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Posts Tagged ‘future of conferences’

Lounges in the Work Place

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Move aside Google. The National Conference Center is taking on some of your traits. Some of the best companies out there are known for pampering their employees, fostering collaboration and providing space and design for brainstorming. After a manager spoke about wanting a designated area for employees to have “quiet time” – our sales team was introduced to a “quiet lounge” or the “quiet room.” Today at the opening of the “quiet room,” we renamed it “quite-a-room.”  The room was adorned in post-its for what our sales managers hope to see in the room, rules as well as uses for the lounge.

Similar to meeting attendees, employees want space to brainstorm and relax.

Ideas are already flowing in our new lounge

The quiet lounge wasn’t so quiet today

If you created a lounge in your work place, what would you use it for? How do lounges help you in the workplace? Read more about space and design for conferences in our fall white paper – The Future of Conferences: How Certain Conference Innovators Are Winning.

5 Conferences Designs for The Future [PHOTOS]

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

We all want to know the future. Here are 5 images that capture the next generation of conferences. All photos are courtesy of Steelcase and the annual conference for Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED):

Creativity Lab by Steelcase focuses on coming together for
white-boarding, brainstorming and collaboration with a lounge setting.

media:scape by Steelcase HD video conferencing
is designed to boost collaboration among attendees around the globe and the table.


Leap WorkLounge designed by Steelcase for when you want to work or relax – chair with ottoman

Bob Lounge Chair by Steelcase for a businesslike attitude yet a warm embrace -
makes you feel at home while you’re at work.

Campfire Collections “helps people bring their favorite places to work” and the campfire paper table
is simple and acts as a hub for ideas that can be used with paper or glass.

To read more about the future of conferences and how certain conference innovators like Steelcase are stepping out of the box to win, visit our Fall White Paper.

Space & Design Is Emphasized in Dining Halls

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

New ARAMARK Dining Hall at Widener University focuses on the space and design

What are you doing to keep your attendees happy? Are you geniunely listening to their feedback to make changes? In an article, “Giving Students What They Want,” we learn that ARAMARK Higher Education is doing extensive research to find out what students want in their dining options. According to the article, Widener University, the University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Rochester have started the new school year with offerings that reflect feedback from their DiningStyles survey.

In our fall white paper “The Future of Conferences: How Certain Conference Innovators Are Winning,” we emphasized the importance of attendee surveys and space and design; space and design plays an integral role in the future of conferences because it’s what attendees want in their conference experience – a design for collaboration, space to accomplish work and lounges where you can meet others and socialize. Conference planners are considering attendee evaluations to be a significant factor in not only maintaining attendance, but increasing attendance annually and keeping them satisfied by giving them what they want.

The University of Rochester in New York is opening two newly redesigned campus dining facilities. The first known as Danforth Fresh Food Company is “an open kitchen that encourages contact between chef and student; new meal stations like the Mongolian Grill, as well as vegetarian and vegan stations; eco-friendly LED lighting; and chairs made from recycled Coke bottles and cans.” At the University of Texas at Arlington, the new P.O.D. market takes on the locavore movement offering food information with a place of origin and nutritional value. And, a dining hall that places importance on space and design has been implemented at Widener University’s Pride Café.  According to the article, input from the students helped them to decide on the name, the logo, and even the chairs; the café now functions as a ‘campus living room’ because it’s a comfortable place to hang out. You can see pictures on the Widener Dining facebook page. Other options include a new “text-and-tell” board, which allows students to text feedback anytime, and other feedback options allow ARAMARK to respond quickly and keep an open exchange going.

Outside of conference centers and dining halls, are you seeing other movements towards space and design? Do you think everything become the next Starbucks and Barnes & Noble – is there that much of a need to disconnect and lounge in a face-to-face atmosphere?

Fall White Paper on The Future of Meetings is Released Early

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

A futuristic idea by Steelcase – the Node chair

Beginning this year, we’ve released a quarterly white paper in a series we’ve named Meeting Discoveries. The spring white paper as many of you may have read was The Science of Food for Thought: Enhancing Meetings Through Food and explored research by Andrea Sullivan, an organizational psychologist with a passion for the study of the brain including brain food and field studies by Executive Chef Craig Mason of The National Conference Center. Our summer white paper Understanding Generational Differences: The Key to Attracting, Motivating and Retaining Your Workforce with generational evangelists Ann Fishman and Jeffrey Vargas, conference director of education and engagement Jeff Hurt and human resources manager Ildiko Agoston focused on classrooms and learning strategies to appeal to each generation. By CEOs and trainers understanding generational differences they’re better able to satisfy their employees and as a result, obtain more business with happier customers.

This week we’re rolling out the red carpet for our fall white paper, The Future of The Meetings Industry: Why Certain Conference Innovators Are Winning. The interviews feature conference innovators – Adrian Segar, a peer conference designer by trade and author of Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love, Tom Condon, an interior designer for Steelcase and Dr. Lennie Scott-Webber Director of Education Environments for Steelcase.

  1. A strong emphasis of space & design in the future of conferences – the common theme that resonated with each conference innovator was helping people connect with each other. We’ll answer – Why does space and design play such a large role in collaboration and learning? Discover the cool and modern designs for environments by Steelcase.
  2. Traditional conferences will disappear - With lower satisfaction ratings and the ability to google or YouTube, attendees travel to a conference to network and learn material that’s of interest to them. Adrian Segar’s book will help you learn how to transition from traditional conferences – the white paper is a small peek into the concept of his book on peer conferences.
  3. Abundance of space becomes important – Condon recommends a venue with space that can be anamorphic, in order to create “a palette of places.” Learn more about “a palette of places” in the white paper and how these “out of the box” concepts will make up the future of conferences.
  4. Similar to Yelp, planners like businesses are listening – These three innovators rely on the feedback of conference evaluations to create a meeting that satisfies all. Meetings are steering away from the material transferred from planners to attendees in order to keep the conference material relevant and exciting.
  5. No fear for conference centers or planners – Readers and planners may be pleasantly surprised to discover that social media isn’t driving face-to-face events away, but in fact creating a need for one-on-one interaction.  Find out why people are attending for connections made.

What points in the white paper could you most relate to? Are the three trends surprising or educating you on new concepts? See the full white paper: The Future of The Meetings Industry: Why Certain Conference Innovators Are Winning.

SURPRISE: The Future of Conferences Won’t Focus On…

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

For Steelcase, technology plays a role but isn’t the main focus,
instead the design focuses on collaborative learning.

You’ll be surprised to find out in the fall issue of our white papers series Meeting Discoveries that the future of conferences won’t focus on… technology. We interviewed three professionals in the meetings industry whom we consider to be conference innovators on current upcoming trends, the emphasis attendees are placing in their survey results and what’s most important in the future. A year ago, venues might have feared technology would take over and replace face-to-face meetings but according to these innovators, technology is important but doesn’t play an integral role in the future of learning. In fact, in the white paper (set to be published at the end of this month) you’ll discover that 70% of learning is believed to be a social interaction with others.

5 things you’ll discover in our fall white paper:

  1. How conferences are changing to adapt to the needs of attendees  – you might be surprised what a large emphasis is being placed on satisfying attendees to keep them returning each year.
  2. Discover why attendees are currently traveling to conferences – one hint: it’s not what you planned in your conference agenda.
  3. Find out what’s crucial for collaboration and learning – In order to increase collaboration and learning, know the unique traits of a setting that will help foster this at your conference.
  4. Know what conference innovators predict long-term – If you’re afraid of social media or think it’s distracting, consider incorporating it now.  It won’t play a large role, instead it’ll be considered a “birth-right,” similar to free Wi-Fi.
  5. Understand the difference between traditional conferences and peer conferences – It’s the difference between active versus passive learning and will make significant difference in the future of your meeting success.

What do you predict as the future of conferences and meetings? Have you foreseen trends in the past that you were right about; if so what were they?