I’ve had a few event ideas in my time – some good, some not so. So which event design ideas should you take forward to the event planning stage and why? How do you evaluate event design ideas?
To brainstorm and beyond!
Let’s say we’ve agreed an event format, audience profile and purpose. It’s time to gather the event team to brainstorm! Coffee gets drunk, biscuits consumed…the ideas flow.
We have a long list. How do we select the best idea? Having made a note of all the ideas generated at the meeting, it’s now time to start sifting through them and reducing this long list of ideas into a shorter list that the ‘event team’ really likes. This will include incomplete ideas that are considered to be of sufficient interest to warrant further work. I also suggest adding a couple of wild card ideas you just like. With your ideas to hand, it is now necessary to make a more reasoned and honest assessment of the relative merits of each idea. I suggest you evaluate your thoughts against the following criteria:
- How well does it match up with your original event purpose and your reason for organising the event in the first place. Will your event provide the solution to your audience’s problems or current needs?
- a) Audience acceptance (marketing). Think audience: be consumer-led. Try testing your ideas out on a few people who you think might attend your event and see what they say. Do they like it? Do they understand what they are coming to? Would they value the experience? b) Consider what your events’ game changer might be. What is the audience going to hear or see for the first time, which will make a difference to them?
- Can you afford it (financial)? You now need to start getting some estimates in place to give some idea how much your event is going to cost and or how much money it might raise
- Can you or your team plan and deliver the event successfully (operational)? Do you have the skills to do it or do you need to buy in and / or recruit some expert help?
- This section is for the “well, I just like it” type of ideas. These ideas just capture your imagination and, while they possibly do not meet all the assessment criteria above, they “feel” right. You should only include one or two of these types of ideas in your event. They can be used as a way of testing the water.
That’s it. Easy to write about, not quite so easy to do in a meeting: as everyone tries to defend their ideas. It does of cause take a little time to test ideas and gather outline quotes.
A word to the wise. Please be honest with yourself and everybody else. Your idea just may not be the best idea; so be brave and let it go, and then be ready to back the ‘selected’ ideas – 100% keeping your ‘well I could have told that comments to yourself… once event planning has started in earnest.
Selecting the best event ideas is never simple but you do need some sort of system to screen your ideas, otherwise you will get a random collection of ideas that nobody really gets or signs up to.
Chris Powell, The Event Expert Chris specialises in helping accidental, occasional and professional event planners develop the skills and confidence to design, programme, promote and deliver their own exceptional events. He delivers In-house event management courses and coaching programmes covering all types of public and business events.