"2020 became our most productive year"
GCB Future Talks - North American Edition, Vol. 3
In the third edition of the GCB's new interview series with North American event planners, Killian Dorier shared his experiences with events in the "New Now" with the GCB's managing director Matthias Schultze.
As a member of the engagement team, Killian joined the World Justice Project (WJP) in the fall of 2016. The WJP is an independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law worldwide. Killian now leads the development of the World Justice Project's network of partners and local organizations through the Resource Hub, along with in-person and virtual events, such as the World Justice Forum and the World Justice Challenge.
Matthias Schultze: The world of business events has changed tremendously in the past year. Do you have any examples of virtual/hybrid programs that you may have executed, and if so, are you able to share any details on how that experience was in terms of execution, attendance, feedback, challenges, successes, etc?
Killian Dorier: Indeed! At the World Justice Project we started shifting our programs online as soon as the pandemic hit. We were due to have presentations of our Annual Rule of Law Index in three global cities and suddenly had to shift all those events online and learn the trade of virtual events. It was challenging! However, we feel that we have been able to make the most out of it, and 2020 became our most productive year ever with 21 virtual events scheduled - webinars, meetings and private roundtables included. The experience was eye-opening. Not only were we able to increase our attendance, we also were suddenly able to reach our network partners around the globe and include them in the conversation in a way we had not been able to before.
We face challenges gearing up, but also when we realized that Zoom "fatigue" was a real fact. To counter this, we adapted our virtual event offerings for 2021 and were able to create more dynamic and interactive events - featuring shorter presentations, more time for questions, using breakout rooms and inviting attendees to really be a part of the experience.
The latest research of the German Convention Bureau's innovation network Future Meeting Space shows that the relevance of events for an organization's overall communications mix will continue to grow in the future. What is it that you need from event suppliers - from locations to tech service providers - to be able to create successful events in the future?
The research is correct in my opinion! We are currently planning for our World Justice Forum 2022 - a global convening of rule of law leaders and actors to discuss solutions to our most pressing rule of law crises - and we will be operating a hybrid event for the first time, in order to capitalize on the reach and success of our virtual events. What we need from suppliers is an all-in-one package for these types of events and something that fits with modern demands and a global event. I have seen many different platforms and I feel that they always miss something, whether it is a design and navigation that is appealing to the end user, incomplete packages, or archaic streaming systems. However, I am a particular fan of services such as Attendify - an all-in-one package from registration to a mobile app to a virtual platform - that allows participants to engage with a centralized platform for all the information they need for the event.
One other point to note: finding a service that can connect and include participants all around the globe in a seamless way is a challenge. I would like to see how suppliers respond to the pressure of offering content for a global constituency split across multiple time zones and interests.
To keep up with the speed of change driven by the digital transformation and global events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the business events sector needs to drive innovation. How do you come up with new ideas? Would you be/ Are you open to collaborate with other event professionals to discuss new solutions and the future of business events?
We try and act as participants and end users and apply what we feel we need from technology suppliers in our professional and personal lives! I find that this helps us consider how we are offering our events to the person who is consuming them. This means taking the time to gather feedback, and to critically analyze our events and see how we can improve. Yes, I would be happy to collaborate with other event professionals to discuss new solutions and the future of business events! Multiple heads are always better than one, and there is so much to do with virtual events that I am sure other professionals have come up with brilliant solutions!