Best in Show 2019: Inspiring Examples of Meeting Design

Author: Convene Editors       

For this year’s Best in Show feature, we switched gears. Instead of showcasing, as we’ve done in past years, extraordinary places, spaces, destination videos, F&B offerings, tech tools, and other bits and pieces that make the events world go round, we zoomed in on you. We asked dozens of event organizers across different professions and industries two questions: What was the best new initiative at your most recent event — or the one thing you always do that really sets your event apart from others? And second, what’s one new breakthrough shared or idea launched at your event that will help advance your field?

Truthfully, we had more success with responses for the first than the second question. And as we read what event organizers shared with us, we realized that there probably isn’t a single thing that happened at an event that anyone can put their finger on that will advance an industry or profession— it’s hundreds and thousands of things. From critical information discussed at sessions, to research findings detailed on posters, to connections made for future collaborations, business events simply move their constituents forward — armed with more knowledge, a deeper community, and the kind of validation that comes from being with peers who are doing similar work and making a difference in the world.

Following the links below, you’ll find examples of how event strategists used one tool at their disposal — their creativity — to design those kinds of memorable and meaningful events. Whether their efforts were intended to break down barriers to participation — like a program that enabled attendees from lower-income countries to attend a medical event with complimentary registration, or a literacy event held entirely in a public school — or to create an over-the-top experience, like a welcoming party at a villa outside Rome, complete with dancers, baroque art, and fireworks, these event planners’ results are best in show in our book. We hope that you are likewise inspired.

Art Therapy

The American Society of Hematology asked health-care practitioners, whose own wellness often takes a back seat, to answer the question, “What Keeps Your Heart in Medicine?”— through an art installation at its annual meeting.

Back to School

The International Literacy Association met the challenge of delivering an exceptional professional development experience on a limited operational budget by holding its conference in a unique — and yet entirely fitting — setting.

Tunnel Vision

For the 2019 World Tunnel Congress, organizer AIM Group International mined unusual off-site locations in Naples — including, you guessed it, in tunnels — to both educate and create a strong sense of place.

Making Local Stops

Sustainable Brands chose Detroit to host its conference, and used interactive experiences in parts of the city as ways to showcase how to respond to sustainability challenges.

Hacker Chicks

What better way to demonstrate how women can take the lead in blockchain and cryptocurrency communities than with a hackathon in which they tackle big challenges?

Battling PowerPoint

The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers declared war on boring lectures with a two-day leadership workshop held at the National World War II Museum.

All Five Senses

AIM Group International created a gala dinner that wowed 4,000 International Bar Association conference participants. How? For starters, with the setting, a villa outside of Rome, where construction work began in 1598 and the views go on forever.

Having a Heart

The Heart Rhythm Society lowered registration fees for conference participants coming from lower- and lower-middle income countries in order to spread electrophysiology education to developing economies.

Earn and Learn

Each year, a volunteer program at the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting gives student attendees an opportunity to work off their registration fee.

Risky Business

Six emerging start-up exhibitors at RIMS Conference demonstrated their technologies during a “Shark Tank”–style showdown judged by an expert panel of risk professionals.

Networking Key to Nursing Conference’s Climbing Attendance

Educational content, like the Care Coordination and Transition Management program, also drives attendance at the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing annual conference.

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