Our concept developer Marijke de Wit has packed her toolbox for events full of creative ideas. But when all physical events got replaced with digital events, even Marijke, with 12 years of experience, had to take a moment to regroup. "Luckily, our way of conceptualizing remained the same, we still look at demand, objective, and target group, but the big challenge was in the implementation." Corona made sure that she had to look at events from a TV perspective. For Marijke, that was no reason to panic. Instead, there was room for discovering new ideas and techniques. It was time for her to complete the digital event toolbox.
Creativity in lockdown
To come up with a good concept, Marijke uses brainstorming sessions. ''Inspiring and challenging each other, testing ideas together, and putting thoughts together; that is how I like to work and be productive.'' When it was temporarily impossible to brainstorm physically because of working from home, she started looking for digital alternatives.
''We found Miro and InVision. Both sites offer digital mood boards where you can share your creative ideas with colleagues or just by yourself. We soon found out that it did not give us the optimal result. I need peace and space to come up with good ideas. It did not work for us through a computer screen. That is why we quickly started thinking about other ways that were corona-proof. For example, we often went on a walk to brainstorm. By being active, we came up with more ideas.''
In addition, she followed a course to develop her creative brain. “Through various (drawing) techniques, we have stimulated our brain to come up with new ideas more easily, to associate faster, to stimulate our imagination, and to see different angles. The course taught me to create focus and approach projects from different angles. These techniques ultimately stimulate the creative process, and I still use them today. One of those techniques is to omit the most essential part. The pandemic is a good example. In one fell swoop, no events were allowed to be organized. Creative idea after another surfaced. From drive-in to home packages, these are ideas that would not have arisen without the arrival of corona."
Keep on surprising
Fortunately, there was already experience with organizing digital events. For example, an international conference or a translation to a digital event format. But what is happening now, according to Marijke, cannot be compared with that. ''There was a leveled playing field for everyone again, and that created space to surprise people with new ideas.''
And then, in the spring of 2020, Marijke received the first big request for a digital summit. “We were now able to process our new knowledge in this event. Because the tension online is much shorter, we had to keep the participants interested and stimulated. That is why we divided the event into various sessions over several days. Something that we could do very easily because people did not have to come to a location. In addition, we stimulated the physical experience at home by having the participants unpack a gift box with a different attribute every day that strengthened the digital moment.” According to Marijke, it immediately became clear that something simple can have a lot of effects. And the participants rated their involvement with the organization after the summit with a 9.3.
“Thanks to the digital event format, new initiatives are also emerging to keep events active that we would never use at physical events. For example, an interactive walk with music or a podcast. Or several short brainstorming sessions in series with different participants. That is impossible to organize with a large live audience, and now it is possible!"
After the past corona year, Marijke has provided her toolbox with a lot of new knowledge and expertise. She also notices that Obsession is increasingly involved in the content of an event. ''And I am not referring to the program content, but real textual and substantive advice. We act as an editor for them. As I mentioned earlier, we make television these days. And for that, everything has to be filled in for every minute. Clients want to know from us how that relates to the rest of their event.”
After a year of digital and sometimes hybrid events, we will soon finally be able to return to the physical meeting. But of course, that does not mean that the era of digital events will end. “Hybrid will still be popular for a while. It would be a sustainable alternative, especially at international events, because that way there is less travel movement.” Would you like to know more about hybrid events? Then continue reading here.