Last week we started talking about expanding our definition of hybrid conferences so we can increase member engagement and at the same time reduce the intense resource risk of producing a big hybrid event while worrying about soft registrations. One way to break any artificial barriers we may have built around our current thinking is to try on different lenses to find various solutions. I’m going to lob a few lens ideas at you now, and I encourage you to let your mind wander and imagine many possibilities. Here is an example so you can see how this exercise works.
What if we had to create a hybrid conference AND we could not spend any additional money on the virtual components of the meeting? Looking at the problem through this lens, we realize that we can only use platforms we already have access to, so let’s assume that we’ll run the virtual part of the conference on Zoom Meetings. We also have access to free platforms like some virtual whiteboarding platforms, Jamboard, Google Docs, and Zoom Meeting features like annotate.
Let’s not forget that we want the virtual components of the conference to be super engaging. There are two key ways to make virtual engaging. One is to deliver high-production value, which is expensive, so a no-go for this lens. The other way to create virtual engagement is to make the event highly participatory. So now we are looking for session formats that work in Zoom Meetings that are highly participatory, which could optionally be enhanced with some free virtual add-ons like virtual whiteboarding. There are many super interactive formats for virtual like group problem solving, trend spotting, small group collaborations, or a variety of virtual networking ideas.
See how this works? Now I will propose a series of lenses, and I would like you to let your mind play with these artificial constraints. Remember, no idea is a bad idea at this stage.
What if we had to create a hybrid conference AND…
- The virtual components need to give all members a taste of the conference, but only in 2 hours or less?
- The virtual components could NOT run simultaneously as the in-person conference?
- The virtual components create demand for the in-person event?
What lenses do you want to create to help you reach your conference goals and help members get theirs?
We are still at the forefront of inventing the hybrid conference experience. Hybrid can be ANYTHING we want it to be. Don’t be shy about throwing in all of your constraints; you might be surprised at how elegant your ideas become.