Decoding Tomorrow:
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Foresights and ideas that expand minds and inspire a change of heart.

The Future of Events and Conferences

20 Oct 2021

To understand what events will look like post-COVID you just have to reflect on our experiences working from home. There’s the good: being able to fit work around your life, being spared the commute, spending more time with family, having a home cooked meal for lunch, wearing your comfiest clothes. And there’s the bad: juggling homeschooling and work at the same time, unstable internet, the blurring between work and home life, isolation and missing the social aspects of work.

Like work, events will be questioned and reinvented. If in the last year you’ve been able to get to a large-scale event, you’ve probably marvelled at the feeling of being in a large crowd again. That will come back. But to think that events will snap back to the way they were is about as silly as any company insisting on a full return to the office in a pre-COVID fashion. 

Like work, the future is hybridised

Live events with digital integration seem like a likely way to capitalise on what we know works (we’re social creatures who are stimulated by communal experiences) and what we’ve learned (digital channels have opened up attendance and made the world more accessible).

But that doesn’t mean running an event and simply live streaming it. We need to think of the digital experience more carefully to create dual experiences that can each be satisfying in their own ways. For instance, digital attendees to a conference should be able to ask questions alongside a live audience. And perhaps using the new digital possibility of anonymising questions is a more honest and entertaining approach that benefits the people in the room and out of it.

Hybrid events also have flexibility built-in. If you’re unable to attend or are on the other side of the world, at least you can watch the playback later. Or even if you attend, you can review the material again and solidify your thoughts. We can create space for content to go deeper and be thoroughly absorbed.

Global companies need inclusive solutions

For international companies who bring together their teams for an annual or biannual event, international travel will be hard to justify — but also not guaranteed in a time where borders can’t be open to all. This inequity will either see events continuing to stay online, or moving to a hybrid model as well. But companies planning to recreate a stand out event at home will find the savings might not be worth the cost. While you’re saving on travel, food and accommodation there are still the platform costs, production costs and the cost of sending event kits to recreate the atmosphere. Once borders open up companies will need to ask themselves: Would this money be better spent directly on giving employees a memorable experience? The value of inspiring people in real life may work out to be worth the cost. 

Some events won’t translate into digital

Trade shows or any event that acts as a smorgasbord of product and ideas will be difficult to transition into virtual events. The nature of them is to allow attendees to wander and be exposed to new things — without necessarily knowing what they’re looking for — these will come back with a vengeance, even if they’ll have a more digital tilt. Perhaps where we’ll see a difference is the post-event follow-up where digital content and opportunities to reach attendees can be even stronger. 

Will virtual events disappear?

Now that we’re used to virtual conferences, Zoom meet-ups and lunch’n’learns they’re probably not going anywhere. But this depends wholly on the objective of the event, the problem with smaller, niche events previously was the investment and logistics needed to pull them off. Virtual events still solve this problem and are an easier commitment for organisers and attendees, offering the chance to create a regular calendar of small get-togethers. The quality of these micro-events has changed drastically too, taking on higher production values and being structured to work better for digital attendees. When an event is mediated through a screen there’s more emphasis on image, visual engagement and novel ways of introducing interaction, so we’ll see these continue to develop too.

Behind the Scenes in Futurist Anders Sörman-Nilsson's Thinque Studio*Behind the scenes at the Thinque Studio where we beam you conference / event and Learning and Development content - from the future

It’s now possible to pull off events that are strong and memorable at a lower cost, and in doing so experiment more with formats and content. Higher-end virtual events will require production expertise beyond event planning as we’ve known it. Smaller events will become more creative and perhaps even more niche. 

Like work, we’ve opened up the spectrum of possibilities. To go back now would be a mistake...

At Thinque, we know that you want to be a transformation catalyst. In order to do that, you need to create transformational moments.

The problem is that the pandemic has changed the way we can meet and connect, which makes you feel frustrated and stuck on how to deliver transformative meetings and events. We believe you deserve the reward of catalysing cultural change and personal growth for your team members. We understand the constraints the pandemic has placed on the meeting and LnD industry which is why we co-design award-winning and impactful thought leadership campaigns and digital moments with the likes of Adobe, Facebook, Microsoft and ING Australia.

Here is how we do it: a. Schedule a complimentary session with futurist Anders Sörman-Nilsson from our custom-built virtual events studio b. Receive a tailored design proposal to take the headaches out of your internal stakeholder pitch c. Book a HD / HiFi keynote / LnD program / brand collaboration with Anders and the team at Thinque.

So, schedule a meeting by dropping us an email today.

Get in touch with the Thinque team now, so you can stop zoom fatigue, tech crashes, and wasting event budgets, and instead expand minds and inspire a change of heart, drive cultural transformation and create sustainable profits for your company.



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