Posts Tagged ‘ISES’

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MINNESOTA STAR AWARDS…CELEBRATING 10 YEARS

April 5, 2014

For  years, I’ve been the broken record in the dark among  Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter members…never accepting the recent path of our journey as we moved ever deeper into the THEME party motif for our Star Awards.

 With the “performance improvement” background from my FIRST career, I firmly believe Awards events are to recognize outstanding efforts and achievement; to demonstrate talent within our midst and to provide opportunities for us to learn from each other to better improve performance and meet objectives of our clients….and yes, to celebrate what we, as the ISES community, bring and contribute to the urban location in which we live.

Last evening’s event made one GIANT STEP in accomplishing all that in an environment of collaboration and sharing that could be felt wherever one turned. 

I felt like the proud parent – particularly since I have devoted most of the past 5-6 years preaching collaboration for better results for all in everything we do.  This year, I felt “it” everywhere, all evening…but only when I got home and read Susan’s Welcome in the Program, was I able to put my finger on what the “it” was:

“We’re here to celebrate the work, acknowledge talent, showcase creativity, and recognize that what we do is complicated, challenging and important.  We collaborate to create experiences that impact people’s lives.  That’s why they are called special events.” 

And that is exactly why last evening I felt it; I knew I was attending a truly special event.  Indeed, I had no entries this year; I was not a finalist; I took home no hardware to show for my efforts in the industry, but I went home proud of the chapter I was a part of founding “way back when” fifteen years ago.  What a wonderful personal gift I received as I wind down this SECOND career in the life of Cheryl Kranz!

There is no doubt in my mind-the celebration of the Tenth Anniversary was the best Minnesota Star Awards I have attended.

It recognized the vision of the originals…Jody, Jean, and Sheree;

It recognized the rebirth of a great cultural icon in MSP and effectively used the Orchestra Hall space to advantage;

In the Gallery, it recognized the progressive journey of the chapter;

It recognized the work of finalists and award winners in an engaging and timely manner (and yes indeed, Susan, without most of the audience even recognizing that the MC had to drop out just the day before-a remarkable recovery on that one, so another KUDOS to you J)

And most of all, it recognized attendee needs and interests.

If one area had little appeal…one could just move along to the next.  No need to “suffer through” anything that did not resonate at the moment.

Perhaps for the first time, there was less about alcohol and more about interesting food inclusions and great examples of how to use that food to contribute to the ambience. It may also be the first time I did not leave hungry.  And for sure, it was the first time I think I had NO NEED for Gretchen’s MORNING AFTER departure gift…although remembering one very BAD year, the kit- indeed- made me smile.  And that’s a good thing; for up to now, that particular memory has been MOST humiliating!

The pre-event communications were GREAT…I especially compliment Susan and the team for the recognition given to the sponsors.  The Facebook introduction of each paid off-at least for me.  As I have refocused on the search for that illusive Third Career” and spent less time on ISES, many of the sponsors were new names to me.  My resource file grew in leaps and bounds.

The program did a great job in recapping quickly each finalist entry…but of course, I wanted MORE.  Yes, I was one of those few that actually browsed through the old BINDER collection.  Not a ‘must have” for most, but that would be my only entry on a future Awards wish list….maybe finalists need some Facebook time as well to communicate  more than one paragraph can tell of each story…if only for those of us who want and can absorb MORE!

Finally, on a personal note, although Creative Events  focus over the last 21 years has been on corporate events , I am especially proud of those among us who share talents and inspiration with our sister non-profit world.  I am always amazed at the impact ISES members make in that other universe.  Based on the few times I have ventured into that realm, I know it is a lot harder to accomplish the mission with small budgets, lots of committees, lots of volunteers, lots of sponsors and lots of opinions!

So for those of you who include the non-profits in your book of work, Kudos to you.  I am in AWE.

The ISES Star Awards turned TEN last night and thanks to Susan Diamond and the talented and dedicated ISES members that formed her team, I think we GREW UP and successfully passed out of our childhood.  It was job WELL DONE by all….and now, one last question:  Who has extra programs that I can tap into as I head off to Rochester in search of Career # 3?  Surely, I can use them as a tool to build a new nucleus of opportunity in the DMC!

 

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MEETING DESIGN: The What, Why and How

August 15, 2013

Yesterday, I received the advance copy of the MPI launch of their new initiative – a focus on Meeting Design.  It, along with a supporting case study based on our own collaborative efforts in conjunction with Boston Scientific and the CRV All-employee meetings of 2010-2011, will be introduced to 71 chapters of MPI around the world over the next several months. 

On one hand, I feel like the proud mom, to be even a small part of the movement that grew out of the mid-2000s, that I was experimenting with here in Minneapolis in 2007-2008 with some good successes surrounding the Republican National Convention.  As I was reading and researching and re-thinking the world of “meetings”, Maarten Vanneste was doing the same thing – “popularizing it in his book,  Meeting Architecture, a manifesto (2008)”.

Slowly, the interest and understanding of a new approach to our business grew; the successes happened and were acknowledged in trade press; fortunately for me, a colleague in the industry here in the Twin Cities was also following the transformation and change in thinking and opened the doors to us at Boston Scientific so that we could become the case study that is included in the MPI international launch.

Although I am tempted to use the cliché, “The Rest Is History” – it really is not.  It is only the beginning.

I have associations with several professional organizations – two of which seem to be launching the new approach Big Time this year…and that is a good thing.  Nevertheless, it will not be an easy transition.

I myself am currently working with a client that daily reminds me of the great task ahead as we move forth to try to modernize our own industry.  I have been working with this “Event Team” for 6 weeks now; and long ago lost count of the number of times I have been challenged by two members of this mini-steering committee (who in their professional lives handle meeting logistics for their own organizations).  I have no doubt they are passionate people; that they are passionate about logistics; and they are passionate about being right and doing it their way.  They are not so passionate about collaborative thinking, however – which is, indeed, the very key to the successful transition into the new world before us.

That first step –the Principle of Collaboration is an elusive one for many people. MPI describes it and its importance well:

Tap into the collective intelligence of the group to better understand its needs, generate new ideas, determine best solutions and put plans into action….the wisdom of the crowd is an invaluable resource.  Inherent in every meeting, is the opportunity for change, progress and innovation.”

And so, as I proudly read the final version of the MPI Meeting Design initiative, and the final version of the accompanying case study, and forwarded it to the rest of the team, I was quickly brought back to reality.  

Yesterday was a baby-step forward.  The rollout in MPI Chapters internationally will be baby-steps; the fight for successes in this new world will be baby step after baby step.  The work is not done in modernizing our industry and pulling it – screaming in protest- into the 21st century.

 PCMA is doing a great job in moving forward leading the industry as they have done with forward thinking since their first publication of the book “Professional Meeting Management” in the 1980s that led to the CMP certification process. (And yes, I am as proud to say that I was one of first five CMPs in Minnesota, as I am to say, I am proud to be one of the 5 founders of  the ISES chapter in Minnesota, and proud to be working with MPI to launch the Meeting Design approach all these many years later).

 MPI has now made the initial move; I think ISES is trying to do the same with their new educational approach.  But none of us have learned to walk yet, let alone RUN with these new ideas.  With time, we will get better – just as over time, we got better with the logistical end of our business.

In the meantime, I am comforted to read in the new initiative:

Meeting design challenges the status quo.  It represents a paradigm shift-a profound change in the fundamental meeting model that sees every meeting as a nail for the proverbial hammer of logistics. Logistics is building a house; meeting design is making that house a home….meeting participants needs are evolving beyond satisfying their basic needs for food, shelter, safety, proximity to others and  exposure to others.”

Basic needs:  food, shelter, safety, proximity to others and exposure to others.  Taken out of context, that conjures up man’s move out of the cave and exploration of the world around him, doesn’t it?  Those that were afraid to leave the cave and explore for new opportunities died.  And that’s what makes this exciting! 

“Attendees want innovative, unique experiences that challenge their senses, their expectations, their knowledge and their ideas.  Fulfilling on that is the ultimate value of meeting design.”

 

 

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EXPERIENTIAL DESIGN

November 15, 2010

Over the last several years, I have gradually lowered my expectation of benefits I would reap from the monthly ISES meetings, as educational efforts seemed aimed towards the lowest common denominator within the audience.  I surmised that was a natural result of what I felt was using conferences such as The Special Event and EventWorld as a place to line up chapter speakers by sampling “industry leaders” seminar content .  Since most have for years been underwhelming and generally ego-driven show-and-tell pretty pictures, I learned to attend for the networking, and occasionally, was pleasantly surprised  with a new venue, a service or a quality topic and presentation from a guest speaker making his rounds from chapter to chapter.  That approach saved me from being disappointed, and I tried not to think about the impact that national approach to chapter education was having on “dumbing down” the quality of events coming from ISES members. 

That assumption seemed to be reinforced as I looked at “Special Event” magazine.  Twenty years ago, I poured over articles, reading it cover to cover for what I could learn to make me a better event planner.  Today when it comes, I thumb through it quickly for new products and any mention of local MN members, then file it away – knowing if I don’t, I will never come back to it, as it generally holds little of interest in terms of event approaches.

So I was ecstatic last week to be part of the audience that welcomed Kris Kirstoffersen to our November chapter meeting.  I knew I had made the right choice between Pink and ISES when Kris began with the premise that event design is not décor and then jumped right into a progression within ISES that tracked events from party planner to WOW factors to reveals to appealing to senses to creating an experience to what we are really all about – telling a story that stimulates thought and delivers a message.  To recognize that  progression, understand, reinvent a company, and do exceedingly well through the recession should be a signal to all-particularly those companies that view themselves as designers, yet suffered through the down-turn in the economy. 

The message last week reinforced what I observed and experienced, supporting my premise. Those of us that strive to tell the client’s story and view our contribution in this industry as part of a customer’s marketing strategy have had two very good years.

And best of all, I didn’t have to forego Daniel Pink entirely when I chose to attend ISES instead of the AchieveMpls lunch at the Depot at the same time. MinnPost.com ran a feature on what Daniel had to say.  I expected the message he conveyed, as I have heard him speak, am an avid fan, and have digested all his books. But it is always nice to hear someone you admire tell you that Minnesota is uniquely positioned to make the educational paradigm shift because “you have an enormous tradition of creativity from the arts community, and a tradition of non-ideological problem-solving. “   The column author, Beth Hawkins also shared that the presentation based on “Drive: The surprising Truth about What Motivates Us” included similar themes he presented at the idea forum TED – so I am off to take a look right now.

  In the end I will not only get a Pink fix, but my faith that ISES may indeed make the transition from early days event planning to the world of experiential messaging has been reinforced. Kudos to the 2010 MN ISES Board.

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TODAY’S DILEMMA

November 11, 2010

Frequent followers of this blog probably know I became a great supporter of Daniel Pink after attending a University Lecture Series event strictly by chance some five years ago.  Here I was introduced not only to Pink but to a whole new way of thinking as he talked about what led him to write “A Whole New Mind”. Not only did I learn about concepts such as the Creative Class and the Conceptual Age, but it launched the beginnings of my exploration of the 21st century’s version of adult learning models – theories pretty revolutionary from what I lived by in the 70s and 80s during my career in the world of Motivation and Performance Improvement.

Early last year, Pink published his third book, “Drive” and with the introduction of Motivation 3.0 truly stopped me in my tracks.  It took some time and reminders to keep an open mind to get on board, but that I did – although I had some trepidation about some things.  I was looking forward to talking with him in person when he was featured as the guest author at Barnes and Noble in February so off I went – early to get a good seat- to the Galleria, and was sorely disappointed to learn he was stuck on the West Coast and would not make it to Minnesota. 

So, I was especially excited to get another chance when I saw he would be speaking at a luncheon at the Depot today and made a mental note to follow up and get a ticket.

Not so fast!  Today is also the November ISES meeting with Ken Kristoffersen sharing his thoughts and knowledge on Experiential Design – another of my passions and thus a Must Attend. Because, again for followers of the blog, I am equally passionate about  event design  and working to get people within our industry to understand that event design relates to message and desired outcomes, how to engage an audience and start a dialog  and create an immersive experience – and not simply the design of the shell – or look- of an event. 

So I have wrestled with this conflict for days…I’m a founder of this ISES chapter that pushed hard to get a charter– I have to support it…it’s a topic that’s dear to me…I already paid for ticket…but on the other hand, this is the first appearance by Pink in Minneapolis in five years …he is one of the pioneers of this whole new way of thinking-a thought-leader that challenges me to think differently…truly, this was a dilemma. 

But in the end, a client’s needs and the commitment to the chapter reigned supreme- and so I am off to listen and interact with Ken.  If you are not an ISES member and have the time – go see Daniel Pink and call me to share some dialog on his latest thinking!  I promise you, if you don’t know his work – it will get you thinking a new way! Wish I could be there to share it.

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REFLECTIONS ON A RECENT ISES MEETING

February 23, 2010

Despite much of the meeting and event industry’s certification focus being placed on the logistics and accoutrements of our business, I assess an event or, for that matter, a member of the event industry, based on the three broader competencies of our business – design, evaluation, and support elements.

Thought-leaders in the industry are concentrating on the expanded definition of design-that essential first step in the process. Others have directed efforts to portions of the cost/worth/risk evaluation, and most of us are familiar to some degree with support elements from technology to décor, entertainment to floral, and that always illusive “WOW”-factor. But mostly overlooked is that primary obligation to our clients – assessing the risk of the event and of our plan.

So I was looking forward to a recent ISES chapter meeting with a program that advertised a panel discussion on logistics and security issues. It dove-tailed well into the recent State of Industry keynote by Eisenstodt and her positioning of future trends and the core competencies we will need to be successful in that changing environment (see blog posted 02/05/10). Unfortunately, I left very disappointed-despite the excellent efforts of the panel moderator and the input of police and fire panel members.

The report on the local state of the event industry while professionally done, was the first indication that as a chapter, we may still be “living on the surface”. The impact of the economy dominated the study, of course, but I was disconcerted to hear little about marketing, message, needs and outcomes, and a whole lot about difficulties of tight budgets and pleas for don’t cut the food; don’t cut the décor; don’t cut the linens. That coupled with an emerging planner vs. vendor mentality raised a red flag that perhaps we are not quite as “collaborative” as we would like to think we are! It also signaled that it may have been beneficial for more ISES members to hear the Eisenstodt message that understanding the economy-driven pressure on both sides helps maintain ethical negotiations and provides a formula for a win-win solution. (see blog posted 02/04/10).

Nevertheless, as the panel discussion commenced, I was engaged and ready to participate and learn. And I was disappointed- not by the preparation or presentation done by the moderator – but by the responses from ISES members sitting on the panel.

We blew it. This was an opportunity to learn more about one of the most important thing we do as members of the broader event community. This was an opportunity to engage the many, many new faces of corporate event planners that were drawn to the meeting looking to increase (or perhaps share) their knowledge. And we did not get the job done.

We are better than this. ISES Boards and members have worked hard to gain recognition for our chapter in the ISES world using ISES-based measurements. Now it is time to earn recognition in the real world as strategic players delivering low-risk, meaningful results- arm in arm with our client partners.