Takeaways from EventCamp Twin Cities 2011

Published by Sara Olbrantz | Topics: Associations, Conferences

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EventCamp Twin Cities (ECTC11) is known as the “innovation lab for events.” If you are in the meetings industry, being there is like the clichéd kid in a candy store… Except it’s more like meeting professionals in a playground of technology.

I sat down with Tony Veroeven who travelled to Minneapolis for the two day conference Aug. 25-26, and he shared with me his take on sessions, campfires, gaming and the overall experience of the innovation lab.

Tony’s Three Takeaways from ECTC11

  1. Finding new ways to present information in order to better engage attendees is vital. Tony’s favorite session was “Social Media Pecha Kucha Springboard” coordinated by Adrian Segar of Conferences that Work. Pecha Kucha presentations are six minutes, forty seconds long (consisting of 20 slides x 20 seconds each). The speaker has no control over the slide change; it changes every 20 seconds, like it or not!
    A broad range of topics were covered, and the short presentation time forced speakers to be concise and memorable. The Social Media Pecha Kucha Springboard session included a Q & A afterwards with each of the speakers. “The Q & A is vital as it’s a great way to keep attendees engaged after the presentation/event,” Tony commented.  He went on, “Pecha Kecha is a fresh new way to present information, and it makes me wonder – What would happen if conferences went to this format?”
    The popular alternative and very similar concept to Pecha Kucha are Ignite Sessions which are 20 slides x 15 seconds totaling 5 minutes. ASAE11 recently held Ignite Sessions at their Annual Meeting, and attendees loved them!
  2. Frequent scheduled breaks are necessary during conferences not only to rest the mind, but to keep it going as well.  ECTC11 scheduled multiple “digital campfires” throughout the day where attendees were welcome to rest and take in all the session information, or interact with speakers, attendees and virtual attendees (to continue to engage). Tony found the campfires particularly refreshing stating, “It’s much better than the fire hose effect of throwing too much information one way at one time. Campfires allowed us to take it all in, and reach out to speakers and each other.”
  3. Interactive gaming at events is great for engaging attendees, speakers and sponsors. ECTC included an interactive gaming element where attendees (live and virtual) worked together in teams to earn badges and complete challenges that showed their knowledge of session content, and encouraged them to try new things with social media platforms. While concentrating on earning the most badges and listening to the speakers was a little difficult at times, Tony notes that it was a fun way to drive traffic to sponsors, speakers and sessions.

Overall, Tony found ECTC to be a “grand experience.” The innovation lab welcomed experimentation with new and emerging technologies in meetings and events. Everything may not have gone perfectly, but that’s the point. Tony quoted ECTC11 Founder Sam Smith, “It’s ok to fail. If you don’t fail, you are not innovating.”

Be sure to check out the Youtube video Tony and his teammates made for their Case Study Challenge. (And make sure to “like” the video!)

Pictured Above: Tony Veroeven and Emilie Barta, ECTC11 Virtual Emcee
Photo Credit: Ruud Janssen


About Sara Olbrantz

Sara has worked for Omnipress in the past as our Marketing Communications Coordinator. She has contributed a great amount to make our blog what it is today and has been published in association publications numerous times.

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