4 Roadblocks That Stifle Conference Event Creativity

RoadblocksConference event audience palates are evolving. Attendees (and exhibitors, sponsors, & partners) are clamoring for new event experiences. Many are looking to dial up the peer-to-peer interaction and dial down the talking heads. While we're at it, how about a few more rockstar speakers? A new conference event destination would be nice. New menus, new activities, new contacts. The attendee wish list keeps growing.

At the same time, conference event planning teams are running leaner these days. Do more with less, that's the ticket. Oh, and one more thing. Don't go changing that registration price.

Holy smokes, what's an event planning team to do?

These dynamics are driving event teams to get a little more creative in 2012. Find better ways to enhance conference event deliverables, while keeping costs in check is no easy task.

The trouble is, creativity isn't something you can flip on like a light switch. It takes a little more finesse. A little more coaxing. And just when the creative juices start flowing, if you encounter a roadblock, the idea machine can come to a screeching halt.

Here are four roadblocks that can stifle, and even shut down creativity:
  1. Too Many Opinions: While it's fine to bring a large group of people together for initial brainstorming, be careful when you shift gears and start ranking and developing ideas. Too many opinions and the process slows down. Too many opinions and you wind up with a mediocre, patchwork of perspectives. In other words, Lowest Common Denominator syndrome.
  2. Not Enough Time: This ideation stuff takes time. Better to start the initial chats early on, but keep them brief. More frequent, but shorter chats will take you far. Leverage digital collaboration between live chats and things go even faster AND better.
  3. Lack of Direction: Sometimes we bend over backwards to be inclusive, but then, there's no one champion who clarifies the mission and ultimately decides which ideas get attention. Without somebody leading the charge, we get stuck in indecision quicksand. Before long, we lose energy and interest.
  4. Too Much "Ready, Aim" and Not Enough "Fire"
    Planners tend to be perfectionists. Can anyone blame them? They're on the line for hundreds of details.  This drives micro-attention to the "ready, aim" piece and often some hesitation on the "fire." This behavior can swing to the other extreme. Some groups fire, fire, fire away when they could use a little more "ready, aim."

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