Derrick M. Johnson sees a stunning future in the digital events arena involving artificial intelligence and holograms. Johnson, the director of meetings at Washington, D.C.–based Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, also serves on the PCMA Foundation Board of Trustees. Although he has planned digital and hybrid events since 2009, he earned his DES certification this year — thanks to a scholarship provided by Meetings + Conventions Calgary.
What prompted you to pursue DES certification?
Digital events have provided organizations the opportunity to disseminate content affordably to larger audiences. Technology is no longer simply a tool we use; it is part of our human existence. In conjunction, digital events are no longer a value add but a base requirement to effectively provide continuous education and messaging to our global audiences.
What value do you place on it?
The DES is necessary for any event strategist who cares to be innovative or relevant in the future. It’s more important than the CMP as that credential represents a foundational knowledge of our industry, while the DES looks beyond and focuses on enhancement.
What do you see in the future of digital events?
I believe the next evolution in digital events truly merges the digital and F2F in a collaborative environment where humans interact with both artificial intelligences and holograms. Personal interactions and physical experiences are the best ways in which we learn; this vision combines both. AI is making our lives easier and daunting tasks obsolete. By combining it with the visual immersion of people in existing locations, organizations have opportunities for greater collaboration and global education.
How will you apply what you learned?
By obtaining the certification and committing to continuous learning in digital-event technologies, I become a more effective producer of digital events. Organizations in which I interact become more adept to handle tomorrow’s digital challenges today.
How specifically are you using digital and hybrid events?
Through our Leadership Academy, we offer virtual workshops, which are interactive online-learning classes. Our government-affairs team and business-intel department each do webcasts.