By Kim Benjamin, Untangled
Restorative innovation, defined as a framework incorporating strategies, ventures, products, and concepts designed to restore health, humanity, and the environment, took centre stage at the inaugural World Restorative Innovation Forum in September in Singapore. It was also a topic at the Singapore MICE Forum in July. With interest in restorative innovation seemingly on the rise, what’s in it for event planners and why should they take note?
Monika Adelmann, operations manager of event solutions at BCD Meetings & Events, said that event planners are uniquely positioned to make a global impact on environmental and health issues when they make educated decisions in sourcing suppliers and venues.
“Event planners should be more cognisant of selecting suppliers whose standards require sustainable production and practices such as improved working conditions and better wages for their workers,” she said.
Within the events industry, environmental impact should also be top of mind. Adelmann said this means taking into consideration the benefits of buying locally versus shipping, when and how electronic platforms can provide the same (or more) value as printed materials, integration of well-being into events (such as exercise, healthy food and fresh air), and the choice of locations that are central and walkable, reducing the need for ground transportation.
Russ Lidstone, CEO of UK-based The Creative Engagement Group, says content that opens the minds of delegates around well-being or innovation is often well received at meetings, as long as it fits comfortably with the theme and agenda of the event.
“One way this can come to life is through the active participation of delegates at an event,” he said. “We give them the opportunity to ‘give back’ and connect with the local community in some way.”
For example, instead of giving meeting delegates team-building activities, they can work on community projects, such as clearing paths or other manual work.
“Events are occasions where employees or customers can lift their heads up from the day to day and think about the bigger picture in the organisation and in life,” he added.
Restorative innovation can give attendees a sense of “belonging” too, experts say. With health and sustainability trends currently front of mind, people are now more aware of how they contribute to the environment and the importance of looking after themselves.
“By injecting [the concept of] restorative innovation [into events], a consumer will be able to relate more to the brand and they also feel that the brand will deliver a greater promise to them,” said Zoe Cheng, business director at X2 Creative. “It makes us all think a little deeper about what we are creating.”
By serving as advisers in restorative innovation, sustainability, CSR, and greener principles, events professionals can play a part in affecting user adoption and having an impact on the carbon footprint of a program.
“If, at the sourcing and planning phases, we deliver alternative options and healthier innovations, the solutions we offer can drive significant change,” said Cat Butler, director, operations – project and onsite management, event solutions at BCD.
“From the initial location selection to post-event communication efforts, this industry is poised to play a leadership role when it comes to positively affecting humanity, society and our environment.”