On Wednesday 11th November, the Hire Space Virtual Team kicked off Part 2 of EventLAB 2020 Online, which was all about The Event Experience, Project Safety & Success.
This educational workshop was titled ‘Hackathon in Event Design,’ which explored how we can create purpose-led events with experience design, allowing us to keep up with the changing world around us. Leading the workshop and sharing their expertise were Kim Myhre (Founder & Managing Partner) and Jordan Waid (Creative Partner) of Experience Designed.
You can read on for our key takeaways.
Kim started off by explaining that, despite current restrictions, there’s an increasing demand for experiences.
We know that creating experiences around brands drives loyalty, creates advocacy and is one of the most powerful marketing tools today. Whether they’re face-to-face or online events, they help brands to cut through the huge amount of noise that surrounds us all the time.
We also know that 78% of millennials would rather spend money on an experience than a material object. There are 17 million millennials in the UK alone, and they now make up the biggest generational workforce in history!
Although the pandemic has led many of us to rethink the role of events and how we plan them, Kim points out that our world has changed in many other ways too.
Perhaps one of the most important is that today’s audience is very different. Half of the world’s population is now under 34, which means that 50% of us have grown up with technology. This new, digitally-enabled audience no longer needs to go to an event to learn something or be entertained - they already have the ability to access these things using their mobile phones at any moment of the day.
On top of that, if they’re not engaged at an event, they can ‘check out,’ by getting out their phones and doing something they find more interesting - whether that’s absorbing better content, communicating with friends or doing a spot of online shopping.
Only by putting this audience and their needs centre-stage can we design an event experience that they’ll find engaging and meaningful.
This is a seismic shift away from the event industry’s traditional methods of event planning, which are historically oriented around logistics. While logistics such as picking out a venue and working out capacity will still be important, they’ll need to take a backseat moving forwards, so that these factors can be determined by our audience’s needs.
Kim explains that ‘design thinking’ is an approach used by designers to solve complex problems and find desirable solutions for clients. He believes that by applying the principles of this solutions-focused mindset to experience design, we can deliver engaging experiences and powerful outcomes for brands and audiences.
The process includes:
- Empathy: Leaning about the audience you’re designing for.
- Defining: Using the insights you’ve gained during the ‘empathy’ phase to focus in on your question.
- Ideating: Coming up with creative solutions.
- Prototyping: Building a representation of one or more of your ideas to show to others.
- Testing: Returning to your original user group and testing your ideas for feedback.
This is an ongoing process that you can keep repeating for as long as you need, but it all centres around that first step: empathy.
The principles of human-centric experience design
Lastly, Kim shared with us his principles of human-centric experience design. They include:
- The innovation sweet-spot: This involves looking at what your audience wants and what’s technologically feasible, before finding a sweet-spot that can help you achieve your business objectives. Today, it’s also becoming increasingly important to factor the larger impact of your event into the equation, asking yourself whether what you’re planning is going to positively impact the world.
- Empathetic understanding of your audience: Understanding who’s going to come to your event is crucial to delivering a good experience for them. Is the content going to be too technical? Or not technical enough? Only by taking the time to know your audience can you answer questions like these.
- Avoid myopic thinking: Avoid doing things just because that’s how you usually do them, or because that’s what other people have done. Only by holding all your processes to question can you truly move forwards.
- Accept that you don’t know things: Be conscious of what you don’t know and let people tell you that you’re wrong.
- Encourage inter-disciplinary input: Some of the best ideas come from outside of your own discipline. Avoid surrounding yourself with people who have the same beliefs, skills and knowledge as you.
- Ideate: Don’t be afraid to fail! Trying anything new means risking failure. If you measure events based on whether or not anything went wrong, you’ll never give yourself a chance to innovate or experiment.
About The Speakers
Kim Myhre, Founder & Managing Partner, Experience Designed
With more than 20 years in marketing, brand strategy and events, Kim is a recognised industry leader and innovative agency executive. After working with many of the world’s leading brands at some of the globe’s top experience marketing agencies, Kim recently launched Experience Designed, a consulting and advisory agency network that works with creative businesses and their clients to create breakthrough marketing innovation and deliver measurable business results by applying a new strategic approach to branding and experience design.
Jordan Waid, Creative Partner, Experience Designed
An Idea Architect, Narrative Designer, Futurist and Academy Award winning filmmaker. As a design thinking advocate, facilitator and speaker, his passions focus on: trends, innovation, storytelling, education, gamification, brand experience, vision, culture, purpose and social impact.
Jordan has extensive agency experiences having held senior creative positions with Imagination, FreemanXP, Cheil, FCB Inferno, MCI Experience and 2Heads.
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With a love of interior design, Imogen’s writing experience has taken her from the mansions of the rich and famous to the capital’s most unique events spaces on Hire Space.