About Ruud Janssen

Event Design Collective

Ruud Janssen is driven to help teams in NGOs, membership-based organisations and corporations discover how to design better events to create change that matters. As a globetrotting innovator, he is a trusted trainer and advisor to inspired clients like the International Olympic Committee, UN and Internet Society. He believes in delivering innovation by thinking differently based on functional, social and technological advancements using business and event model innovation. Together with Roel Frissen he created the #EventCanvas and is the co-founder of Event Design Collective -the event design consulting & training firm www.eventcanvas.org.

Q: Why do we need to rethink the way we organise our events? 

Event owners are faced with the need of change and are frustrated by understanding how to implement that with their events. We use our three-stage process that we teach them or work with them directly on applying it in their organisation. It allows them to get grip on how their own events create value and how to measure success through behaviour change. Ultimately through applying the Event Design using the Event Canvas™️ methodology they become change makers and confident leaders of event design in their own organisation.

Q: What is wrong with the format of meetings as we have them now? 

Many events apply a fairly simple method. -> Rinse, wash, repeat. 

If the origins of the event narrative have never been intentionally designed, you cannot expect that to lead to the desired outcome. When the narrative of what behaviour gets changed, for whom and how that is done, fails from the story of the event then it’s usually going to be lame and boring. It takes effort (+some team and time) and a process to articulate the event story and hence we have devised the Event Canvas™️ and a methodology to do just that. Anyone can use it and its downloadable for free including the first 100 pages of the Event Design Handbook at www.eventcanvas.org.

Q: What is the definition of a good meeting design? 

Design (as a verb: to design) is the intentional creation of a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process.

  • Consider the word ‘Intention’, it implies that there is some form of predetermination.
  • And when it comes to Event Design this rings true, during the course of the learning modules we aim to show you how to pre-determine the change you would like to drive with your event. However, even the process itself has been predetermined and it’s important that you, as the facilitator, keep in mind how the process fits together and what the role of the separate elements are.

“Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.”

  • The Event Design process must not be mistaken for a recipe. It’s rather a methodology helping you and the team involved in the event design to develop an effective strategy while giving them the confidence to manage and make essential decisions.

Great Event Design doesn’t (always) guarantee a great event.

However good your event design, it remains an exercise on paper that then needs to be realized by a team who know how to deliver events. Rest assured, the design you have created on the Event Canvas is the best briefing document any event planner could wish for. Knowing the Stakeholders you need to delight, their ENTRY and desired EXIT BEHAVIOURS, what each Stakeholder EXPECTS, their PAINS, JOBS TO BE DONE, and at what COST and REVENUE levels you are going to deliver the PROMISE, as well as having a clear picture on the COMMITMENT of resources of time and expected RETURNS, will prime the execution of the event.

It then takes a great team to execute and deliver on the narrative of the event design. This is where clarity in the narrative and great execution is key. Having a common language is king in great execution.

Q: Who is a ‘meeting designer’?

The way we design events broken (or maybe has never really existed). Hence, the event owners need to have a way to address what they want from their events with their team. This is the reason why we created the Event Canvas to create a common language and a practice to design events. The Event Design using the EventCanvas™️ methodology can be learned by anyone to design better events. Also, the Event Canvas™️ is published under Creative Commons 4.0 license and translated by the community of practitioners (into 14 language to date).

Q: Give us an example of one of your favourite, well-designed meetings? 

There are many well designed events. But there are many more mediocre or even poor events. The most recent events I participated in that get me and our team at the Event Design Collective excited include:

  • MPI’s European Meetings & Events Conference 2019 in The Hague #EMEC19
  • The College of Extraordinary Experience

We took the effort to deconstruct their design using the EventCanvas to understand how they created value.

Q: What always makes you smile?

Great Event Design = a smile in the mind. (to quote a great designer)

+ any of the projects listed here: https://edco.global/portfolio/