AIM Group International, a company with 60 years’ experience in congresses, events and communication, supported the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) to completely innovate their annual conference, pivoting to a brand-new way to meet during their first full virtual congress, IASP 2020 Virtual Conference, titled The Human Factor. Connecting People, Communities and their Innovation Ecosystems.
IASP is the global network for science parks (STPs), innovation districts, knowledge cities and other areas of innovation (AOIs), supporting its members to drive growth, internationalisation, and effectiveness. For the 2020 edition of their annual world conference, due to the global restrictions to gatherings and travels, they took this opportunity to drive innovation among their members also in this field of activity and decided to move the event to a full digital experience.
The key objectives of the event were to surprise, entertain and satisfy their Global Community of managers; demonstrate resilience; deliver rich and meaningful content; foster the knowledge sharing; deliver ‘live’ sessions with active discussion; produce a best-in-class virtual conference on a robust and effective platform.
Recognising the association’s needs, the international digital team in charge of the event organisation put together a virtual conference format that was particularly innovative with the following unique features:
AIM Communication, the communication hub of AIM Group, developed a proprietary platform for virtual events that responded perfectly to IASP’s requirements and supported the event’s strong identity. A 3D virtual setting with appealing visuals was completely customised for content sharing and networking and was easy to navigate.
Virtual networking can be easy and so worthwhileA tool provided by Gatherly was used to make ice-breaker sessions more spontaneous, offering a real opportunity to meet and video chat with other delegates, with many turning on cameras and joining random smaller groups to say hi as would happen at an in-person conference.
To engage the delegates, they were invited to become the story tellers:delegates were able to tell their stories during ‘quickfire’ style interviews and other engaging formats, presenting their innovative projects.
Sponsors on the spotThe virtual sponsorship platform provided online exposure and networking opportunities for all sponsors. An exhibition area offered the opportunity to visit and navigate the company stand, consult brochures, watch promotional videos, click on external company links and establish a direct contact with company representatives, arrange an appointment and chat.
Communicationwas key. IASP developed a compelling narrative to keep the Community involved and engaged by promoting keynote speeches and revealing new formats.
A Master of Ceremoniesacted as an online facilitator, anchoring all the event sessions, encouraging participants to interact and network.
A sustainable initiative and positive legacy: IASP offered to plant a cocoa tree in Cameroon for each registered delegate, thus creating a real IASP Forest.
“These are difficult times to keep international networks running at full speed and for making new connections. Thanks to the active participation of our speakers and delegates at IASP Virtual, I think that we managed to do it. I am proud of our team and our members. They ensured the enormous success of our first ever virtual conference bringing our global community together despite the challenges. We didn’t just talk about our main theme “The Human Factor: People, communities and their innovation ecosystems” at IASP Virtual, we lived it in the three days that our global community spent together online. With a programme that covered a range of international time zones, IASP Virtual demonstrated how global community building is still possible without even needing to travel!” commented Ebba Lund, IASP CEO.
“We are really impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment demonstrated not only by the IASP’s Board of Directors and staff but also by the conference participants. They really appreciated the virtual format and came onboard of this new experience with a great engagement, which overcame our expectations” comments Monica Freire, Business Manager Congress Unit, Iberia Region, AIM Group International. “We are really happy that the solutions provided by our Team were able to support the association to achieving its goals and realising a memorable online event.”