Purposeful Events & Design Thinking

Two new trends, Purposefulness and Design Thinking, have emerged as areas of interest to Leaders, Sales Teams, HR and Events/Meetings Managers. Here is a quick run-down and how these trends present exciting opportunities for innovation in Events.

Alistair Kerr writes about Purpose Leadership which highlights the habit of intensive intentional focus of leaders on where they are going and the path that will take them there. This is attained through asking themselves simple but powerful questions each day to keep focused.

Ian J Lowe writes about Selling on Purpose which is about how purpose is a choice we can all make and is derived from connecting to each other in relationships, touching lives by being of service to others and through taking risks and learning new things.

Carina Bauer writes about Purposeful Meetings and how to plan with deeper meaning, innovation and insight in mind. By becoming more purposeful, event managers can demonstrate a new competitive edge. She outlines five tangible areas of focus that will help events and meetings become more purposeful:

  • Behavioural Science – for improved team communication, genuine connection, influence and recall.
  • Health and Well-being – incorporating healthy food, hydration and relaxation to energise.
  • Meeting and Event Design – understanding how purposeful design with light, air, sound, smell, touch and white space can assist collaboration, connection, learning and personal transformation.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility & Legacy – connection with non-profits, engaging with community, sustainability and the impact of ‘rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle’ is both a passion with millennials and X Gens and creates powerful connections.
  • Technology –how keeping pace with the benefits of new technologies in events is a hallmark of a purposeful event manager.

Brendan Doherty writes about creating events with purpose as being the evolutionary path to providing authentic experiences for the young conscious consumer of today. This presents opportunities for Event Managers to express greater brand purpose and provide more immersive experiences through event design. He outlines five key areas and ideas of how experience design can tell a brand story and connect with human values:

  • Environmental Innovation – making event waste streams smarter, integrating food rescue into events, substituting fresh cut flowers for succulent centrepieces sourcing local talent and using the share economy to transport staff.
  • Social Impact & Community Innovation – let your staff hiring and vendor selection reflect your values, partner with non-profits, source food locally an even integrate the grower into the event narrative.
  • Measure Your Living Data – measure what matters with our environmental, social and community impacts such as carbon footprint and waste diversion. This data adds depth and purpose to your event or brand story.
  • Tell Your Story – bring data to life by making it visually and interactively engaging with touch screens. There are gaming apps that let them track the micro-impact and get rewarded for energy saved, water conserved or waste avoided.
  • Human Centred Design – uses unconventional spaces, repurpose under-used spaces with natural light, biophilic design uses plant walls, grassy lawns, water, dappled light and temperature control to elicit creativity, focus, collaboration or relaxation.

This idea of Design Thinking has also emerged in the field of Human Resources. David Mallon provides tips for introducing design thinking into people strategies.

Marc Boisclair believes design thinking is the future. For event managers this means thinking about what intrinsically motivates an attendee and getting deep into their mindset. Personalise the message by thinking about what makes attendees tick – job satisfaction, community service, earning power, quality of life, transformation and designing an experience that delivers that result.

Millennials and Gen Xers in particular want to be a part of something larger than themselves. They care about economic equality, social responsibility and protecting the environment. How can you as the Event Manager align and deliver all these messages in delightful, surprising and purposeful way?