Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity - not a threat.
- Steve Jobs
I read this article a while back from Elite Meetings on "What's Next for Meeting Formats" and have a few thoughts of my own for 2011.
While the Unconference format has been around for many years, I see it gaining strength this year. Birds of a feather learning from each other with a keynote or panel to kick off and close the day is a great way to extend the concept of user-generated content.
Hybrid meetings that extend the face-to-face to the audiences who can't be there will get more sophisticated. Take Event Camp Twin Cities as a great example. Not only was the onsite conference heralded as a great success, many online participants were able to have productive inclusion and conversations due a dedicated event manager and facilitator for the online participants.
Continuity between general sessions, breakout sessions, expo experiences, and evening events will really get beefed up in 2011. Event organizers are beginning to truly understand how integrated marketing concepts can make the attendee experience more immersive and reinforce key messages.
Social media will part of the experience, not just a promotional tool. VMWorld 2010 was a great example of how attendees used social media to share their learnings and experiences with their friends and colleagues, making those of us who weren't there in person enjoy the experience as if we were there, too.
Low quality, almost user-generated, video clips of keynotes and breakouts will be able to extend the event experience to those who could not attend. Word of Mouth Supergenius and BlogWell do this phenomenally well and have allowed me to enjoy great learnings despite my inability to be there in person. In addition to video, these conferences - much like TED - share rich content in short bursts; usually in under 20 minutes. Gone are the days of the 1.5-hour keynote. Welcome the moments of short brilliance, followed by opportunities to discuss the concepts with your peers.
That's what I see on the horizon for this year. What do you think events and meetings will evolve into in 2011?