IASP is the global network for science parks (STPs), innovation districts, knowledge cities and other areas of innovation (AOIs), supporting its members to drive growth, internationalisation, and effectiveness. For the 2020 edition of their annual world conference, due to the global restrictions to gatherings and travels, they took this opportunity to drive innovation among their members also in this field of activity and decided to move the event to a fully digital experience.
The key objectives of the event were to surprise, entertain and satisfy their Global Community of managers; demonstrate resilience; deliver rich and meaningful content; foster knowledge sharing; deliver ‘live’ sessions with active discussion; produce a best-in-class virtual conference on a robust and effective platform.
Recognising the association’s needs, the international digital team in charge of the event organisation put together a virtual conference format that was particularly innovative with the following unique features:
– AIM Communication, the communication hub of AIM Group, developed a proprietary platform for virtual events that responded perfectly to IASP’s requirements and supported the event’s strong identity. A 3D virtual setting with appealing visuals was completely customised for content sharing and networking and was easy to navigate.
– Virtual networking can be easy and so worthwhile. A tool provided by Gatherly was used to make ice-breaker sessions more spontaneous, offering a real opportunity to meet and video chat with other delegates, with many turning on cameras and joining random smaller groups to say hi as would happen at an in-person conference.
– To engage the delegates, they were invited to become the storytellers: delegates were able to tell their stories during ‘quickfire’ style interviews and other engaging formats, presenting their innovative projects.
– Sponsors on the spot. The virtual sponsorship platform provided online exposure and networking opportunities for all sponsors. An exhibition area offered the opportunity to visit and navigate the company stand, consult brochures, watch promotional videos, click on external company links and establish direct contact with company representatives, arrange an appointment and chat.
– Communication was key. IASP developed a compelling narrative to keep the Community involved and engaged by promoting keynote speeches and revealing new formats.
– A Master of Ceremonies acted as an online facilitator, anchoring all the event sessions, encouraging participants to interact and network.
– A sustainable initiative and positive legacy: IASP offered to plant a cocoa tree in Cameroon for each registered delegate, thus creating a real IASP Forest.