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17 Mar

What’s the BIG Idea??

Within moments of beginning TED Active in Whistler BC, I began what will ultimately be a full week of learning and generating provocative new ideas, and novel ways to help you generate more OF them at your meetings and FOR your meetings. To wit: this enormous outdoor sculpture, just dedicated two nights ago above the Vancouver Convention Centre, where TED will take place. Beyond serving as a thing of beauty, “Unnnumbered Sparks” (the idea for which was conceived at a previous TED event) allows anyone to affect it by logging into the sculpture’s wireless network and contributing to the art form with their designs. It also represents the capacity for an idea to change as more people add to it. Very TED-like in and of itself. Without installing a massive art piece (!), there are endless ways to help your meeting participants foster more and better ideas through the way you design your events. Just a few: Simply giving people a large wall on which they can share their input over the course of a meeting goes a long way. Be sure to bring them back to the office with you and begin implementing the best. Stage a game through…

11 Mar

Furthering a Father’s Legacy

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster Sometimes life hands you circumstances so precious, powerful, and synchronous that they’re hard to contain, much less express. I will try. My dear father, age 96, died on Feb. 15. He found a way to leave this world about as well as anyone could: quietly, peacefully, in the home in which he was born, surrounded by family and friends. I feel immensely grateful. Among his countless gifts: living life with a significant curiosity about the world, and with a contagious love of lifelong learning. He talked and wrote often about what he was doing to avoid boredom—-whether in WWII, in retirement, or at a droning business meeting. Clearly, his example helped inspire my career path. I began uncovering that path exactly 25 years ago while reading the book What Color is your Parachute, about finding your right livelihood. It helped me realize how my desire to promote lifelong learning could be aligned with the world of work. I soon found a position in adult education, designing learning experiences for adults, and recruiting local and national speakers to teach them. That same year (April 1989), I visited Seattle and Vancouver BC for the first time….

07 Mar

An Idea Worth Spreading: Behind the Scenes of a Powerful Global Partnership

(Originally published in the February 2014 issue of The Meeting Professional magazine) By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster & TEDActive 2014 attendee ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (Dusk View of Downtown Vancouver, Adam Jones, Flickr Archive) (Background) The idea for this story was, serendipitously, born of a light-bulb moment I had during an MPI-PCMA Summit meeting in Seattle, WA last year. There I met Amy Koch, MPI member and sales manager at the Vancouver Convention Centre. As a rabid TED fan, TEDActive attendee and TEDx volunteer, I asked Amy how they ended up hosting TED (I mean, what a coup!). I soon sensed that this story is much like TED’s mission: an “idea worth spreading.” It’s a vibrant example of vision and teamwork, and an inspiring model for strategic supplier-planner partnerships. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ British Columbia, Canada—home to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games—was looking to outdo itself. After all, once you’ve hosted one of the world’s largest events, what do you do for an encore? Raising the bar on BC’s Olympian feat required the finesse and timing of Canadian hockey great Wayne Gretzky. Winning demanded that hospitality, tourism, convention, incentive and governmental teams across all of Canada join forces. That they collaborate to re-imagine their region,…

23 Jan

5 Meeting Time Wasters—and What to do About Them

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster Meetings can become boring when attendees feel their time is disrespected and their contributions are underappreciated. Let’s look at five most common ways meetings suck our time—and what to do instead. 1.     Meetings without end goals. How do you know when you’re finished with your meeting, if you haven’t set a goal for it in the first place?  Meetings are often scheduled out of habit or obligation—not because there is a pressing problem to solve as a group. Further, meetings in which little or no progress is felt can seem to drone on with no end in sight. Instead, before and during the gathering, give your audience a clear picture of where you’re headed, and what your meeting is accomplishing. For example, post a meeting check list, with clear milestones. And as time goes on, visually and audibly show that you have in fact reached these hurdles. Even small wins, accompanied by public acknowledgement (a tangible reward, an audible ping, a loud bell), can—in the language of a good video game—move your meeting forward, and your organization to a higher level of teamwork and productivity. 2.     The wrong people at the table. Take time…

05 Dec

2 More Strategies to Fund Event Games via Sponsorship

(Part 2 of 2. Click here for Part I) With all the buzz about integrating games into events, you may thinking YES! Let’s get a meeting app with a game to engage our attendees. And in the same breath: um, how do we pay for it? 1.     From cost- to profit-center Allowing current event sponsors—and/or new ones—to get in the game by sponsoring your digital or non-digital game is a smart way to help fund the experience. Moreover, with the right strategy, a game can go from a cost- to a profit-center. How? By approaching the right sponsors with the right opportunity at the right time, you ensure attendees play an engaging, business-objective-based game that also achieves brand awareness for sponsors. Most clients of CrowdCompass make many times more in sponsorship revenue than they invest in the cost of the app, and these apps consistently cost less than printing event programs, according to their director of marketing, Matthew Donegan-Ryan. Mountain Travel Symposium, with support from QuickMobile, integrated sponsorship into their game, which included a gallery tool. To share personal experiences at the conference, participants took photos and earned points to exchange for gamer-only discounts at sponsored stores and restaurants near…