How Design Thinking Camp organizers cope with event communication plan? [Interview]
Communication is one of the pillar aspects of organizing an event. It doesn’t matter what are the sides of it, the information flow needs to be effective and undisturbed. Nowadays, in the times of constant change and immensity of tasks to do, we seek for ways to improve the efficiency of our work. Accumulation of responsibilities was not a problem for the organizers of the Design Thinking Camp. Today, we spoke about what they did to lessen the difficulties in event communication.
A dialogue between an organizer and an attendee starts the minute the event is created. First information, agenda and presentation of speakers. These are all hard facts, known before the event, that are vital for both sides of the communication process. Things get tough when day zero comes, attendees come pouring in and the communication needs to be quick, simple and present on various levels. One of the ways to avoid negligence of the interaction with attendees in the sands of other organizer’s responsibilities is to automate the process.
To have in hand a tool that lets you control all the significant areas of your event is a real treat. Małgorzata Rzepa, the Project Manager of Design Thinking Week is sharing with us the experiences of how she dealt with coordinating organizer’s tasks. She talks about her impressions on using an application to connect attendees and maintain a good communication flow.
Małgorzata Rzepa – Project Manager of the Design Thinking Week. Małgorzata graduated from Gdańsk University of Technology, she majored in Management and Economics. Involved in Design Thinking Week since 2014, from the moment she joined the team she became an enthusiast of the design thinking. Małgorzata is a born organizer and is not afraid of challenges that occur on her way to achieve set goals.
Design Thinking Week – a nationwide Festival, initiated by Top 500 Investors Association, that delivers competences of the future to Polish society, connects people and comes up with innovative ideas and solutions. It is a week of workshops, meetings, lectures and webinars about the design thinking methodology. Design Thinking Week works with people and for them – it covers areas of local problems that affect everyday life of local communities and at the same time promotes and teaches competences required by 4th Industrial Revolution.
Eventory: Hi Małgorzata, fist of all, thank you for agreeing to this interview! Could you tell us something more about your latest event – Design Thinking Camp?
Małgorzata Rzepa: Recently, we organized Design Thinking Camp. The event took place on the 22nd and 23rd of June in Wroclaw in an amazing space – Nokia Garage. It was a gathering for organizers and volunteers of the Design Thinking Week. The names sound similar, intentionality as DT Camp is part of the main event Design Thinking Week. Both deal with areas of the design thinking methodology, but the Camp is more like an internal event. We have 50 attendees on behalf of organizers and about 20 participants from our partner Nokia. This year, the character of the meeting changed – from an event focused on the learning aspects we shifted to an event whose purpose was to share knowledge and exchange ideas. Design Thinking Camp is always organized before Design Thinking Week, which is a festival rich in workshops, meetings and lectures that address everyday problems of local communities and brings competences of the future to our society. During one week, we connect people to find solutions to real life problems in line with the design thinking methodology. The event is organized for 4 years now and takes place in bigger cities across Poland. This year’s, 4th edition, is going to take place in 10 different places, so we have a big audience.
Eventory: Very well, please tell us what was the main goal you set for the event?
Małgorzata Rzepa: The main purpose of the event was sharing knowledge and exchanging experiences between the attendees. Along with this, we wanted to integrate the community and create networking opportunities. We organized this festival for the fourth time. We started from raising awareness and teaching techniques of design thinking, now we want our participants to share their ideas, talk about the tools and methods they use and make new connections. During previous editions, everyone was doing something, but they had little experience in design thinking – at this point all of our experts have vast expertise so DT Camp is a great opportunity to spread it.
Eventory: Sounds like a great plan. Did you manage to achieve it?
Małgorzata Rzepa: Yes, I would say so. I am really glad that everything turned out to be great. Especially, that we changed the formula of Design Thinking Camp this year. It used to be a large workshop event, but while redesigning the concept of the whole festival we noticed the potential that lies in our community. So this year, the event was based on pitches, lectures, open discussions. The workshop part was smaller. It was to share the experiences of using methods and tools, as I said exchanging ideas and so on. This way this networking and knowledge spreading goal was well realized, we could see that attendees enjoyed the event. What’s more the integration went successfully as well, new contacts were made. Also through Eventory – so the attendees’ reception of the event and realization of our aims were positive.
Eventory: We are very glad to hear this. Can you name any specific methods or tools which helped you meet the goals?
Małgorzata Rzepa: First of all, a huge advantage was the venue where the Design Thinking Camp took place. It was the Nokia Garage, an innovative space which was designed in accordance to design thinking rules. It’s hard to describe, but the venue itself is creative – it gives opportunities to rearrangements. It stimulates people to work and provides a positive vibe among attendees. Secondly, we had great speakers who were a true inspiration for the audience. What is more, we used Eventory that helped us a great deal with communication during the whole event and me personally with organizational matters. I am the project manager, so i have to keep an eye on everything to make sure the attendees are satisfied.
Eventory: Right! Good, inspiring location and great speakers are keys when it comes to event success. You have mentioned Eventory, to what extent was it helpful? Were some features more helpful than others?
Małgorzata Rzepa: In general, I really liked how Eventory let every attendee have constant and direct access to all the information. With Eventory, there was no need to send hundreds of emails. If I had to make any changes in the schedule, I didn’t need to inform anyone, they could check the changes immediately in the app. It saved me a great deal of organizer’s work, because I didn’t need to prepare and print brochures, schedules and expose them across the venue. What is more, thanks to the News feature when a change occurred last minute or speakers wanted to pass information to attendees they could do it in one message and be sure that everyone received it. Again, there was no need for us to send additional emails. Eventory, as a communication tool, also helped us to reduce the number of documents we needed before.
Also, I like the way you can present speakers in Eventory. Photos, biography etc. let attendees see who they’ll be meeting and listening to, what they look like and what is the topic of their lecture. It’s so useful!
Eventory also let us get proper feedback after the event. In an easy way, we could get valuable statistics which we later used to create reports and data analysis. It gave us an overview on whether the event was a success and if we achieved our goals.
Eventory: We are glad that Eventory helped you in so many ways. Going back to the event and its success, was there a thing that you were the most proud of?
Małgorzata Rzepa: I think it’s the fact that our attendees really enjoyed the time they spent with us at Design Thinking Camp. I am proud to say that. Also, that we didn’t have any schedule delays. Really!
Eventory: Wow, no schedule delays – that is impressive. Design Thinking Week will take place in a few months, so my next question is: what are the plans for its future?
Małgorzata Rzepa: Yes, we are getting ready for Design Thinking Week. 18 November, 10 biggest cities in Poland. We invite everyone who wants to learn something about design thinking methodology. The event will be full of workshops and meetings during which we will try to find solutions to problems that affect everyday life of communities, problems that affect us all. This year, we will mainly focus on skills and competencies for the future, such as empathy and cooperation. I am sure that it will be as interesting as the last year’s edition.
Eventory: Or even more 🙂 Out of curiosity, let me ask you one last question – who is the main recipient of your workshops and Design Thinking Week?
Małgorzata Rzepa: Our target group are 20-35 years old people, who are open to cooperation, who want to make a real change and they act to do so. Nevertheless, our workshops are attended by high school students and also older people – we don’t close our doors for those outside our target group. We give opportunity to experience and teach design thinking methodology to everyone who wants to make a difference. Often workshops are just an introduction and projects continue after the festival ends.
Eventory: Okay then, once again thank you for finding time to talk with us. It’s really nice to hear that we could help you and that Design Thinking Camp was such a success. Good luck with the upcoming Design Thinking Week! We hope to hear about its success soon.
When you organize an event you need to, as Małgorzata Rzepa, keep an eye on various aspects. There is a lot on your plate already and you never know what can happen out of nowhere. It is important to make sure that you’ve got everything covered, and you’re using your time wisely. Automation of the communication flow can help you not only get rid of paperwork you used to do, but also will increase the satisfaction of your attendees. A complex event management platform, a true ecosystem of event tools such as Eventory, can provide a solution to communication problems and in the meantime gather data for your further analysis. It’s a win-win situation, so next time you organize an event, be sure that you have the support of Eventory like Małgorzata.