PCMA EduCon Speaker Andrew Davis on Innovating for the Future of Events

At PCMA EduCon 2022, the marketing expert will share his theory on why you need a box to think outside the box.

Author: Jennifer N. Dienst       

Andrew Davis

Before Andrew Davis started speaking to audiences around the world, the author built and sold a successful marketing agency, produced for NBC’s “Today” show, and worked for The Jim Henson Company on Muppets projects.

PCMA EduCon 2022 will kick off Sunday, June 5, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, where speaker Andrew Davis will take the stage. Last week, Convene caught up with the bestselling author, producer, and marketing expert, who gave us a taste of his keynote topic as well as why he thinks we are underrating a technology that has great potential for the future of events.

On the “Cube of Creativity,” and what the EduCon audience can expect to learn from his talk:

Andrew Davis, Bestselling Author & Producer
The cube of creativity is basically four constraints that you can add to any project, initiative, or event to come up with better, more innovative solutions faster than you’ve ever dreamed possible — eliminate the unnecessary, define a clear outcome, limit the options, and raise the stakes. It’s basically a total counterintuitive approach to thinking outside the box.

It’s something that I don’t think I’d ever have come up with if it wasn’t for the pandemic. I went from doing 60 events a year in front of audiences all over the world to, within a few days, trying to figure out how to create a television show in my office. I watched how creative and innovative…meeting planners and…even marketers in general could be during the pandemic, so I started to study why were some people so unbelievably successful at this and [why] others kind of flailed.

I found in general that the organizers who didn’t try to recreate the in-person experience in an online world were far more successful than the ones who simply ported their offline experience into a virtual world. The people that were wildly creative constrained themselves to the new medium. They tried to rethink what a good virtual experience would be. The same is true for those pursuing hybrid experiences. They’re asking themselves… ‘what do attendees need to get out of a hybrid event?’ They’re…defining a clear outcome, instead of just saying we’re giving people the option of attending virtually.

A headshot of Andrew Davis.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to make a great digital or virtual event sustainable for multiple days. It’s hard on the audience, and I think the value is limited.”

On the future of events, and why planners shouldn’t scoff at the potential of VR:

I think there are a bunch of things at play. One, I think the online experience — through no fault of any planner or organizer — is subpar. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to make a great digital or virtual event sustainable for multiple days. It’s hard on the audience, and I think the value is limited.

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So many people want to network and meet with other people that I don’t think that kind of virtual event is the right platform for it, and that leads me to believe that things like VR, which I think right now are treated kind of as a gimmick and a silly idea, actually do have potential. What we’re waiting for is the one really inventive person who says, “I don’t want to emulate an offline experience in the metaverse — what would a metaverse experience be like?”

I’ll give you a good example. I downloaded an app on my Oculus VR headset called Tripp. It’s a meditation app and, full disclosure, I’m not the kind of person that meditates. It’s the first time I’ve ever had an experience in the metaverse where I actually felt like I finally understood what meditation was. It’s a completely immersive experience, and when I look at an experience like that, I think, “Wow, what if event organizers realize that they could transport people to anywhere instead of just having like, a presentation about best practices?”

This interview has been edited and condensed for brevity. Jennifer N. Dienst is senior editor at Convene.

Register Now

Marketing expert Andrew Davis is a featured speaker at PCMA EduCon 2022, June 5-8, at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Learn more and register at pcmaeducon.org.

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