Multitaction Screen v2.jpg

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.

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:

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.

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


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.

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.