Conferences should become spaces of co-creation and problem-solving. Traditional ways of organising conferences do not allow that to happen. Thankfully, there are numerous event organisation methods, techniques and processes that are based on mutual respect, collective intelligence and co-creation out there. The foundation of these methods is active participation that awakens individual and collective potential. We call this foundation; co-creation.
THE STARTING POINT
A participatory approach to event organisation answers one of the key questions of every event: the WHY – Why do we organise events at all and what kind of change do we want to bring about together with the participants? The participants and their active involvement in finding answers to the question mentioned above are central to the methodology explained in this chapter. The methodology is based on different participatory leadership methods that lead to wise answers and solutions. These processes are so strong that they reliably allow us to solve the most complex problems in our daily lives. Moreover, they help us recognise the talents of others and mutually develop strengths. Instead of perpetual complaining, co-creation helps us find common solutions.
Instead of one-way “ex cathedra” lectures, where the attendees are passive receivers of information, we should strive to create a relaxed stimulative environment, where everyone wants to contribute and enrich their experience. The concept is to design an open space where the moderator, speakers and attendees are co-creators. This approach allows participants to return home with fresh views, a different understanding of things and hopefully, real solutions for their problems.
The moderator’s role is key here. An experienced, neutral moderator is priceless, as they can keep the conversation going. They make sure every attendee gets to contribute equally, guides the attendees to a mutual goal and helps visualise the process.
Event organisers should start working with the moderator in the early phases of programme planning. The moderator will be on the front line, so make sure you listen to their thoughts on techniques and tools for engaging the audience. Involving the moderator in the early stages of event planning is also a great way to gain a fresh, unencumbered approach to things and some creative courage. Successful conferences are the result of clearly defined content structure and good co-creation. The concept requires organisers to put in a lot more work than for classical conferences.
Co-creation methods work excellently for when we want to awaken the sleeping wisdom that is in every participant. They can be implemented in different scenarios:
- Strengthening creativity
- Finding innovation
A wide range of techniques have been developed over the years, addressing the different needs and styles of participants. Unfortunately, not a lot of meeting planners make good use of them, so we have gathered some of them on the following pages.
Research shows that approximately 80% of what we know is acquired through informal learning opportunities, not formal training programmes.
TIPS AND TOOLS AKA THE TOOLBOX
The TOOLBOX includes some of the most popular co-creation methods and techniques. For these tools to work, make sure the following conditions are fulfilled:
Active participation: your participants have to actively help solve problems, as that will make them feel that they can actually make a difference.
Finding solutions: encouraging participants to find solutions and causes for certain problems is key.
Solving conflicts: throughout the event, participants need to be guided to an agreement with quality communication and careful listening.
Leading the process: the organisers and moderator need to make sure every participant is involved in the process, without taking any stances that would take responsibility for the final result away from them.
Balancing contribution: every participant needs to have equal opportunity to express their opinion so that extroverts don’t overpower the introverts.
Controlling atmosphere: we can maintain a pleasant atmosphere with different “ice-breakers” that make the participants more relaxed and ready to connect, network and cooperate.
This is a list of 20 exciting co-creation tools. If you go through all of them and find that you need a larger arsenal, professional moderators have plenty more in stock. We could not recommend the Masters in Moderation team more.
Click on the image below to open the toolbox:
The techniques that you just went through are part of the many tools that you can use to realise the co-creation concept at your next event. There are over 500 similar methods out there, and we recommend implementing only those that suit your style of participants. We recommend browsing through the archive of The International Association of Facilitators (IAF) that has one of the largest collections of different ideas.
According to experts, 30–50% of event attendees are introverted. Research shows that introverts get energy from reflection and lose that energy through social interaction. They are often introspective, shy, fear the unknown and are unwilling to socialise. The world of events is dominated by extroverts who rarely understand the thinking of the introverts. The key challenge is creating a balanced environment that suits both types of people. What do introverts like, what are they afraid of, and how to better incorporate them into an event are the main questions of modern event organisation. Many tools from our toolbox can help you involve introverted participants equally into your event.
Slido – the app that has helped make more than 120,000 events more interactive
Most conventional events consist of one-way presentations that leave attendees uninvolved and out of the conversation. This ineffective communication often results in a mismatch between what the presenter is saying and what the audience needs. As a result, attendees don’t get the chance to maximise their learning potential at events.
Slido is an award-winning audience interaction platform for meetings and events. It allows event organisers to crowdsource the best questions for Q&A sessions, get instant feedback via live polls and share presentations with their audience in real-time. Slido gives the audience a voice and allows for questions to be asked and opinions to be expressed via live polls. With live slide-sharing, attendees can bookmark the best slides and easily return to them after the event.