After Kosta’s wrap-up about the event some days ago, i’d like to share with you some personal impressions and lessons learned from this event.
We have been designing this event for a couple of months. Not every day 100% – though that may have been true the last two weeks when everything comes together – but a quite substantial piece of our time.
As many of our events, it all looks a bit like chaos – organized chaos.
It looks like
things happen by magic,
but there is no magic
There is just an awful amount of preparation and design. We spent quite some time to think through the design of our Innotribe events.
But despite all the preparation, debriefs, visuals from the location, hotel rooms, etc, etc the whole thing comes really alive once you actually are on-site and see/feel the actual space that will be hosting your event.
I landed in Mumbai around 1am the morning of 31st May 2011. Baggage got lost in London Heathrow. It was 2:30am before i was in my hotel room. Tired. The rest of the team already flew in the day or some days before.
After a short night, team briefing. So far everything in pretty good shape. We have hijacked 2 rooms and use them as our headquarters. Don’t have pictures of this, but everybody is crew: Kosta and Matteo sitting on the ground cutting hardboard. In the meantime, the facilitation crew is changing once more the design of the event. It’s getting better and better.
Lessons learned so far:
- Everybody in the team is crew.
- I have to let go at this stage. Have the impression my interventions don’t add value anymore. My presence is becoming distracting. Let the team do what they need to do. Don’t intervene. Trust the process
Next checkpoint: room set-up at 7pm. Problems. The previous event has not even started breaking down. And the hotel turned off the airco in the ballroom: no need for airco for night workers… Room is steamy hot. There is nothing we can do. It will take at least till midnight before our audio/visual and stage guys will have set up our stuff. Decision: let’s go to bed early and gather back at 4am for general set-up.
Here is Alex keeping the morale up !
June 1, 4am: room is not ready yet. Some team members worked till 2am. Has hardly 2 hours sleep. You can feel the fatigue and the irritation settling in. 7:30am and we have not done even the sound-check and dry-run. Airco is back on.
Somehow – as by magic – all pieces of the puzzle fall in place. It’s 8:30am and the registration desk open. Quickly to room for shower and changing cloths so i don’t smell on stage.
Here is a picture of the opening session
Events runs smoothly for the rest of day. End result is quite cool “knowledge wall”. Again, all team is crew.
17:30pm: Staff de-brief on day-1. Surprising how many folks turn up that i have not seen through the rest of the day. Obviously, those are the people who have most comments on day one. My role:
Don’t take it personal
What the hell do i care about the typography on some slides or the size of the coffee cups when this event is about financial inclusion? This is good inspiration for me to prepare another blog on event intensities.
Anyway, team will take comments on board and come-up with a redesign after the dinner.
19:00pm dinner. Have a deep discussion with one of the speakers. He has prepared video for the event, but i am lacking the authentic person behind the video. It looks like a documentary. Suggest speaker not to hide behind the lectern and to come in full vulnerability into the audience. Be vulnerable in saying “i don’t know”.
Be vulnerable in
being and standing there
as your authentic self
Do we all have the courage to do so ?
20:30pm after dinner. Debrief on new design. Don’t like it.
Seems we are having
a big illusion
Is financial inclusion the real agenda, or is it just a smoke-curtain to package a discussion between banks and telcos?
These are the real hard questions. It’s about the integrity and authenticity of the event. Should we put it on the table the next day?
We decide yes. We re-design the bloody thing once more. Late again, not enough hours of sleep. Back next morning at 6am.
The room has been re-arranged. From theatre into semi-circle context.
Have briefed all speakers that i will go into conversation with them during their presentation. Yes, i will interrupt them in their flow if they don’t manage to bring home their message fast and clear enough.
We also “play” with silence. With looking each of the participants in the eyes and call for honesty and integrity.
Highlight of the morning is (designed) conversational talk between Dan Marovitz and Neal Livingston.
Afternoon highlights are The Mixer – i love the station-format where you can go from station to station every 10 minutes.
Crown jewel of the event is the Mobile Arena. Matteo his usual self as master entertainer and master of ceremony of the Mobile Arena. There is lot of video material in Kosta’s previous blog.
But not only Matteo is in top shape. I have seen other people growing during this event.
For example Greet, who we bombarded to Audio/Visual manager: growing from shy and hyper-nervous rabbit with open eyes looking in the white light beam at 4am on day one, to the commander in chief controlling the A/V troops by the end of day-2.
Kosta, now in the crowd – anonymous, almost liberated from his staff – in symbiosis with the Indians, truly enjoying, his genuine smile, his body moving with some latency with the Indian Wave.
We end the day and the event with some powerful “Indian Waves”, sheering to everybody who contributed to the event.
Time to relax. We have a cool evening dinner. Lots of fun, jokes, drinks,… Landing…
The day after, i go with Muriel on a guided tour in Mumbai. First time i leave the hotel. Amazed by the crowd, the traffic, the contrasts in wealth and poverty.
The Ghandi house leaves me deeply impressed.
The days after: I see some shrewd attempts water down what we did at this event. Even questioning whether we should do this at all. They try to hide behind a smoke screen of revenue and pragmatic deliverables.
They won’t succeed.
The genius has left the bottle
What they don’t understand is that we are on a mission. We are at war. Against the old game. For a better world and company. With an enthusiasm and belief seldom witnessed before.
True enthusiasm is irresistible
So, yes this is about energy. About creating a new dynamic. About enabling a new culture. About reaching new audiences. About bringing new and refreshing content. About a different brand awareness of SWIFT, that makes you look never the same way again at this company.
that breaks down
and corporate walls
It’s about Indian Waves and genuine smiles.