Obsession Dialogues 2023 recap

On Monday, December 11th, the third edition of Obsession Dialogues took place at Felix Meritis Amsterdam. This flagship event brings together clients and partners to engage in dialogue on relevant themes that play a significant role in our field. We delved into the crystal ball and collectively explored "The New KidZ on the Block - Gen Z" and the potion called AI (artificial intelligence).

The origin of Obsession Dialogues

This event was first organized in 2020 with the aim of facilitating discussions on current, relevant topics for clients and partners in the events industry. "The structure has been fine-tuned over the years to what it is now; two pressing themes initially elucidated by an expert, followed by host Irene Rompa inviting all attendees to participate. It ensures that everyone is prepared for what's coming and provides our agency with valuable input to further tailor events and approaches to meet clients' needs," said Account Director Hans Klaver.

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LiveTime Changes: Gen Z & Artificial Intelligence

While the first two editions focused on sustainability and data, this time, the spotlight was on two themes that could bring significant changes to our field.

Generation Z (New KidZ on the Block)

Under Irene Rompa's guidance, career coach and generation expert Manou van Eerten delved into the needs of Gen Z. These 'digital natives' are highly visually oriented, adept at numerous communication methods, yet reluctant to make phone calls. They seek authenticity and trust reviews more than slick marketing campaigns. The future lies in honest communication around events with customizable programs tailored to individual preferences. An online pre-event (preferably on a group platform) followed by a live event facilitates a low-barrier digital introduction, leading to easier face-to-face encounters.

During the dialogue, it emerged that the focus in communication and programming often doesn't target Gen Z, as they are not typically the audience for B2B events. Some recurring tips for events targeting this demographic included using a representative of the target group (e.g., a niece) as a sounding board and employing more visual communication, including GIFs, memes, and emoticons.

Manou van Eerten Irene Rompa in gesprek

Artificial Intelligence (The Magic Potion called AI)

AI appears to instantly simplify our lives but simultaneously stirs up a lot of discussion. Experts Bastiaan Groot (founder of AI Lab, Hogeschool Leiden) and Marleen Smit (Google Director Retail) envisioned a future event heavily influenced by AI. For instance, in five years, we might be greeted by an AI (in the form of a hologram or robot) that recognizes us and provides specific information tailored solely to our interests. It's precisely this relevance that's crucial in AI's deployment. How do you ensure that, with all the available knowledge, you deliver only the pertinent information to the right person in the right manner? If executed well, AI can be incredibly helpful, even post-event by providing a recap of speakers' sessions through AI.

Samenvatting en Marleen Bastiaan ingesprek

The audience in the room seemed to have limited engagement with AI, and some wondered if the human aspect might be lost in the future. Those already leveraging AI offered useful tips. If using AI to test your concept, ensure it considers the right target audience (often inherently biased toward a 'white' perspective). Furthermore, challenging AI to include not only 'your likely favorite elements' in personalized programs but also something you absolutely dislike could lead to surprisingly enriching experiences.

Amsterdam Light Festival as dessert

To wrap up the day, participants were treated to a visual open-air museum visible from the Amsterdam canals. The over 50 attendees embarked on an exclusive boat tour, providing space for dialogue among themselves and the program's experts. It was the perfect conclusion to raise a toast to partnership, new opportunities, and the future.

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"We look back on a highly successful edition. With an average score of 8.5, a good number of both familiar and new faces, and a dynamic day filled with insights and engaging conversations, we can confidently say it was a tremendous success. The bar is set high for the next edition, and we've established this event as a staple for inspiration and networking at the year's end. I can't wait for the 2024 edition!" exclaimed Hans Klaver.