Welcome! Come on in to the Club of brave, crazy, determined, creative people who put on incredible experiences that completely floor people. Those events that people find they can’t describe.
As an attendee at The Do Lectures in Wales in 2011, I was delighted often and while it’s hard to describe, let’s give it a shot:
…imagine being at the very best restaurant experiencing the world’s-best-service, add in that you’re wearing wellingtons (gumboots),
in a muddy paddock,
sharing a tent with three others and lining up for a shower each morning.
Imagine, (warning: ‘corny’ alert) it is like coming home. You’re surrounded by people who ‘get’ you, are similar to you in ways you didn’t realise you could find (perhaps they’re driven to achieving a lot and to having an impact), and who are working in large and small enterprises across all industries.
As you exit the massive tent after hearing an incredible person, you reflect on their wisdom and start into an immediately fascinating and deep conversation with another. You’re both then distracted by the food. It quietens your conversation.
You look up, there’s the sound of birds. You look at others and grin.
A way to take your latest project to another level pops into your head.
You get into another conversation and it turns out the person helps with a solution to a current challenge you have and an introduction to someone who can take your endeavours to another level.
How Do You Create An Experience that Goes Beyond Delighting People?
I wondered “How did the DO Lectures crew create this deep experience?”.
Fast forward, I’ve now directed two Do Lectures in Australia. Here are my best attempt at how you can create such special-ness from directing two Do Lectures experiences in Australia in 2014 and 2015, attending Do in Wales in 2011, volunteering in 2012 and 2013, as well as directing various experiences over the past few decades ~
1. Be Thoughtful.
Spend time in your mind walking through the physical space at each stage (imagine applying for a ticket, receiving invitation to speak, receiving the info pack, preparing, travelling, physical arrival, the full program, departure, the week after and beyond). Do this from each person’s point of view (ticket holders, speakers, partners, media, team members, volunteers, stakeholders) and find spots to inject surprise, delight, shock, amazement, all the emotions. Think of the six senses. Be playful. Look for ways to connect people.
Keep doing this as well as checking the event program regularly, looking for opportunities to provoke awe, fascination, delight and other emotions.
Work out ways to get rid of day to day decisions – for example, we removed the need for money at Do by paying for everything at the end, and tried out selecting people into workshops so they had one less decision (mixed results).
Introduce new aspects of delight and thoughtfulness each day. For example, people didn’t expect the surprises on their bed later in the program.
2. Save A Couple of Strategic Decisions Until The Eleventh Hour.
This might sound crazy though try holding off on a couple of key decisions until the last minute. For example, we deciding the final couple of speakers 2 weeks prior to the event and it brought in new, impressive DOers. This added spark and vibrancy to the event and also uplifted our team.
Huge kudos on this to Hamish Curry who was ‘up for it’ (talked into it) in our first year and then encouraged me to be ‘up for it’ in our second year 🙂 and to Lisa-Jane Bell and Sarah Lewis for the design and screen-printing last minute of our giving chair covers.
3. Innovate. That’s Why You’re Here.
Encourage each other by being open to innovative, new ideas. Hold off on the ‘black hat’.
It’s often the crazy ideas that take an experience to another level of surprise and thoughtfulness.
Tess and Grae… That. Homemade. Icecream!
4. Be Sustainable.
Being as sustainable as you can is more important than just carbon miles – it has your event and experience feel amazing.
In our first event, the waste from 120 people for 72 hours was so small (half a trailer-load). Drive to be thoughtful about all purchases (no matter how mad this seems) and have a low carbon-footprint. BCorporations can save time.
5. Engage People Who Get It.
Engage others who have been to the same/similar event, who’ve noticed the details and what was behind it. They’ll provide ideas that may suit the local environs.
Here’s looking at you Ross Hill for your observations of Do Wales, your advocacy, and wild ideas.
6. Provide Detailed Examples of the Vision.
Spend a lot of time communicating the vision, values of the event and provide detailed examples of what works and what doesn’t – when you’re creating something very special, the details help.
We may try creating a brand book or style guide to help newcomers to the team though we haven’t yet. So far, I’ve focused on finding people with the inherent instinct, the ‘thoughtfulness gene’, the willingness/openness to learn and having them attend and/or volunteer at a Do experience.
Have your team members immerse themselves in similar events. Afterwards, hear what they experienced – what was great, what was not-so-great, what could’ve been improved. Hearing what they wish to incorporate here provides a great chance to check in and enhance unique aspects of the vision and values.
Thanks to Mel for attending the Do Lectures USA.
Side note – make time to apply to intern/volunteer with the DO Wales team, it’ll be time amazingly well spent (I loved spending a month with them in 2012).
Thank You and Well Done!
The DO lectures crew are here cheering you on.
Already we’re applauding all you’ve done in creating an event that’ll create amazing ripple effects.
Get in touch for further support.
The Do Lectures Australia crew are currently enjoying other adventures and we’re starting to feel the pull to organise something that’s bonzer.