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Case study: SAP Sapphire 2022 (10 locations)

When I was invited to be part of the jury at the International Corporate Events (ICE) Awards, I jumped at the opportunity. I was really excited to join this international jury, as it gave me a front row seat to see what some of the best corporate event planners are doing, but there was another reason. This year was the first time that the ICE Awards took place in Germany, after six successful editions in London. The awards ceremony took place in Munich, which is one of my favourite cities in Europe. It’s always a pleasure to visit Munich, and the awards were in June, which is mid-summer, so that was a bonus. 

I was blown away by the quality of the events and their execution. I judged two categories: Best Customer Experience – Live; and Best Transformational Change. I read through all the submissions, narrowed down my selections to three finalists in each category, and then got together with the other judges to choose the winner. There were so many excellent entries that it was hard to pick just one, but eventually we decided on SAP Sapphire 2022 in the Best Transformational Change category, and Siemens Energy Business Conference 2022 in Best Customer Experience – Live. 

SAP Sapphire 2022 event stood out for the way they ‘retired’ the old event format and designed a novel event concept to adapt to new times and changing customer needs. This is a prime example of what you can achieve if you have vision and are willing to make big changes to bring that vision to fruition. 

Event legacy in a hybrid world 

When we think of the word ‘legacy’, mega events like the Olympics and FIFA World Cup immediately spring to mind. These events are known far and wide, and large amounts of time and money go into their organisation, with the aim of positive long-term impacts in the host city through the infrastructure development, event attraction and tourism. But what about smaller events? These are often forgotten, even though they can have just as strong a legacy. The days where meetings were just meetings are over. Audiences expect experiences beyond the act of gathering together, sharing a meal and socialising. What happens at the event is important, but the impact and legacy are significant measures of event success. 

In this interview with Meg Strahle, Sustainability Manager at The Bulb Eco, we discuss event legacy in a hybrid world (combining live and virtual events). Both of us have reaped the benefits of event legacy and its power to partnerships. In fact, Meg and I met online, and collaborated on multiple occasions. Meg had helped me to launch and coordinate the Event Planners Talk hackathon in April 2020 and the Event Planners Talk Digital Festival in June 2020. Meg is a source of inspiration and an expert in events management and sustainability. She holds a Master of Research in Sustainable Futures, Master of Tourism in Hospitality and Events and Bachelor in Media Communications. 

By working together on these virtual events as a community and learning from each other, we’ve found lasting relationships that have led to new business ventures. We wrote an ebook together and created business plans, resources of which are available to anyone who needs it. Furthermore, through shared learning and experience, we’ve found that participants of our events have gone on to inspire others through their own blogs, social media channels and events. 

In this interview with Meg we present elements that event planners can incorporate to generate a lasting impact for their events, no matter how small or large, live or virtual. This interview took place in April. Meg joined from London and I was in Bern at Hotel Kreuz

The role of esports in employee engagement: Case study of PwC Gaming Masters

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC Germany) is the host of an innovative and award winning recruitment event format called the PwC Gaming Masters. PwC Gaming Masters uses esports, short for electronic sports, played as an online video game with competitors which spectators can watch for entertainment. The PwC Gaming Masters was founded in 2017 by Gian Luca Vitale, Gaming & Esports Advisory, Lead Business Development Gaming & Esports at PwC Germany, who also holds the naming rights for this event. This novel concept for recruitment, talent attraction and retention connects PwC with new and ambitious talent and invites them to compete in online gaming and develop skills that are important in the workplace: teamwork, strategic thinking, collaboration, flexibility and decision-making, among others, and also other corporates can join the competition and experience corporate esports.

Esports is growing rapidly and attracting the attention of big brands to its tournaments, livestreams and athlete sponsorships. This competitive video gaming format strongly appeals to Generation Z (born from 1997 to 2012), a younger demographic which is difficult to reach with traditional advertising and that’s one of the reasons why brands are paying close attention to the growing esports industry. In this interview with Gian Luca Vitale, he explains the importance of esports, who are the stakeholders in this industry, what the future looks like, what is corporate esports and how to attract more female players to this industry. 

The interview took place in April in Interlaken at the Congress Kursaal Interlaken and Gian Luca joined remotely from Dusseldorf. 

Event design ideas inspired by my visit to Art Basel 2022

In recent years I’ve developed an interest in art, architecture and design. My interest deepened in large part from working with MICE (Meeting, Incentive Travel, Conferences and Exhibitions) destinations and venues that focused on these topics. Through site visits, interviews and conversations, I was able to familiarise myself with prominent names and works in the architecture and design world.

A prime destination for art and architecture is Basel, Switzerland. It’s a city with world renowned museums such as the Kunstmuseum Basel, Fondation Beyeler, Museum Tinguely and many others and is a base of several prominent architecture bureaus such as Herzog and de Meuron, the designers of Messe Basel, Beijing National Stadium and Elbe Philharmonic Hall. There’s a major street art scene in Basel, and Basel is the host of the world famous event, Art Basel. It sparked my interest in event venues and the experience itself opened my eyes to all the possibilities of this new world.

After learning about Art Basel, I set a goal to attend it. One of the world’s most important international art fairs, this inspiring event pushes the boundaries of creativity and design, showcases new artistic work, uses the entire city as a big and colourful gallery and presents innovation and trends that many industries can learn from. This year, Art Basel took place from 16 to 19 June. I visited it over two days and I’m thrilled to share with you all my insights.

Participant experience design — moving from the old to new event world

One of the presentations that highly inspired me to think differently about event design took place in 2019 at the MICE Forum at ITB Berlin (Organised by VDVO). Even after all these years, and a pandemic in between, these principles remain extremely important when we want to create a seamless attendee experience at events, be it live, virtual or hybrid, and put the human in the centre. I want to re-share this article that I wrote back in 2019 and was initially published on VDVO website, because the principles of event design remain the same, the human is in the centre of every experience that we want to design for our events and technology should enhance this experience, and not replace it.

In 2019 the ITB MICE Forum theme was ‘The Human Factor’. The conference programme was designed to highlight the importance of the individual who is the centre of every live event. In the connected world we live in today, the personal needs of each attendee have become even more important, and technology should enhance this experience, and not replace it. One of the talks that impressed me the most was ‘Participant experience design – how do we create meetings which move people more deeply?’ given by Felix Rundel, Co-founder, futurehain (at the time of the presentation Executive Director of Falling Walls).