Interesting December

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Welcome to December's Interesting. A bumper edition of useful resources to help prepare for 2018 as well as snowball fights and turkeys.

Kick off your next event with a snowball fight (2min explore)
Nice way to build participation from the start

Stage set of the year (3min explore)
U2's stunning Joshua Tree tour set broke all sorts of records for using LED, good video here

How to get your audience to risk doing something different (3min read)
Overcome the 'our guys won't do that' objection by creating the right group dynamic

Groundbreaking visual collaboration tool for presenters (3min read)
Really interesting way to increase engagement with presented content

Touchscreen without a screen (3min explore)
Turn any surface into an interactive screen

Eyecon Art (2min explore)
We're big fans of this simple but surprisingly compelling concept. The gallery page has some wonderful ideas for creating artwork out of your audience's eyes

Extremely useful list of event tech (10min explore)
A comprehensive list of event tools from registration to streaming. One to file away

The creative process (7min watch)
Overcoming challenges, self-doubt, changing course, collaboration, it's all here

Ultimate list of event marketing stats (10min explore)
Whether you're writing a presentation for your next event programme or mulling new event tech you'll find a stat to help

How to calculate the value of your lead gen event (3min read)
Compelling ways to demonstrate the value of your sales events

Something interesting to go to:
Smithfield Market's famous Christmas Eve auction (2min read)
Confusingly happening on the 23rd December this rekindled tradition is just the place to pick up your turkey

Something beautiful:
Mesmerising experiential art (2min explore)


Interesting November

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Welcome to November's Interesting. This month we share ideas for listening, sitting, scribing, lounging... and Stormzy.

Most interesting
Interesting Breakfast - The Write-up  (5min read)
Earlier in the month, we hosted the live version of this newsletter sharing the best of the best.

Just plain interesting
Five ways to listen better  (15min watch)
How much of what is said at events is actually heard? Listening tips, talks and exercises are an interesting addition to any agenda.

Sitting outside the box  (2min explore)
We've just taken delivery of some of these. Amazingly sturdy and perfect for designing flexible discussion spaces.

AR for events (2min explore)
This is the tech we think is going to have the biggest impact on events in 2018. The contact exchange functionality is useful, but the ability to layer content and help audiences dive deeper is the really valuable bit.

Questions to ask before booking a venue (3min read)
Don't hamper your event with a restrictive venue contract.

Eleven ways to use scribing at events  (2min explore)
We especially like the live scribing behind the panelists.

Stormzy smashes it at the MTV Awards (2min watch)
Cracking set design.

Igloo lounges (1min explore)

Some interesting things to go to:
A rare opportunity to visit London's WWII underground shelters and watch  Subterranean Screenings, part of the London Transport Museum's Hidden London series.

We're big Abandoman fans - in the spirit of researching talent for your next event, we recommend booking yourself some tickets for the January tour.

If there's something interesting you think we should include next month, please share it via thatsinteresting@liveunion.co.uk


Interesting Breakfast - The Write Up

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The sheer volume of event inspiration can be overwhelming, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram churn out new ideas round the clock. Keeping up is impossible.

At Live Union we set out to sort the hype from the truly useful. Last week’s Interesting Breakfast, held at the Timber Yard in Soho saw us sharing the new ideas, formats and technologies that we’re most excited about.

Speed presentations and hands-on experiences explored five topics at the forefront of re-imagining events. Below are some of the ideas we shared along with some useful links.

Format design

Shifts in what audiences value are being reflected in changing formats:

Newco is an event programme that has completely overturned the traditional conference format, embracing a field-trip approach. Rather than speakers traveling to a conference to talk to an audience, the audience travel to the speakers. Newco’s San Francisco event saw 2000 people able to visit 150 companies across three days to hear presentations.

Audiences report better learning experiences, more relaxed speakers - who are presenting from their home environment - and great networking as they share journeys between companies.

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In general we’re seeing formats that offer audiences more choice and control over how they experience the content. At this year's Oracle Open World the plenary content was live streamed to media walls in an alfresco networking street. New York’s Future of Storytelling festival has found a creative way to help people select the content that’s right for them. They pair 25 speakers with 25 film makers, and in advance of the event create five minute shorts that bring the topics to life.

Spatial design

New ideas for designing and dividing event spaces are stimulate greater networking and collaboration:

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Everblock’s giant building blocks are a flexible and striking way to create huddle spaces and quickly reconfigure your venue. Inflatable structures are evolving to offer every imaginable size and shape, providing interesting opportunities for 360 content.

The trend for adult colouring books is sparking colouring walls at events. This simple concept can be used to stimulate idea sharing, voting and collaboration and audiences enjoy the space coming to life as the event progresses.

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As event formats become more fluid agile seating solutions are a must. These cardboard seats from Festival Chairs are definitely worth knowing about.

Personalization

Technology is allowing events to be both communal and highly individual experiences:

Eventbots are personal concierges that let people request the information that’s most relevant to them at any given moment. There’s no need to download an app or trawl through endless menu options.

Attending events as a virtual delegate has traditionally been a rather limited experience, but now 360 streaming to headsets allows people to choose their own perspective.

Biometrics are delivering innovation in many areas of life including events. Zenus are bringing facial recognition to event registration,  creating a fast, paperless check-in. Meanwhile, Crowd Connected uses data from delegates’ event apps to provide a heat-map of where is most busy, enabling organisers to respond accordingly.

Content Delivery

With events including ever more screens, how you choreograph the content has become a hot area for innovation:

Real time authoring software package, Ventuz, allows you to design stunning animations that can be changed on-site as you would PowerPoint or Keynote. It is also a great package for speakers who wish to share content a non-linear way, giving audiences the choice of what they discuss.

DB Pixel House’s Fusion application is a simple way to control, with a single tablet, content that is playing across multiple screens. This provides opportunities for multidimensional experiences that take delegates deeper into the content.

Augmented Reality is proving a simple, intuitive way to put audiences in control of the content. Using their own device people can tailor their content journey diving as deep as they wish.

Events for Good

Audiences are asking for events that benefit their own well-being and minimise the impact on the environment:

TED has pioneered an alternative to all too often landfill-bound event goody-bags and gifts. Attendees are able to select from different sponsored gifts. Products at the last event included Swell water bottles and LUSH beauty products, all of them having an environmental or well-being angle. To help attendees make their choice the products are brought to life as part of a gift experience, meaning people go home with something they actually want.

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Today’s attendees want brain-friendly learning environments and a refreshing change to the everyday. As a result retreat style events are set to become ever more popular. Osea Island in the River Blackwater estuary in Essex has set itself up is an ideal retreat event location: the perfect place to dramatically re-imagine the event experience.

Thank you to everyone who came along to breakfast we hope it was ... interesting. And, if you haven't already, do sign up for our monthly That’s Interesting newsletter.


Interesting October

B2B

This month we share great thoughts on where B2B events are heading, an inflatable way to divide your event space and how message mapping can help you stick to your objectives. All this and much more in this month's edition of Interesting.

Most interesting
Six insightful thoughts on where B2B events are heading  (3min read)
With events increasingly being the beating heart of B2B marketing plans, six top marketers offer their thoughts on the trends shaping them.

Five things we've learnt  (3min read)
We've had a busy few months so we thought it would be useful to take a breath and capture some of the things we've learnt along the way.http://liveunion.co.uk/wp-admin/post.php?post=1258&action=edit#

Just plain interesting
Chatbots replacing need for an event app  (5min read)
With increasing app fatigue the possibility of having a simple messaging based solution is certainly attractive. If you're not ready to go chatbot only, try it as part of your event app.

Inflatable pods  (2min explore)
As we look for ever more flexible, participative, active formats being able to create spaces within spaces is a must. These inflatable structures are just the ticket.

Using message maps to land your event objectives  (2min read)
Events have so many moving parts that there's a real danger the nicely framed objectives you start with get lost along the way. This is a useful tool to avoid that.

Jaguar - go for actual reality  (2min watch)

A handy tool for finding unusual venues  (1min explore)

Something interesting to go to:
Our very own tech aficionado, Harriette, is going to be talking at Event Tech Live, discussing what she finds clients really want from event technology - feel free to share your thoughts with her!


Five things we’ve learnt recently…

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It's been a busy few months of events. Here's a quick taster of some of the things we've learnt along the way.

Play is the perfect antidote for technophobes

Digital transformation is a term that pops up in lots of briefs. Events are seen as a great opportunity to get hands-on with new technology. For many people this spells humiliation.

We’ve overcome this with something we call the digital playground. Giving people fun, lively, creative, experiences of technology. It could be VR painting with Google Tiltbrush or trying out a pair of Snapchat Spectacles, the result is to stimulate a positive tech mindset.

The richer the content the harder the navigation

Content can be overwhelming. Museums know this. That’s why they develop things like online tools for planning your visit.

Something we’ve borrowed from the museum world is the curated tour. Small groups book on to tours and are guided through the content, helping them orientate themselves and plan the rest of their experience. It’s a simple idea that can be expanded upon as a self-guided tour via your event app.

Gamify like you mean it

Events can ask too much of their audience: network, explore content, come up with ideas, share pithy insights via social media. Gamification, done badly, is just another ask of an already frazzled delegate.

That said, when really committed to and positioned at the heart of the event, with clearly communicated goals and motivating rewards, gamification adds amazing value and leads people deeper into an experience.

There’s always another content dimension

Sometimes your options seem limited. A small exhibition stand in a hectic expo hall, where getting noticed is the priority, might not seem to offer a way to communicate detailed content.

We recently overcame these constraints using AR. Visitors could journey deeper into an augmented layer of information, accessed via tablets interacting with the stand’s photography. It was a simple, easy to execute, example of the opportunities of mixed reality.

Don’t lose your spectacles

We live in serious times. Dramatic production can be seen as profligate. But spectacles have the power to motivate, energize and express the basic human joy of people coming together at an event.

With a thousand people, one day and acres of content, drama played a vital role in energizing employees at an event for a financial services client. A surprising reveal of three giant inflatable spaces and people walking through the stage set to enter them was an incredibly enlivening way to start the day.


Interesting September

FACE

Gesture control presentations, text messaging chat bots, a digital forest, a floating event space and much more in September's edition of Interesting.

Short Story Dispenser
An idea full of surprise and charm, the Short Edition plinth prints short stories for people to read. Lots of interesting ways this could be built into a wider event experience.

Facilitation Tool Kit
Hyper Island specialise in designing learning experiences for businesses. This is their tool box of facilitation methodologies. A mighty fine resource for next time you’re called upon to run a workshop.

Gesture Controlled Presentations
With the right content and the right presenter, this could be great. We’re going to experiment with one for our next Interesting Breakfast.

Manifesto for learning experiences
Are your event participants guests or collaborators?

Event Chatbot
No need to download an app with this text messaging concierge experience

Stunning projection
Artist Wonjun Jeong tossed fabric tossed fabric into the air and projected faces on them.

Venues 
Floating Events
New conference space soon to arrive on the Thames.

Events to go to 
Habitats
Explore a breathtaking digital forest in the heart of Brighton.

If there's something interesting you think we should include next month, please share it via thatsinteresting@liveunion.co.uk


Interesting July

eSports

What e-sports means for events, interactive storytelling, a handy venue search tool and much more in July's edition of That's Interesting.

Beautiful interactive display. (2min explore)
Wonderful exhibition animation that uses conductive ink to tell stories

Reinventing the way stories are told. (5min explore)
As you’d expect The Future of Storytelling conference is chock full of interesting event format ideas

Taking it Off Grid. (2min read)
Happening right now, a really interesting conference and another example of the trend for taking events into the great outdoors

Furniture matters. (3 min read)
Using furniture to design better interactions at events.

eSports – the amazing coming together of live and digital. (6min explore)
If you’re interested in the future of events you need to know about eSports. There’s also this on the same subject.

Blank Canvas – London Venues. (2 min explore)
A useful tool for finding some unusual venues.

A clever and simple idea to improve networking. (3min explore)

Wrong type of conference. (5min read)
Are conferences chasing the dopamine kick at the expense of people actually learning anything?

If there's something interesting you think we should include next month, please share it via thatsinteresting@liveunion.co.uk


Interesting June

Google I:O

Google revamp their I/O Developers Conference, TED's outrageous goodie bags, ASICS experiential run and some good news for event professionals. All this and much more in June's edition of That's Interesting.

Attract with content. Keep with experience.   (3min read)
Nicely articulated call to start your event planning with a clear idea of the type of experience your audience will most value.

Google I/O's town planning approach to delegate navigation   (3min explore)
There's a lot of good stuff in this report from Google's flagship user event, not least the passing mention of 3million people joining remotely.

Do your slides pass the glance test?  (3min read)
A great way to think about content design and a useful tool to put theory into practice.

How TED do goodie bags  (3min read)
In the era of peak stuff, goodie bags feel incongruous and wasteful. TED have come up with a 'swag bag' experience that at least lets people choose things they actually want.

The Big Chase - How Asics re-imagined the 5k city run  (1min watch)
Wonderful idea skillfully executed.

Something to go to:
Serpentine Summer Pavilion - Every summer there's a temporary structure designed by a top architect. Check out the programme of evening events, pack a picnic and head to the park.

And, some good news to finish with. If you work in events you're very unlikely to be replaced by a robot.

If there's something interesting you think we should include next month, please share it via thatsinteresting@liveunion.co.uk

Best wishes
The Live Union team


Interesting March

Robot Head
Sophisticated chatbots, synchronised robotic screens, presentation tips and 3D chocolate lollipop heads! All this and much more in the March edition of That's Interesting.

Incredible synchronised robot screens   (2min watch)
If it's spectacle you're after this is hard to beat.

SXSW chatbot takes event apps to next level   (2min read)
A powerful example of how a new generation of event apps are adding real audience value.

Looking for a venue? Check out this temporary structure  (3min explore)
With lighting and sound built in and room for up to 400 people, The Mix is definitely worth knowing about.

Humans to replace robots at events   (3min explore)
We used Double Robotics at Interesting Breakfast, it seems we were a bit behind the curve. There's a lot of fun to be had with a telepresence human.

Doing a presentation? (10min explore)
Useful advice on putting together presentations, including how much time you'll need to do it well - an hour for every minute of presentation.

3D printed chocolate lollipop heads   (2min explore)
Is there a reason not to have this at your event? We can't think of one.

A venue to check out:
Collins Music Hall - incredible hidden north London space. Download the pdf to see some amazing photos.

If there's something interesting you think we should include next month, please share it via thatsinteresting@liveunion.co.uk


Interesting Breakfast

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The commitment we made to the audience at Friday's breakfast was not simply to be interesting but to be useful. To share tangible ideas and innovations that they could use in their events.

We chose five topics, introduced them with speed presentations and then had time for people to get hands-on and explore further. The topics were:

  • Mixed Reality - VR & AR at events
  • Evolving the hybrid model
  • Innovations in screens and screen content
  • Next-gen event apps
  • Re-imagining formats

Below is the top-line of what was shared by our presenters. If you'd like to go a bit deeper we'd be happy to share more.

Mixed Reality - VR & AR at events

VR & AR are red hot topics within event production, but no amount of immersive roller coaster rides can disguise the fact that putting on a headset is an isolating experience. Harriette shared two great solutions.

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With Microsoft's HoloLens the user sees both the virtual and real worlds at the same time. An augmented experience meaning people can interact with one another and move through an event space whilst also experiencing holographic content.

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360 projection domes are increasingly popular. A truly communal way to enjoy immersive content.

A really clever use of VR is as a speaker rehearsal tool. Virtual Speech transports the presenter to their actual venue.

Evolving the hybrid model

Steve & James gave live demonstrations of three technologies that help bring together audiences in different physical locations.

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Mevo is a tiny low cost robot camera removing the need for a dedicated operator. When used in tandem with a streaming service, such as Facebook live, it allows any location to share video. This practical easy to set-up solution can dramatically reduce the cost of two-way video between venues.

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Snapchat Spectacles, stylishly modeled by James, contain the world's smallest wireless camera and are a great way for delegates to share questions, ideas and feedback.

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Double Robotics allows the leadership team to be in two places at once and hold personal two-way conversations. A highlight of the morning was Steve presenting via his robot double.

Innovations in Screens and Screen Content

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LED screens are fast becoming bigger and cheaper. The ability to use them in bright locations means they're opening up a huge range of new venues whilst greater resolution means audiences can sit closer to them.

For years PowerPoint has been the default software for presentations, but Ventuz offers a paradigm shift in screen content. Paul outlined the benefits, and the guys from Ventuz gave live demonstrations. In short, Ventuz has the dynamism of 3D animation, but without the lead times and cost. Changes can be made on site and live data - such as audience voting - can be integrated. Creatively it's an incredible next step in the evolution of presentations.

All our presenters used Multitaction's touchscreen functionality, swiping to change slides and enlarging images, but Paul and Sophie really put it through its paces. They showed how the touchscreen can be used by multiple people taking notes, sharing post-its, showing video, sharing ideas.

Next Generation Event Apps

A new breed of event apps that use artificial intelligence are offering functionality that precisely meets delegates' needs. Harriette shared two great examples.

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Eva is the Siri of event apps. Instead of searching through lists of information in an app, delegates can send a message to Eva in the Event2Mobile app to find the information they need.

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Grip is a smart way to get delegates networking before, during and after your event. It uses a well-known dating app as its model. Users input who they are interested in meeting and Grip gives them a list potential delegates. Users can then swipe right to suggest a meeting.

Re-imagining Formats

Whilst our previous speed presenters explored the merging of live and digital channels, Katie explored events that are ripping up traditional formats, re-imagining the physical experience.

Audiences are changing, traditional event formats don't deliver the choice and creativity that they expect. Katie shared three examples of events that are getting it right.

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Superdry re-imagined their global annual conference as an outdoor festival. The result was something that not only changed the style of engagement but brilliantly reflected the fashion retailer's brand.

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AGM's are surely the most formulaic and archaic of all events. Not for BrewDog. They christened theirs the Annual General Mayhem and put on live music and plenty of beer.

International style publication Monocle approach their Quality of Life Conference as if it were a section of their magazine. The agenda includes '60 sec recaps' as well as sections dedicated to photography; brain-friendly ways to help people engage. Audience engagement and well-being is carefully considered. The day starts with guided runs around the host city and breaks include live classical musical.

Thank you so much to everyone who came to an Interesting Breakfast, we hope it was both interesting and useful!

Finally, a big thank you to London & Partners for lending us their wonderful meeting room of the future.

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