Are we failing to cultivate innovation in our conference planning process?
Do we focus so much on the details and logistics that we unknowingly sabotage our brains’ potential to cultivate innovation and creativity?
Keeping our minds engaged and inspired in the creative process is critical to conference innovation. Yet too often, we default to following the same process to create our conferences year after year. We even replicate the same schedule and change only the filler thinking we will get different results.
Four Tips To Foster Innovation During Planning
To improve productivity, enhance creativity, foster innovation, increase mental engagement and reduce stress, follow these four brain-based tips adapted from author and cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman work.
1. Nourish HOTS Daily And Avoid Rote
Don’t rely on rote in your planning process. Instead, promote higher order thinking skills (HOTS) during the planning process. Place more value on reflection (what worked, what didn’t work, what might work in the future) and creative thinking. Repetitive tasks that require regurgitating and duplicating lots of information squelches mental engagement and creativity. Instead, focus energy on creating new ideas and ask team members to think of different perspectives to stretch the brain. Ask why, why not, how come, etc., regarding routine conference planning processes, event functions and schedules.
2. Elevate Strategic Systems Thinking And Execution
Don’t encourage multitasking during planning! Jumping from one task to another in short time spans exhausts the brain. Multitasking decreases our brain’s ability to be efficient during planning. Create an environment that encourages deep focus on top strategic priorities first. Endorse one task at a time without distractions.
3. Endorse Intentional Reflective Thought During Planning
Don’t put speed above deliberate deep thought. Frequently, the fastest response is not the best response. Attendees dislike conferences that were planned with superficial, uninspired thoughts and pieced together without any intention.
4. Leverage Fresh Eyes And Different Perspectives
Avoid the trap of settling for status quo. Average conference experiences are something attendees steer clear of at all costs. Invite new voices to offer their thoughts and perspectives during your planning process. Embrace thinking from outside of the hospitality and meetings industry to get new ideas. Spark innovation by asking different questions during planning like: What type of experience are we trying to create? What is our conference emotional journey for our attendee? How can we influence relevant learning and networking opportunities that will resonate with our attendees?
What are some ways you encourage HOTS during your planning process? Where do you turn for fresh ideas and thinking outside of the meetings industry for your conference planning?