Case Study: Ideas Exchange Series – Dinner Event at The Venue
Introducing the first event in a brand-new thought leadership series from FCM Meetings & Events – The Ideas Exchange. This event took a deep dive into the seismic shift caused by the ‘great pause’ of 2020-2021. Guests discussed how the Covid pandemic impacted the MICE industry and the collective consciousness of travellers, businesses and communities.
To inspire knowledge sharing and to introduce a new paradigm, FCM Meetings & Events injected drama into the evening event with the creative use of lighting, smoke, food and technology. From the outset this event was created to push the boundaries in every direction. Starting with the epic warehouse space at Sydney’s The Venue, the scene was set for a stellar line-up of industry guests and discussion topics.
The backdrop design intentionally created a visual and atmospheric juxtaposition. With industry guests enjoying a dinner party-like intimacy set against the large empty space of the warehouse. Big ideas from a small group.
With representatives from across the corporate, travel and MICE sectors, the panel explored the elevated focus that has emerged on engagement, real and intangible travel blocks, hybrid workplaces, face-to-face and virtual events, technology and digital content, inclusiveness, community and purpose.
To encourage industry collaboration and answer the question – ‘now that geographical borders are reopening, a new future is on the horizon. Are we prepared for what awaits us on the other side?’
Other key objectives included -:
• To reconnect with FCM Meetings & Events customers and event partners in-person, in an intimate setting that inspires knowledge sharing.
• To deconstruct the three key discussion subjects: Audience Confidence, Technology & The Culture of Content, and Community & Purpose.
• To create a bespoke gathering, with purpose. A space where every guest at the table could contribute to the robust discussion.
• To gather insights from a diverse array of voices in the industry, and generate information and opinion that will help inform the MICE industry, customers and event partners on the big question: What’s Next?
• This was FCM Meetings & Events first live and 100% in-person customer event in 24 months
• Generated a large amount of industry intel, feedback and customer insights that will help guide industry suppliers, partners and customers.
• Working with the Design & Digital Team to curate a highly interactive experience with space for informal learning and discussion.
• Using light, smoke, sound and visuals to divide the evening into three distinct chapters, with its own discussion topic, culinary and guest experience.
• Engaging artist and illustrator, Bill Hope, to create a live-scribed digital mural that was projected onto a 12m x 3m screen. The visuals were inspired by the key points in the conversation.
The contrast between the small group of people against the expansive warehouse backdrop was a perfect metaphor for capturing an intimate night full of big ideas.
Event Creative Producer, David Twyman
The brief was to impart wonder, awe and inspiration. To harness advancements in technology, to explore ground-breaking ways to deliver experiences that create memories. Cue smoke, innovative lighting, larger-than-life visuals and creative cuisine To host an event that would reignite the audiences’ passion for creating event experiences once again, in-person. All the while centred on the customer’s voice, and their rightful place as thought leaders in the MICE industry.
Epic. Dramatic. Symbolic.
- The Venue, Sydney, inspired the creative team to explore the use of space and lighting to create the notion of an intimate salon dinner, set against an awesome theatrical space.
- The Venue was radically styled to reflect the premise of the event discussion - “Our industry has undergone a radical shift, which required businesses to come up with big ideas for change to survive.”
- Using technology to deliver impact, a long table was set in the middle of the cavernous space, then ‘enclosed’ using dramatic lighting and haze.
- The menu, designed by Cook & Waiter, complemented each discussion topic. Ingredients, form, colour and texture was tailored to suit the conversation.
Intimate conversation. Live scribing. Candid responses.
- The FCM Meetings & Events team worked closely with its Design & Digital team to create a unique event identity for Ideas Exchange – to spark the audience’s imagination
- Employed a democratic and decentralised event concept. The seating arrangement put the power in the hands of the audience – allowing them to participate freely in the experience.
- Using pre-event answers from attendees, FCM M&E Creative Director and host Joshua Mason Browne, facilitated the discussion (and content) using incisive questions aimed to guests on the table.
- To inspire attendance, key customers and event partners with unique perspectives were hand-picked from across the MICE industry.
Live. Creative. Successfully amplified the discussion in real time.
- Artist Bill Hope’s live scribing of the discussion was projected from an ipad to a huge screen at the end of the table. This third-party creative overview of the event brought the discussion to life as it unfolded. Bill successfully animated the discussion on the screen, using live graphic illustration. All in real time.
- Using video, audio and scribing, FCM Meetings & Events recorded the evening to generate content for distribution amongst those at the table and for customer purposes.
- Tech empowered everyone at the table to address questions, exchange and share ideas – live and in-person – and to a wide virtual audience.
Trying to successfully set the benchmark for post-COVID in-person events.
- Being our own client! Meeting our sky-high expectations to create an event that showcased FCM Meetings & Events and our partners.Implementing a
- COVID-19 safety plan, included sending Rapid Antigen Tests to all attendees and event personnel.
- Being a live event, keeping to time. Timing each dinner course to be served once discussion was wrapped up for each subject. The answer? Secret service style, in-ear communication between our producer and the facilitator.
- Working with the chef to link the inventiveness of the menu, to the discussion. As displayed by a surprising crème caramel dessert – made from bone marrow! You heard it here first.
Really exciting insights were shared by a diverse array of voices in our industry, including customers and event partners, and we have some incredible content to share from the experience to our wider network.
General Manager FCM Meetings & Events, Simone Seiler
A robust exchange of ideas. The event was extremely well received by all guests, who were inspired by the open discussion. Exciting insights were shared by a diverse array of customer and event partner voices. Everyone was able to be candid, ask questions and focus on building a future together.
High quality and relevant insights from clients and travel industry suppliers included tips and ideas that could inform and transform events and the audience experience for future events. The intimacy of the event and the opportunity to discuss important topics in a relaxed setting helped to create a bond between guests. The Ideas Exchange gave everyone a chance to speak freely and openly about where and how the industry needed to move forward in respect to instilling confidence in both event organisers and audiences. This event was a milestone event that will help our sector to push ahead with new and innovative event concepts. Bring it on!