MPI Netherlands Chapter was not merely the host chapter, it fully managed the event, with will financial responsibility over it (it managed the P&L) as well as the conception and content. An exceptional solution (for next year’s edition in Seville, the association will go back to managing the event), following the desire to be fully in charge.
The four-day event, held from 9-12 February in The Hague, offered a balanced combination of education, experience and networking. The programme consisted of four different tracks: risk management, design thinking, leadership and meeting perspectives. It gathered 330 professionals and followed the theme 'Changing the Game', a tagline which weas applied throughout the event by speakers, moderators, and even the event team which wore “Game changer” T-shirt. You know messages have to be repeated to be assimilated.
This message of change and the idea of a stimulating conference could be experienced in several ways:
- Welcome. The event team was fun, smiling, interactive, helpful and welcoming. You got to the conference and they would orient you in a fun way using a giant inflatable orange hand, and hi-five you. A great way to feel you get to a stimulating conference.
- Fresh setups. No strict old-style setups: all setups were flexible, you could take your stool and move it to create a temporary working group with other delegates. And yes, the furniture was stylish (meeting design is not limited to cool setups... but they help!).
- Participants of the stage. For the welcome session, all delegates were welcome on the stage, looking at the seats of the auditorium, which materialised the concept that “you are not the attendee, you are the change maker”.
- Following rule number one of meeting design, instead of the traditional 'sitting and listening' the participants were constantly encouraged to interact: all sessions included a talk by a speaker and several little exercices in order to interact and digest the messages.
- Make it playful. During the opening on Saturday in the Louwman Museum, participants went on a discovery tour through the museum with various assignments, which resulted in networking moments right at the start of the event.
- Experience the city. On Sunday, delegates went on one of the seven learning journeys, in the city (experience local assets, you know...). They visited companies and organizations outside the meeting and event sector, such as research institute TNO, cress-food company Koppert Cress and Blijdorp Zoo, to come up with new insights that could be applied within the sector. This not only provided knowledge and inspiration, but also offered guests an introduction to The Netherlands.
- Escape rooms are unstoppable! Here too the star format of the moment was applied. On Sunday afternoon, artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde gave a gripping keynote speech in the Fokker Terminal, showing how to create special projects by thinking outside the box. His speech was followed by a surprising lockdown of the Fokker Terminal, which delegates had to collaborate in order to find a set of clues to get out of this giant ’escape room’.
- Presentation of the menu. On Monday, the educational program was split into four deep dive sessions. The day started with a summary of the four tracks to enable delegates to choose theirs.
- Event canvas. The conference included a workgroup on event canvas, whose (very graphic) result was displayed in the coffee area of the conference, enabling impromptu conversations and debates with the participants.
The last day was marked by the ‘Festivalisation of Events’ with, among others, speaker Irfan van Ewijk, co-founder of ID&T who explained how to translate the festival feeling into meetings and events.
For the design process of this event, MPI Netherlands Chapter received assistance from Event Design Collective: more than 60 professionals worked voluntary on the event. The event has been conceived, like every edition from EMEC since the edition of Granada (2017) with the Event Canvas method, that Angeles Moreno (responsible for Event Canvas in Spain) defines as pure design thinking applied to the events sector, and that puts the attendee in the center of the conception process of the event. A way of working that ensures a method and a certain continuity and coherence in this annual event.
Now... see you in Seville for EMEC 2020.
Photo credit: Ramon van Jaarsveld, www.clickshots.nl