My Lithuanian colleague Indrė Blauzdžiūnaitė, asked this question. I’ve been thinking of an answer to this question for six months. And I keep going back to the lunacy of the “that’s the way we always do it” approach that we’ve had for events in the past. I’m wondering why we didn’t adopt some of these practices we’re seeing now, before. The old way of thinking is not sustainable to our industry.
An event that did not happen is not sustainable.
Echoing what Founder and Former CEO of Social Tables Dan Berger has stated, many small meetings will be replaced permanently by virtual events. Organizing virtual events often require less moving physical parts. To clarify, recorded webinars are not events. Events bring people together and allow for interaction. So, a digital “event” must allow for interaction. We must use our creative minds to create that true sense of connection. Digital events are indeed an opportunity for sustainability when people connect. With digital, we can build an event anywhere, in any place. Even when we can’t be together in person. Learn more about sustainability and virtual events here.
Organizers Become Technical Producers
As we move forward, we will see the distribution shift in roles. The hands-on front-of-house interactive staff will develop more skills in technical production. We’re seeing a dramatic opportunity to invest in professional development and staff training. We are all adjusting to new technologies and embracing them. In order to remain sustainable, we have to keep planning, adjusting, and moving forward. We cannot keep working from the same checklist and playbooks. Plan for Plan B and ask what will it take to weather the next disruption and thrive. See our sustainability pledge and how we approach each event.
People, Planet and Prosperity
Working behind the scenes requires like-minded clients and partners who agree that their event can change everything and leave a positive impact-for the people and planet. The ripple effect lasts long after the event, connections last a lifetime and the space will be eternally better having had a nurturing team make a community thrive. The sense of place, and all the people in that place, help make even a digital event sustainable.
No other industry brings people together to celebrate, learn, debate, encourage, spark, exchange ideas, inspire and innovate. We create temporary experiences. Our events raise awareness through those experiences. They inspire the next generation (and remind the rest of us) to be the change. Our events promote positive change and build communities. The virtual experience and exchange only goes so far, but it also adds so much. The door has been opened to wider audience access and expands the community. I’ve met some of my most engaging colleagues over the past year, virtually! Without digital events, that would not have happened.
Sustainable and Meaningful
In the short term, yes the industry will struggle, but I just can’t wait to see how much better and efficient it will be. The innovative minds who produce events are working hard behind the scenes so when it’s time, these face-to-face meetings, events, and gatherings will be safer, more efficient, and more sustainable….and NOT like the way it was before. I hope we will do things differently, because on the other side of the pandemic, these experiences will be even more meaningful.