Back to top

Vodcast: Why Boris Kelly is bringing the EDC Programmes to Australia in 2019? [Conversation Highlights]

We’ve prepared a vodcast for you regarding the #EventCanvas and an introduction to the the Event Design Certificate Program that will take place in Australia 2019. Below I’ve gathered a few highlights, however having so many knowledge nuggets it’s still going to be a longer read so make sure you’re comfortable and have a cup of tea or coffee next to you. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

In this vodcast I was joined by Boris Kelly, co-founder and Managing Director of the College of Event Management in Australia and Ruud Janssen, co-founder and Managing Partner at Event Design Collective. I will highlight below a few of the key elements from the video.

The arrival of the #EventCanvas in Australia

The #EventCanvas is a way to code and decode how events create value on a single piece of paper so it is something that anyone can use, under Creative Commons, and make it available to a wide audience.

The first time the #EventCanvas methodology found its way to Australia, through Boris’ programs, was due to the students’ need of shifting their perspective from a personal attendee perspective to a more strategic thinking mode. They needed to be able to place themselves into the attendees’ shoes and understand how the experience might be like for them. The #EventCanvas provided therefore a frame for designers of event concepts. But it wasn’t easy.

According to Boris, sometimes even people in the events industry struggle to make the shift from their personal experience, to being an attendee to an event, to What does it take to design this experience?.

The challenges of the Australian events market

The local events industry in Australia is very robust and goes back to many years ago. Probably one of the growth accelerator of the industry were the Olympic Games hosted in Sydney, in 2000. The challenge is, where is a robust industry, there is also a high competition. In Australia’s case, it is both local and international. So how can you stand out? How do you innovate? What is your event’s USP?

The second pressure comes from the need to be able to demonstrate the ROI (return on investment) of an event. Therefore, when looking to the relationship with the clients, the event owners, the question is What is the pay-off for these stakeholders?. This need also led to a higher technology adoption in the industry in order to quantify and qualify the ROI.

We are only as good as our customers think we are.

In order to be able to come up with the unique selling points and have the return on investment we need to flip our thinking and this is where the #EventCanvas comes in place. The opportunities to look at something from another perspective are few and need to be grasped with both hands.

The Event Design Certificate Program’s advantages 

According to Boris’ own experience, the program begins with the most important standpoint which is empathy, understanding your stakeholders in a very granular, co-creative way.

Often the most creative outcomes arrive as the result of constraints.

The fantastic thing about the #EventCanvas, in Boris’ opinion is the ability to clearly articulate the constraints that event planners operate with and rather than seeing them as barriers to effective experience design, they’re the exact opposite.

The process of the Event Design Certificate Program 

Based on instructional design, the Event Design Collective trainers systematically set-up the process from Empathy mapping to the constrains which represent the frame of the event design.

Moving a step backwards to have an even wider view of the future event, one must have a very clear understanding of the different stakeholders: How their power and interest on this event are looking with regarding to the overarching aim that you have for your organization or for a specific event? Whether you’re a marketeer, a service provider, a product designer or if you are managing an organization that is trying to create change, you will have to understand:

  • Who are you designing for?
  • What is their power and interest?
  • Who are the people we need to delight?

This will take a good 13 minutes as the people in the team usually have different opinions on the stakeholders and their importance. Hence a lot of the post-its representing the various stakeholders will be moved around canvas.

Adding to the learning pile, claiming the event design time is usually quite difficult, however you will find in the video above a concrete approach on how you could do this starting with minute 20:16.

But let’s focus a little on the #EventCanvas and how the process goes once we’ve reached this canvas. See the visual explanation in the video below.

Applying the #EventCanvas methodology

There is an essential relationship between the event designer and the stakeholders. While it is quite easy to name the stakeholders, it is more difficult to decide who are the ones that must absolutely be delighted. The canvas is an accelerator for this ability.

Another important aspect is the human-centric factor. The whole program promotes the development of soft skills, from collaboration to communication, negotiation and many more. The great thing about this program is that is not a meeting, but a highly-engaging, collaborative process. It is a learning experience that not only benefits in terms of outcomes for the business, but it also enhances our ability as a team.

In the vodcast video, starting with minute 22:16, you will hear a brief walk-through of how to design an evening with the #EventCanvas methodology and also which are the roles each team member has.

The professionals for whom the EDC Programe is best for 

It is for very diverse people, coming from different backgrounds and cultures. It is for those who are under constant pressure of doing and making things happen and don’t really know how to carve the time to reflect on the process and how are things happening. It is for the people who need a systematic way of designing events and for those who need to communicate the value to the executives.

A few resources and an invitation

Subscribe to download and get familiar with the event canvas (if you haven’t done this yet) and the free first 100 pages of the Event Design Handbook: #EventCanvas and Event Design Handbook download . The full Event Design Handbook can be obtained from leading bookstores and online.

To enjoy the interesting and mind-shifting process that the #EventCanvas methodology takes you through and to learn how to design innovative events, register for our events in Australia: Sydney on 7-8 Oct and Melbourne on 10-11 Oct. 2019

If you’ve changed something, you’ve designed something.