the ladder!

Underground Circus contortion

Not to be tried at home!

Challenges & Solutions – Small Business

On Saturday morning we deep dove into challenges the industry in general and the people in the room needed to address.  You can watch here, and the recap is below.

(the full catalog of sessions is here)


Our industry is full of small businesses, often collaborating, often on their own to deal with challenges. This session saw more than 15 small business owners enjoying a frank discussion with others in similar positions about where we are now and how we can move forward together.

Challenge or Problem Discussed Solutions Discussed
IT Challenges – Not enough time to up-keep systems – Not enough time to train all staff on systems and properly implement systems –  Expense of adding systems and then up-keeping exorbitant –  How to hand learning from person to person year to year – Breakdown challenge of tech and information to CHAMPIONS.  Have individuals hold small detailed elements of information rather than everyone knowing everything – Work collaboratively with other business’ to share resources – eg:  share a tech or IT guy –
Value Challenges –  How do we differentiate ourselves in an ever increasingly competitive market place where companies are overlapping in skill sets – Timelines shrinking so lowest common denominator thinking and acting takes hold –  Ideas migrate and become same – market ever fickle – Focus business on relationships and building relationships –  Increased competition almost means you need to work MORE closely with competitors.  Share knowledge of marketplace and plan strategically.  Share resources at cross over points
– Differentiation of Small business’ vs independent operators.  Ie: challenges of business’ with 5 – 10 employees are very different from those with 1 or 2. – Smaller companies can pick and choose.  Can focus on being more specialized.  Don’t have to do RFP’s – Larger small business’ with larger overhead are forced to go after and scramble for more work.

69 Event Marketing Ideas

Collected by Shawn Cheng

EventCamp Vancouver challenges

Collaboration in Action

One of the sessions during EventCamp Vancouver was focused on the challenges currently being faced by Event and Meeting Planners and on finding solutions to these.  Shawn collected these on behalf of his Collaborative Group to share with all of us to learn from.  (and they didn’t even mention a great commercial!)

Marketing Ideas we come up about attracting people to your conference/events:

  1. Email Blasts x3
  2. Website x4
  3. Word of mouth x 6
  4. Social media x3
  5. Social Media: Create an event Facebook page x5
  6. Have speaker tweet/ Facebook the event
  7. Facebook sharing
  8. Blog
  9. Social Media: Linkedin x2
  10. Social Media: Tweets x3
  11. Posters x4
  12. Post Card
  13. Flyers in mail
  14. Media (press release) x5
  15. Partner promotion
  16. Work-related Education/ Training
  17. Promote at events that has related interesting
  18. Groupon Offers to event
  19. Ensure your message is clear x2
  20. Check rates, venue consignations
  21. Be clear about your target audience x4
  22. Email notification & reminder x2
  23. Have interesting speakers or topic that can attract people
  24. School (university) x3
  25. Community x3
  26. Promoted at venue’s website
  27. Website: Evites
  28. Website: Eveentbrite
  29. Promoted at Shopping Mall
  30. Promoted at related association’s website
  31. Local community centres
  32. Media: Radio x2
  33. Cross Market w/ partners’ website
  34. Promoted at Grocery store
  35. TV commercial x2
  36. Facebook event invite x2
  37. Internet
  38. Signage
  39. Direct invitation mail x2
  40. Follow people with interesting related to the event topic
  41. Go to event held year prior to promote your event and create excitement x2
  42. E-Distribute a video/post at YouTube…unique invitation x2
  43. Celebrity endorsement
  44. Referrals source
  45. Testimonial
  46. Web presence (site) with event info
  47. Endorsement by industry expert
  48. Share photos in the social media
  49. Special interest group/event
  50. Advertise (trade papers)
  51. Play game x2
  52. Tell all your friends/family x4
  53. Family participants
  54. Education
  55. Location
  56. Networking
  57. Industry association
  58. Gamification x2
  59. Sponsors x2
  60. Know your audience
  61. Create relevant contents and share to people
  62. Open discussion on social media
  63. Send s note to all author on topic
  64. Have great ideas and people would come
  65. Web link on all commercial
  66. QR code
  67. Include brand/ topic ppl are familiar with event topic
  68. Sell items
  69. Hard copy invitation to attendee database

Takeaways from Remote Host Liz King

We were thrilled when Liz King @lizkingevents agreed to be our remote host supporting our remote audience and keeping the conversations moving.

First the takeaways from the attendees

Then, the lessons learned as a remote host  – thanks for sharing these!

Thanks again Liz – until next time!

Liz King Event Camp Vancouver

Liz says Hello Event Campers