Low-Carbon Meeting Design
More and more participants are coming up with better and better reasons to attend fewer face-to-face meetings.
They know the best conversations happen, and the best working relationships are built, in person. They also know their organizations are cutting back on travel. They’re too busy at work to take time away from their desks. They hate the hassle of air travel. (We know one award-winning event professional who measures his travel time in “days of life lost.”)
And with the airline industry postponing any greenhouse gas reductions until 2020, watch for rising concern about the carbon footprint of air travel.
Low-carbon meeting design is our term for a new service that combines the best of meeting and program design, technology, content management, onsite facilitation, and online community development.
Air travel is drastically reduced. Event organizers end up with a more interactive meeting and better results. And as climate change heightens the risk of severe weather, low-carbon meeting design gives events a measure of resilience, by reducing their reliance on vulnerable routes and destinations.
Rather than gathering 500, 5,000, or 50,000 participants in one location, meetings are divided across two or more community “nodes” and connected by technology.
Each node is designed as a separate meeting, with careful attention to organizers’ objectives and maximum interaction among participants.
Organizers can offer participants the option of connecting from their desktops and interacting via social media.
Once the meeting design is in place—but no sooner—organizers specify the technology they need to make the plan work.
Every aspect of the meeting is geared to building the two or three days onsite into a dynamic, year-round conversation.
We’re still learning what works best in low-carbon meeting design. So is anyone else who works on hybrid or virtual meetings. If you agree that events have to move beyond their traditional reliance on long distance travel and extra-large facilities, let’s map out a better way to meet.