When going green is not enough
Last week I had the chance to read about De-growth. I am very convinced now that less is actually more. I think the concept behind the movement outperforms every green/sustainable theory so far. It is quite embarrassing there is no Wikipedia entry about it in English. I will commit to translate it from Italian.
There are several hundreds of posts around the blogosphere on how to green your event. You can follow my Blogroll to stumble upon a few. As a matter of fact most of the green/sustainable practices cut emissions, waste, etc. My point is that it is not enough. I’d suggest that what you do in your event actually generates value for internal (participants) and external (community) stakeholders.
To guide you through my point I’ll reference to the first example of how to achieve the optimum level of satisfaction and being useful.
Sustainable Dance Club. Outstanding. People dancing generate energy. What about collecting that energy and generate electricity to light the club.
Use Fon for your wireless. Most of the times you won’t use all of your bandwidth, with Fon you can share the signal with people close by either by charging them or for free, securely. Opening the wireless could be a great business card for the community where you operate, think about it. The wireless signal is also sometimes perceived by some as pollution and intrusive, making it an opportunity for the community to connect to the Internet can be a way out.
Choose location within your premises. In order to make such a courageous choice you actually need powerful content. If your attendees participate for other than content reasons you might want to skip this step. Location can be used by event planners to incentive participation. An attractive location can move extra (i.e. not-motivated) people. On the other hand, if you manage outstanding content who actually “sells itself” you might want to sort the location within your company/organization. The room/space you will use is already there and will be running anyway, so why not taking advantage of existing premises and cut costs as well as transportation emissions and extra energy to run your sessions.
Promote locally. I have found myself involved in paranoid activities aimed at promoting my event to the whole World. I thought that making people move from London to New York for an event would be a great success. I had to think again. I think the greatest success would be to involve all the potential participants who could use local public transportation to get to the location. For the rest of them there has been a great invention called the Internet who can actually ensure presence (and payment maybe of a smaller fee) and participation. We are going to use Ustream for our next event. Easy, free, scalable, interactive and controllable.
Produce a document. I think this whole principle is not only limited to the environment. It strikes the whole concept of meetings and events from within. I am getting bored by just thinking about gatherings of hundreds of people with no tangible end results. Why are you moving the masses and not getting anything out of it? A multitude of people coming together should be addressed at producing a document outlining their interaction. Verba volant, scripta manent. Writing a participative document about the session could be a great bonding experience and facilitate networking as much as a coffee break.