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Event innovation requires high maintenance. You need to keep feeding it. This round-up of the newest startups on the block will satisfy your thirst for innovation.
A couple of weeks ago I was in Las Vegas presenting about trends for 2014. I opened my presentation saying that events need innovation.
I cited an interesting study that links reputation for innovation and technology adoption. Those businesses that are most receptive to tech adoption are usually identified as innovative.
Yet reality is quite different. Few people in our industry try new things. Yet technology is becoming hygiene for our audiences. It is not an accessory.
Let me ask you a few questions.
Would you serve food that looks like this?
Would you let your attendees use these toilets?
I am sure you won't. So why are we offering poor technology experiences. Why are we not innovating?
No excuses. We need to get out and try new things, in the same fashion we select the most enticing canapés or select the trendiest decor.
Risking It All
I am not suggesting we completely revolutionise the way we do events. Those who suggest you should are giving ill advice.
Beware of 'experts' in our industry who suggest complete technology or concept makeovers. While it is true that our industry has been carrying the same models for 60 years, there are also good reasons why.
It has also been proven that the best form of innovation is incremental. The Harvard Business Review suggests that companies that master innovation are those who change a little at a time.
What About Startups
I've designed these roundups to showcase the most promising startups creating solutions for the event industry. The aim is to bring you the freshest produce, so you can experiment and innovate, one startup at a time.
We receive dozens of submissions every month and we cherry pick only the ones we think will have an impact. You won't find any ticketing or event mobile app provider in these roundups as our ebooks The Good Event Registration Guide and The Event App Bible cover them all.
If you want to cheek them all, they are all here on our dedicated event startup Pinterest board.
Enough said. Here they are...
Eat In My Seat
When it gets to startups, I am tough to impress. Eat In My Seat gave me that immediate feeling of 'what a great idea' I rarely get.
The concept is simple, sync the venue menu with an app.
Let attendees pick their order, pay within the app and choose whether to collect or have it delivered.
When the order is ready push notifications will let users know that they can come and collect.
This is a fantastic way to avoid lines for large events.
Credit to the guys at Sponseasy for creating a tool we actually need. Sponsorship decks are usually dull and not to the point.
Sponseasy offers a step by step platform to create a deck with sections such as Speakers, Target Audience, Expected Attendance and predesigned Sponsorship packages you can display to potential advertisers. You can then publish the deck or embed it in your site.
It is a great idea and well implemented. And did I mention it is free?
Probably my favourite this year. I've used Catchbox recently and had a blast. It is a soft throwable mic to engage the audience during Q&As.
Despite some murder attempts by some eager thrower, we had a blast and nobody got injured :-). Speaking in public scares the hell out of people. Catchbox is a great ice breaker to get people to talk.
It requires a bit of set up, so make sure you investigate with your AV guys if feasible.
While researching this post I realised that most of the innovation in our industry happens for Festival and Music events. Fantrotter is a prime example of this trend.
The service helps gig goers to arrange travel and accommodation for specific events. As you aware of, solving the hotel nightmare is a top trend this year.
What's in it for me, you may ask. Well Fantrotter shares a percentage of travel revenue with event planners. Choosing to advertise travel options with Fantrotter will create new sources of revenue.
This marketingly named service offers a great way to stream and archive your event. By synching with Eventbrite it allows to sell streaming only tickets at - guess how much? - 0.99$ per ticket per day.
There are very few limits in terms of how much video you can stream. The content will be archived for 12 months.
Attendees will need to login with their Eventbrite account to see the video. The service is in super beta from what I can see, but the idea is generally good.
SEO, PPC, Social Media, Website, App. With all this digital clutter the need for event marketing dashboards is skyrocketing.
We need all in one solutions to promote, collect and analyse your marketing efforts. Eventkloud offers quite a complete package that tackles all the needs of event marketers.
The lack of pricing and request a demo link on the site usually signal a service not on the cheap side, but tech does not have to be cheap, specially when it helps to make money.
Crowd Mics is definitely creating a stir in the event industry. The idea is pretty neat and simple.
Attendees download an app that turns their smartphone into a mic. The speaker plugs their smartphone on the audio system of the room and voila!
The speaker/moderator can decide who speaks, see the queue, but also get questions via text or collect poll answers.
It is a very powerful concept with super accessible pricing. Go for it.
One of the top trends for 2014 is collective media. Event professionals need easy ways to collect media produced at events. User generated content creates incredible marketing and engagement opportunities for eventprofs, we cannot afford to waste it.
Snapcastr creates unified showcases for event photos. Attendees can watch the collections on their smartphones and eventprofs can display them on large screens.
Key features include Twitter and Instagram integration and moderation.
The concept of Jamplify is kick ass. The service offers crowdselling for concerts. It turns attendees into promoters. Everyone can promote events in return for VIP tickets or other forms of reward.
The concept is super simple, essentially it creates affiliate networks for attendees to promote your events online.
I can't wait for the concept to be applied to more traditional sectors such as conferences.
Love. This is what I can say about Stormz. If you work with corporate or team building events Stormz is for you.
It facilitates brainstorming or problem solving processes by offering an app that essentially replaces whiteboards, post-its and the likes.
The great value here is templates. In fact the service, which is free for small groups, offers pre loaded templates and step by step guides for participatory problem solving.
I am sure this post gave you some fresh inspiration for your next event. I never ask to share posts but I always do when I post on startups.
Your share means a lot for the guys working to solve issues for our industry. Support them by sharing this article.
Now time to go out there and create memorable, innovative experiences!