Put Down the Phone, Let’s Get Active!

1phoneIn recent posts on gamification and IoT we talked about some ways to use technology to better engage modern event audiences. While the tech is here to stay and it is important to integrate it into events, every new twist you add does not have to involve technology.

In a recent survey, 99% of respondents said that in-person meetings have helped them succeed in their careers. Meetings are seen as critical to business and personal success and the rise in spending on attending them (both in the general market and the federal market) backs up that belief. Attendees want more than a technology-heavy experience (they get that in other facets of their work day). They want experiences that are uniquely real world. So how do event planners keep events fresh without making them a virtual reality experience?

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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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