[027] How to run an awesome innovation event for your customers

…and an insight into Idea Time – The Live Experience!

Idea Time ® – The Live Experience!

Getting your customers together to help them innovate and grow creates a really fantastic opportunity for them to get even more value from your relationship with them. It also can help to showcase you at your best, create a sense of community amongst you and your clients and learn more about your customers’ aspirations and challenges.

On 7th February 2019, I hosted my Idea Time® – The Live Experience! full day event in Harrogate, UK.  It was an invitation-only event for previous or existing customers involved in my Idea Time® programmes. There was no ticket price because the experience was part of my customer value proposition.

Feedback from Customers was Stunning!

The customer feedback from the event was stunning! Here are just a few of the comments, exactly as they were written:

  • “Great to get out and think about the new world of work. Crazy, creative, Can-do, caring and conscious.”
  • “Amazing day. Never been to anything like this before. It was so enjoyable. The time flew by and on top of all that I have made a plan of changes to make when I get back to the business. XX”
  • “Excellent, thought provoking, inspiring, thank you.”
  • “Fantastic event. So many ideas from like-minded people who can all make a difference to their worlds.”
  • “Exciting, stimulating and full of ideas. Definitely should be an annual event. Amazing speakers. Thank you.”
  • “Well curated group.”
  • “Great day. Good energy in the room. Lots of ideas.”
  • “Fabulous tools to change thinking processes. Incredibly thought provoking.”
  • “FAB – FAB – FAB – loved it – better than botox and Prozac!! X”

The Magic Recipe for an Awesome Customer Event

If you’d like to host an innovation event for your customers, here is my magic recipe to help you to achieve a cracking result.

Ingredients
  • A really cool and practical venue that aligns to your brand
  • A well-curated mix of people
  • Opportunities for people to think creatively and interact, with an early icebreaker
  • Amazing guest speakers who all bring something really unique to your event

The Everyman Harrogate – What a Cool Venue!

If you’re a regular reader of my articles, you will know that the companies who apply ‘blue ocean thinking’ really stand out in the marketplace because of their clear value proposition and USP. I’ve written about this, and presented Everyman Cinemas as a case study here.

 

The Everyman in Harrogate, as you can see from the photos (taken by event photographer Jim Varney from Aberration) is really on brand and such a cool space for creative thinking and delegate networking. The team who work there are excellent, and I knew that me and my clients were going to receive top notch customer service throughout the event, which we absolutely did.


I hired a movie theatre and the attached private bar area. The seats were really comfy, and the look and feel of the venue created a real wow factor for my guests.

What a Great Mix of Fabulous People!

My guests came from a very diverse range of jobs, companies and sectors. They had travelled far and wide. One delegate had travelled from Belgium for the event, whereas another had a business, Suzetta, literally just across the road from the venue! What they all had in common, though, was that they wanted to come together as an Idea Time® network of business leaders , each of whom are:

  • Entrepreneurial thinkers 
  • Innovative problem solvers
  • Lifelong learners
  • Experience sharers

A Really Effective Icebreaker

Because people didn’t know each other, we kicked off with a really fun and effective icebreaker. Everyone had to meet as many people as possible, capture their name and company, and also get the answer to the following question:

 

“If they were going to make a movie of the story of your life, which actor would play you and why?”

 

It got everyone moving around the room, talking and smiling. The buzz was fantastic. A terrific way to start the day.

Photo: Me – hands on hips! – briefing in the icebreaker.
Photo: Delegates Joy and Kathryn getting to know each other.

Get the Interaction Going!

A metaphor is an expression, often found in films and literature, that describes an item by referring to something that is considered to have similar characteristics as that item. Metaphor can be used as a great creative technique. Delegates sketched metaphors each for their aspirations for 2019, and for the progress they have made so far this year.

Photo: Thinking about Metaphor in the comfy seats.

Everyone then chose a Power Focus word that they felt summarised what they need to concentrate on most this year from this list:

  • Repositioning                         
  • Sales                           
  • Profitability                
  • Lifestyle                      
  • New products / services
  • Customer experience           
  • People / Team

 

Next, delegates found other people who shared the same Power Focus word, and worked together in groups using the storyboarding technique to generate ideas and solutions to help each other with their aspirations for 2019.

Photo: Delegates having fun with the storyboarding technique

Awesome Guest Speakers

Our awesome guest speakers had been specially selected for their interactive and engaging delivery style as well as their deep subject matter expertise.

Mark Brown from The Dolphin Index had us all thinking about how we could create brilliant businesses and develop our innovation culture, remaining as dolphins and avoiding becoming dinosaurs.

Photo: Mark Brown in action

Lisa Bean inspired us all with her vlogging journey, which led to her running a very successful online business. It was amazing to see her vlogs on the big screen. Lisa had everyone working in pairs to create a mini vlog at the Everyman, which some people even went on to post online!

Photo: Your Purpose. Your Story. Delegates watching Lisa Bean on the big screen.
Photo: Lisa was there in person too!
Photo: Here’s delegate Paul doing his vlog.

Mat from Lazenby Brown really got people thinking about their brand, and specifically their ‘brand archetypes’ in his presentation and interactive session.

Photo: Brand archetypes session with Mat. There’s even an archetype called the “Everyman”!

Last, and by no means least, Rob Hamblin from The Brackley Partnership gave every individual a deep insight into their creative thinking style preferences through the Kirton Adaptor-Innovator (KAI) psychometric, helping them to grow their innovation ability and relationships through greater self-awareness.

Photo: Rob Hamblin in action.

One Thing

At the end of the day every person shared one thing that they will do differently as a result of  their learning from Idea Time ® – The Live Experience! It had clearly been an invaluable, enjoyable, thought-provoking day for everyone.

Would you like to run an awesome, innovative event for your team, suppliers and/or customers?

If you would like to run an awesome, innovative event for your team, suppliers and / or customers, download my free DIY Awayday Toolkit, complete with an agenda, creative activities and top tips,  available here. 

 

Alternatively, let’s discuss customised event design and facilitation if you’d like to work with me in person. Email me at jo@ideatime.co.uk and let me help you to take your business, your people and your innovation to the next level.

A final word from an Idea Time ® – The Live Experience! delegate…

The event was excellent in demonstrating the finer points of gravitas. It was about expert knowledge being conveyed succinctly and clearly, speakers that connected with the audience with clear signposts linking the content together as a narrative. In addition, it was about displaying credibility through authority and creating warmth and trust while projecting empathy.

– Andrew Palmer, Managing Director at the Gravitas Matrix

Andrew Palmer, Managing Director at the Gravitas Matrix was a delegate at my Idea Time® – The Live Experience! full day event and has shared his review on LinkedIn – you can check it out here!

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