How to pass the conference flow baton to the audience – the case of Open Eyes Econmy Summit
The success of an event can be measured in many ways. Some of them would tackle the financial aspects while others will refer to less material aspects. Undoubtedly, the key factors that influence the perception of the event is the attendees’ engagement and the way they can interact with each other and the speakers. Find out what Open Eyes Economy Summit organizers prepared for their audience to boost their satisfaction from the conference.
Are you familiar with the situation when the event you organize is all buttoned up with the agenda full of prestigious speakers and top quality surroundings but later the feedback shows that the audience wasn’t 100% satisfied? Or maybe you, yourself, participated in the industry events that totally met your professional expectations, yet there was this dash of a feeling that you can’t rate it 5 stars out of 5? Often, this feeling of undefined dissatisfaction is the result of too superficial engagement with the event itself.
The challenge to engage all the participants in the event flow isn’t a piece of cake for both experienced event managers and those who just started their journey with events. After all, it’s hard to predict what will be appealing to the target group, even if you covered the very first step of the organizing process – the target analysis. However, as the organizer, you have the chance to invest in attractions that would attract crowds to certain points of the event program. Eventory had the pleasure to talk to Tomasz Wojtas, Executive Director of the Open Eyes Economy Summit, about the ways to engage participants in the event and enable them to effectively interact with speakers in real time.
Tomasz Wojtas – a graduate of Economy and Public Administration at the University of Economics in Krakow. Currently a member of the Management Board of the Foundation of Economy and Public Administration, in which he is the Executive Director of the Open Eyes Economy Summit. Until 2015, the President of the Board of the Artistic Agency GAP and a producer of cultural events
Open Eyes Economy Summit – an annual Summit that gathers experts and enthusiasts to explore and discuss the matters connected to the Economy of values.
Eventory: Hi Tomasz, thank you for agreeing to meet with us today. Could you tell us something more about the last edition of Open Eyes Economy Summit?
Tomasz Wojtas: Open Eyes Economy Summit (OEES) is an international summit during which we discuss the economy of values. We talk about the current issues of the modern world and how we can take care of the future that is ahead of us. Also, we recognize the economy that tackles extremely delicate and unobvious concerns: flexible work forms, corporate culture, circular economy, the life in the countryside and cities, universities, food, gardens on the city buildings, art, cultural heritage, the truth, and post-truth. We don’t have one, specified target group as the subjects that are being brought up during OEES affect directly or indirectly everyone. This way, we are honored to host not only experts from various fields but also entrepreneurs, students, local councilors, journalists and local activists. The past edition of OEES took place on 20 – 21 November 2018 in ICE Convention Centre in Cracow. It gathered more than 2500 attendees from all around the globe.
Eventory: Size of the event and the topics sound impressive. What was the main goal of OEES?
Tomasz Wojtas: We set our goals unceasingly. One of our main aims is to create a community of people who cooperate with each other, share their ideas, experiences, and beliefs. People who together are able to make a change. It’s the people who make the azure revolution and we give them time and space to meet. We inspire them and give the motivation to act.
Eventory: It’s nice to hear that you have global goals. Looks like they’re coherent with event aims, right? Did you have any tools or special methods that helped you to achieve your goals?
Tomasz Wojtas: Primarily the summit’s formula itself. Many experts visit Krakow in those 2 days but surely they’re not here just to preach their views. We invite people who are not afraid of open discussions and the truth. The space to express the ideas is provided by innovative performance forms. We said no to the ‘talking heads’ and instead placed a bet on inspirational sessions and short speeches. We go for interactions and discussions. Some of the sessions have a Q&A formula, some are in the form of clashes where two lecturers have an argument fight. With all that comes also the meeting points – specially indicated areas where attendees can meet experts and talk to them. This all contributes to the OEES’ extraordinary atmosphere of intellectual adventure.
Eventory: You surely keep your main goals in mind while preparing the OEES attractions. Therefore, we have to ask- do you feel like you completed your aims for this year’s edition?
Tomasz Wojtas: I think, I can surely say that yes – we made it. Obviously, we’re not slowing down. For over 3 years, our community has been growing strong and it gets bigger with every day passing by. We’re proud that we make people open their eyes and start to perceive the reality they live indifferently. That they are becoming more sensitive to not only economic problems but also environmental issues.
Eventory: Seems like it’s really easy for attendees to truly dive into the event and explore new areas. Did Eventory have some contribution in completing OEES’S goals?
Tomasz Wojtas: Well, part of Eventory is a mobile application and in modern times it’s hard to imagine carrying on without one. For sure Eventory contributed to our success in creating the azure revolution. Especially, we appreciate the possibility of arranging meetings between attendees. Statistics show that the feature was frequently used by our guests. Moreover, the Eventory mobile app allowed participants to check the agenda whenever they needed it and to constantly know what’s going on with the event. They could create their own agenda and, therefore, use the summit to its fullest. Also, access to the speaker’s bio influenced better lectures’ reception among OEES attendees.
Eventory: You mentioned that interactions are an important part of OEES. What are your experiences regarding attendee engagement?
Tomasz Wojtas: Yes, engaging participants in the event is one of the key aspects of our summit. We organize it for the people and it wouldn’t have any sense without their contribution. We do our best to enable them to interact both with other participants and lecturers. They definitely take this chance and make good use of this possibility. All of the attendees who visit OEES take an active part in the prepared programme and, moreover, we know they appreciate opportunities created for them.
Eventory: Did you use the Live Questions feature? How did it affect the perception of OEES in your attendees’ eyes?
Tomasz Wojtas: Correct, we had a chance to use the Live Questions feature at the 2018 edition of Open Eyes Economy Summit and we see a big potential in the new tool. The feedback we received was great both from the moderators, who were managing the audience’s questions during the lectures, and the participants themselves. The ability to ask questions in real-time surely brings the discussion to the next level. It gives a chance for interaction with the audience who has a big impact and can even change the course of the discussion. In addition, during OEES people had an opportunity to come across individualities that normally would be hard to meet. Thanks to Live Questions, we had a chance to directly engage and interact with them.
Eventory: It’s good to hear that our new addition to Eventory tools proves itself in action! We heard that you carried out a QR codes contest. How did you do it and what was the attendees’ reaction?
Tomasz Wojtas: In our opinion, the QR codes contest was a success. It was prepared by our volunteers who ensured that it was refined both organizationally and in terms of content. On the premises of ICE Convention Center, we deployed properties associated with water – important issue tackled on this year’s summit (one of the OEES tracks). Together they created a path which was followed by contestants. By scanning QR codes, they got access to facts about water. In addition, it was a great way to introduce an element of action to our partners’ stands in the venue’s foyer. Of course, with our sponsors’ help, we prepared rewards for the participants.
Such form of engaging attendees in an event has met with great reception. Participants enjoyed especially its innovative approach – they admitted that it was unconventional for them and that they have never seen such a solution. It was very satisfying for us that we were able to make Open Eyes Economy Summit more special with yet another element.
Eventory: Yes, an innovative approach is extremely important these days and not only for organizers but also for attendees who appreciate such solutions at events. Was there any element that you were particularly proud of?
Tomasz Wojtas: We have a lot of reasons to be proud of. One of them is our group of volunteers who help us with organizing the Open Eyes Economy Summit. Their participation is invaluable and this year they, once again, positively surprised us with their commitment, devotion and help. In the future, we want to continue this idea of joining forces in creating OEES with young and terrific people.
The second thing I can think of is an eco cubby for the little ones prepared by Aeris Futuro Foundation. This year, for the first time we had a pleasure to invite the youngest attendees to the summit and we were able to provide them with many attractions when their parents were attending lectures. We got very positive feedback about this solution and will definitely carry on with that during further editions of OEES.
Eventory: Speaking of OEES’S future – what are the plans for the next edition? Can we expect some changes?
Tomasz Wojtas: Our plan is a further development of the summit itself and the idea of Open Eyes Economy. We want to reach more people and therefore, we move on with our event both to Poland and Europe. So far, we planned over 20 “Open Eyes Economy on tour” meetings. When it comes to the Open Eyes Economy Summit the next 4th edition is, of course, in making. As for the changes, we decided on modifications in thematic tracks and we have some novelties prepared for participants.
Our team constantly has new ideas on how to improve the summit and we try to implement as many of those as possible. I think there’s nothing more to say than to invite you to the 4th edition of Open Eyes Economy Summit which will take place on 19-20 of November 2019 in ICE Convention Center in Cracow, so you can find out on your own with what our azure revolution will surprise you this time.
Eventory: Well, that sounds like an event to attend this fall! Definitely, Eventory representatives will step by – we’re looking forward to seeing what you prepared this time. Thank you for your time!
Open Eyes Economy Summit turned out to be a great success. It shows how important it is to ensure that every attendee, including children, can find a way to engage with the event. Meeting spots, live Q&A sessions, innovative contests with an educational background – this all made it possible for OEES to bring participant’s satisfaction to the new level and to engage with the main topic of the event – an azure revolution. After all, how can you get bitten by an idea if not by fully diving into it?
We’re excited to see what organizers prepared for the 4th edition, how about you?