Making Your IDP Count

1IDPIDPs – Individual Development Plans – are designed to help employees define a path forward in their federal career and develop a plan to get there. While for many this feels like a burdensome administrative process, it is a critical exercise that holds employee and manager accountable for job success and satisfaction.

One key element of the IDP is creating an action plan. In addition to setting short (one to three years) and long-term (five to 10 years) goals, employees must also outline the steps needed to achieve those goals. This includes listing job-specific activities, training, and further education. Deadlines are assigned to the goals as well as the tasks associated with them.

Knowing what events and training options are available to support short and long-term goals is a critical part of making an IDP actionable. Having a definitive and substantiated list of needed training and events in an IDP can make the path to attendance and expense approval much smoother. But how do you know which events will really help you meet those goals and where do you find them?

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Playing Games

1gamesWhile the topics discussed at government events can be incredibly serious — national security, cyber threats, defense — that does not mean events have to be solemn. We’ve talked here before about bringing some fun to federal events without undermining the critical nature of the content.

Whether we realize it or not, Gamification has made its way into our professional lives. From “medals” awarded during mandatory online training to challenge.gov-type procurements to department contests for holiday cube decorating or charitable collections, we’ve inserted gameplay seamlessly into our work lives and it can also be done at our events. This game motivation goes back to our school days when teachers would post stars next to classmates’ names for good behavior or excellent grades.

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Making Event Things Internet Things

1 IoTThe annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) wrapped up in Vegas earlier this month, and there is a buzz around the latest connected devices that will make our lives easier, more connected, and of course, fun. The Internet of Things is a topic covered in many events, but it also has a huge impact on events themselves.

The Internet of Things (IoT) can be defined simply as everyday objects connected to a network. This means everything from the Fitbit on your wrist, to the thermostat in your home, to a sensor in a ceiling tile that connects to an app on your phone and welcomes you by name. This talk at a BizBash event highlights some lavish ways event producers and marketers can use the IoT to enhance the attendee experience including networked drinking cups that link you with colleagues on social media when you tap them in a “cheers.” There are also social coolers that open up to reveal sodas or other drinks when you walk by with an app open. While some of these ideas may be impractical for the government event market, there are some basic IoT principles that can be applied to keep pace with the consumer-facing event market.

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2015 By The Numbers

2015In the annual tradition of predictions, we’ve already looked ahead to 2016 trends, but we also want to take a moment to look back at the year that was.  As we’ve reported, 2015 turned out to be a great year for the federal events industry with government budgets and restrictions around training and travel loosening.

In the spirit of using Big Data, we took a look at our own data sets and pulled a couple numbers that speak to the year that was.

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2016 Federal Event Market

1pedictionsSince we did fairly well on our predictions last year, we decided to drag the crystal ball out of storage and take a look at what we think the federal event market will look like in 2016.

  • More creativity in events – with budgets loosening up for travel and training and event attendance rising, the stress level of the federal event industry is going down. Between adapting to the new normal of longer approval cycles and knowing that events are again on the “need to have” list for federal professionals, event planners can once again turn their attention to innovation. From better integration of social channels, to creative ways to present information, we expect to see some changes to business as usual for federal events.
  • Cybersecurity remains hot – The OPM breach drove home how vulnerable federal systems are to today’s threat landscape. With the completion of the Cyber Sprint, agencies have cleaned up their basic security hygiene and now are focused on implanting the policies that came out of the government-wide security exercise. Look for cyber events to be more tactical and less theoretical in nature to support the action-oriented plans of federal IT teams.
  • Video – while MTV may not be showing videos anymore, federal events will be utilizing this medium more and more. With video becoming affordable and easier to produce and stream, even with just a smartphone, federal meeting planners will take advantage of the medium to draw more eyes to their content and expand the life of the information presented at shows. Bandwidth concerns being a thing of the past and the creation of cloud-based, user-friendly video apps makes video a viable option for training.
  • Physical security – as much as we hate to think about it, in the past year we’ve seen lone gunmen and terrorists target large gatherings. In 2016, we expect to see event planners take a number of additional security steps including taking a closer look at attendee lists, more detailed emergency communication plans, use of metal detectors and security screenings, and more overt reminders of emergency exits, etc., for audiences in large venues.

We’d love to hear your feedback on our predictions and feel free to add yours in the comments. Here’s to an exciting 2016!