How do you make your event a catalyst for change?

February 2019

As you can imagine, it can be incredibly difficult bringing together a large and geographically dispersed team on a regular basis – especially a group of leaders with intense time and work pressures. But even more challenging, once you have them in one room, is really making an impact that goes beyond their attendance on the day.

Yes it’s important to keep them engaged throughout the event, but you also need to provide them with the tools they can take back to their workplace and use, share and continue those conversations to really make a difference. Think of your event as a catalyst to starting change on a wider scale.

The NHS Thames Valley and Wessex Leadership Academy (TVWLA), a local delivery partner of the NHS Leadership Academy, needed our help to deliver their latest event: an opportunity for their leaders to come together, reflect and learn from one another.

As with any event, outlining your key aims for the event is first and foremost.

Following discussion, Cynergy understood that TVWLA wanted to provide delegates with tools, connections and motivation to resolve real issues they are facing across the system to help affect real change for patients, service users and citizens. They wanted to create an event that was fully immersive, experiential, motivating and innovative for delegates, as well as to offer them the time to hear though leadership talks and a chance to connect with those who can help make real change.

Together, we therefore needed to create an environment that fostered creative thinking and action. Delegates needed the freedom to learn outside of the main sessions and get involved different activities to encourage new ways of thinking and collaborating.

Interactive spaces were then created to provide these opportunities to gain further insight, to network and to reflect.

Using our NLP expertise we were able to design a blend of activities which would appeal to different preferences and learning styles:

  • The ‘Ask and Offer’ stand: Delegates could volunteer their support or ask for help on a specific topic.
  • Personal pledge station: Delegates could pledge their actions for the coming year.
  • Graffiti walls: Delegates were able to share their thoughts, ideas and questions.
  • Random acts of kindness: Option to select and act to take back to their organisation and spread kindness.
  • Collaborative corner: This was a poster wall showcasing partner organisations’ projects.
  • Memory lane: A showreel of video highlights from over the years.

Networking is also key to encouraging collaboration, connections and starting conversations. We provided a number of ideas to support and facilitate delegates networking and the following techniques were implemented to do so:

  • Business cards: Bespoke business cards created for each individual (name, role, organisation and contact details).
  • Online community: We utilised our event app to connect with other delegates and speakers through the online community feature.
  • WhatsApp: A WhatsApp group was created to start conversations before, during and after the event for those who opted to join in.

As a result, 97% of delegates reported  feeling excited, intrigued, happy and inspired, with some stating the event had provoked new thoughts about how to develop new community assets.

Through our collaboration, TVWLA achieved their desired outcomes as their delegates left with better connections and greater insight into how they can make real improvements to health and care within communities.

All in all, the same old conference-style events yield the same old results and thinking – so how might you shake up your next event?

Take a look at our video highlights here to see how the event turned out!