How do we do it differently?

June 2018

Over the past ten years we have been working with the NHS North West Leadership Academy on a variety of their events, from the design and delivery of their Annual Leadership Recognition Awards to Masterclass Series and Membership Roadshows. However recently, the Academy have gone through a period of change in terms of their offer needing to align to the changing needs of members and stakeholders, giving NWLA the need to design something to meet this new, ever changing world and focus on what hot topics are important now. To celebrate this and to reveal the new offer we were tasked with the challenge of creating an exciting new event concept unlike anything they had done previously… Here the ‘Festival of Leadership’ was conceived.

We believed that by reframing the traditional style of a conference, refreshing and packaging it as a festival would bring a fresh new vibe to the Academy and ultimately a new delegate experience for their members. Working closely with the Academy we embraced the strong community feel within the North West region and created an experience in which delegates could explore and challenge ideas, widen their networks and experience new content with a variety of international headline acts and national and regional interactive fringe sessions. Members themselves were even asked to take part in a PechaKucha session and those involved received individual coaching and presentation preparation by Cynergy and our sister company, ShinyMind.

‘Excellent content, very interactive, great networks with interesting, motivated and skilled people.’ – Delegate Feedback

A parallel series of activities were created enabling delegates to opt in and out of formal sessions and take part in more relaxed and interactive areas, building a day that was bespoke to them. Areas such as a ‘Memory Lane’, an ‘Engagement Station’ and a ‘Creative Corner’, offered delegates the chance to reflect back over the history of the Academy, connect with the NWLA team on a personal level and take time out for themselves doing mindfulness activities.

‘Very delighted to be part of this event as a delegate. Thank you for this opportunity and we will use all the material and mindsets in our projects and future work.’ – Delegate Feedback

The introduction of our interactive event app really allowed us to enhance the delegate experience again with an interactive agenda, live polls and surveys and the online community, allowing delegates to connect before, during and after the event.

The festival received great feedback and really challenged both NWLA and its members to think outside the box when it comes to an event experience and talk of a Festival 2.0 has already begun! We are also in the midst of delivering our next ‘festival’ style event with another NHS client and conversations are underway with several more. We believe this style of event could be applied to any organisation to really bring teams and communities together in an interactive and informative way.

‘A great and relevant event. I really hope is it repeated again and that we will empower more people to change the NHS and make it sustainable!’ – Delegate Feedback

We would love to know your thoughts about the Festival concept! Could this style work for your next event? Or are you willing to try something completely different? We’d love to know so please share your thoughts.