Developing & Facilitating a Digital Event for Senior Executives
On July 23, I had the honor of running The Collective’s inaugural digital conference, Leading Innovation: Creating Value in Times of Crisis and facilitating several of its sessions. I designed this event based on my collaboration with Romina Kunstadter, Founder of The Collective and Head of Custom Events for Informa, and Alyson DeMaso, Founder of Raising Beauty.
The three of us saw COVID-19 changing the rules and forcing us all to rethink how communities of practice engage. With this event, we wanted to start a conversation exploring innovation leaders’ potential to help their organizations not just survive, but thrive and prepare for a better future. This three-hour online experience was all about optimism and agility in what is a truly VUCA* world today.
An interactive agenda for innovation leaders
Our lineup of panelists and speakers was exceptional, including:
- Shawn Nason, Founder, MOFI, on “Never Waste a Crisis: Doubling Down on Wellbeing in the New Reality”. (Special thanks to MOFI for event sponsorship).
- Jeremy Lowenstein, CMO, MeUndies, who chatted with me about brand authenticity.
- Brian Rice, formerly Georgia Pacific’s Head of Design and Senior Director, Design, Graphics & Packaging Innovation, led a panel discussion on “Pivoting to Create Value in a VUCA World.” The panelists were Amber Hall, Global Consumer Trends & Foresights Manager, Wolverine Worldwide, and Amber Chase, Cyborg Anthropologist and User Experience Designer, Calm Technology.
I wanted the event to be highly interactive, so we included a breakout session for small facilitated groups to discuss “Navigating This New Reality.” As one of our facilitators, Erica Orange, EVP & COO, The Future Hunters, observed, “We are living in a time when future-proofing any entity is more critical than ever before. All of this requires re-imagination of all that we do and how we do it.” (Special thanks to Shawn Nason and Robin Glasco, also of MOFI, for facilitating breakout sessions.)
A virtual climate for innovation
I had the opportunity to speak about “Using Empathy to Build a Virtual Climate for Innovation.” After discussing the differences between Climate and Culture in an organization, I shared four steps leaders can take to increase innovation in their organizations:
- Meet with your senior leadership to encourage them to tell their innovation story.
- Create norms, not rules, for remote teams.
- Focus on improving the two climate dimensions that will make the most impact on your team or organization.
- Encourage laughter, emotion, as well as healthy debate.
Continuing our people-focused theme, Alyson led a 15-minute “Wellness Break: Creating Space – a Shared Mediation Experience.” This was followed by small group workshops on the topic, “Build Your Personal Roadmap to Value Creation”. As the event drew to a close, all attendees came back together. A spokesperson from each breakout group reported on their group’s key takeaways.
Inspiring leaders and teams
At the end of the conference, I was inspired by the enthusiasm and passion from everyone. Ultimately, we are in the people business. Often it’s the simplest things we can do that inspire teams to be their most creative selves.
In addition, as Alyson pointed out, “This was an extraordinary group of leaders. They have tremendous responsibility and obligation to the business. And yet, the #1 priority and topic of discussion was about their people. This speaks volumes about where they add value and what will be expected of future leadership.”
Customized digital events for your innovation team
Looking for better ways to bring your innovation team together in this increasingly VUCA world? My team and I are available to assist you in developing tailored digital events that can foster the collaboration and insights driving innovation today. Contact us today!
* VUCA = Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous