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August 15, 2013

Benelux: The Path to Creative Thinking, Part 2


Cyriel Kortleven
Cyriel Kortleven

To succeed in the event business – especially in this day and age – you have to stay ahead of the curve. Creativity and innovation are the main subjects of sought-after international speaker Cyriel Kortleven. After his interesting and interactive presentation during the last Site EMEA Forum, BBT Online invited him for a talk to further elaborate the matter. This is what we found out. Read the first part of his suggestions here.

Killing the Idea Killers

‘The second major step to thinking creatively, is identifying and dealing with what I call idea killers. When we are confronted with new ideas, we have the tendency to quickly dismiss them with all sorts of standard arguments. “We tried it already. The client won’t like it. There’s no budget.” et cetera. By immediately pointing out everything that might go wrong, a lot of opportunities are missed.’

‘It’s very important to turn these “yes, but…” arguments into a “Yes, and…”. A good way to do this, is applying the three minute rule at your next brainstorm session. During three full minutes, no one can dismiss any idea. Instead, everyone has to come up with several “yes, and” phrases, building on each previous idea. After three minutes, you’ll have a lot of new ideas at your disposal. Most of them will probably be crazy or useless, but a few might be interesting, or useful in a different way.’ 

‘Another good way to gain new insights is looking at issues from a different point of view. Don’t always think as an event manager. How would an eight year old want this event to be organised? How would Steve Jobs do it? It will give you a completely different view on the matter. Imagine for example, that you were blind and you had to organize something for other blind people. You would rely much more on your other senses. How can you use this insight when dealing with a regular audience? Could you organize something around touch or sound? It could create a special moment.’

'By allowing these different mind-sets to influence you, you’ll often gain valuable ideas. City tours during an event for example, are often very standardized happenings. They’ll show you the main sights and that’s it. In London they changed this by thinking out of the box. What would I want to see in London if I was in love? What if I was feeling very adventurous? What if I had a hangover? By changing their point of view, they came up with several different routes based on different emotions, making for a very different kind of tour.'

Little Thoughts Make for Big Changes

'As said before, small ideas can make a lot of difference. You have to get out of your comfort zone and learn how to make the right associations to come up with these thoughts. What, for example, is networking? Meeting new people, right? On one occasion, we divided our delegates into small groups and gave each of them an hour to go out and find a local to talk to. Meeting people who knew the destination but had nothing to do with the event gave these delegates new viewpoints and experiences.'

'Business blind dates are another example we tried out. When guests arrived, we randomly divided them into small groups of strangers. They got the opportunity to briefly get acquainted with each other but, more importantly, they were brought back together on three separate moments during that day to exchange the views and experiences they gained during the event. It’s such a simple idea and it’s completely free, but it’s rarely done. Usually people come in, have a drink with colleagues they know, listen to the speaker, have another drink and go home. Did they talk to anyone they didn’t already know? Chances are slim. But when you ask people why they attend these events, they will give you answers like: for inspiration, to get to know new contacts, you name it. It doesn’t just work like that though. A lot of people need a little push to go talk to strangers. You have to give them the opportunity and guide them to it, because most people won’t do it by themselves. Small changes like this make sure your guests are networking in a fun and meaningful way.'

Check in tomorrow for Part III in the series. Read Part I by clicking here.

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About the Author: BBT Online





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