Navigating the choppy waters ahead in 2021.

Remember 2020? Or have you managed to successfully blank it out? If, like me, you’re an eternal optimist, you may have spent last December looking forward to the coming year as if a simple turn of a calendar page was going to signal an instant return to normality.

As last month showed us only too quickly, that hasn’t exactly been the case.

Far from it.

First of all, Britain was plunged into Lockdown 3 (completing a trilogy box set no-one wanted to watch in the first place).

While, in the US, the New Year was busy telling 2020 to, “Hold my beer,” as the capital city of the world’s pre-eminent democracy was plunged into chaos.

Not exactly the start to 2021 any of us were looking, or hoping, for.

And while things may look brighter over the horizon, we still have to reach that horizon before we can embrace all the post-COVID 19 potential that the year holds.

So, last week, DesignScene hosted Navigate 2021. With the goal of giving our clients the benefit of DesignScene’s collective insights on how best to navigate (hence the name – geddit?) the choppy waters that still lie ahead of us in 2021.

Held online over three consecutive days, this digital event was designed, conceived, created and delivered under our very own roof. And covered a lot of ground. We explored event strategy and how best to set yourself – and your event – up for success in these uncertain times. We discussed hybrid events with a panel of industry experts and how the merging of In Real Life and digital experiences can be both the way forward and a whole new creative playground. We explored immersive storytelling and digital activations. Emerging technology and hi-tech production techniques. And delivered a masterclass on how best to present yourself and your content on camera in the new digital ‘normal’.

We practiced what we preach, too. Each 45-minutes of Navigate’s run-time kept the content short, tight and punchy with no session going over the magic 10-minute mark. And we kept it varied, employing a variety of session formats to keep the content fresh and interesting. From straight up keynotes linking the UK to the US West Coast. To live panel discussions featuring speakers scattered across the continental United States. To an in-studio panel of experts hosted from DesignScene’s own COVID-safe London studio. We took questions from audience members too, people who joined us via zoom and spoke directly to our panel members. Bringing a level of engagement and interaction that a lot of webinars lack.

But it wasn’t all about the sessions. By no means. We also sought to keep our invited audience of clients and business partners entertained with a varied package of entertainment showcases that broke up the main agenda items. For the mindful, Navigate 2021 featured wellness and superfood smoothie-making. For the fun-loving, live comedy and music from an emerging UK band, both sessions captured in our London studio. And, just to make sure we had all the bases covered, we also included interactive magic, with our illusionist zooming live and performing some mind-boggling tricks for the online audience.

Keeping each day of Navigate varied, fun and fast-paced reflects the advice we give to our clients. This ‘magazine show’ style format means that no individual session sticks around too long, so that there’s no reason for online guests to get bored and wander off into the internet to check email or social channels. Keep it brisk, keep it moving and you’re far more likely to keep your audience with you for the entire run time.

I’ve covered off the reason for the event and the content that we put together for it. But these weren’t the only reasons we created Navigate 2021.

By no means.

In fact, the main reason for the summit was to showcase or new digital event platform, EventDotSpace. Currently in Beta and with the functionality being fleshed out and refined as it continues to evolve, we used Navigate 2021 as a test case for the new platform. Putting it, and our own people, through their paces with a live case study put together on our own time and with our own resources. (As well as the support of a whole heap of partners and friends to whom we owe our eternal gratitude!) We got our own team on camera, giving everyone in the agency a voice, a chance to shine, and a taste of what our clients’ speakers go through event after event. With an invited audience of those clients online to let us know exactly what they thought of the experience, and our efforts.

So I’m pleased as punch to be able to report that, not only did our people perform epically, but so did the platform. EventDotSpace purred like a sports car’s engine across each of the three days, without a glitch or hitch. We’re going to continue to refine its functionality and performance throughout 2021. Safe in the knowledge that we can now offer our clients something that stand-alone webinar platforms can’t. Namely, a seamless digital event experience for their audience. The complete package of physical, creative and digital support they need to deliver truly integrated event experiences. And a platform that can be tailored to their look, feel and message event after event, in ways that few other webinar platforms can.

Caught your interest? Head over to your.event.space and check out Navigate 2021’s content on demand. Or reach out to us right now and arrange your own 1-2-1 demo of EventDotSpace with our team by emailing contact@designscene.com. We’d be delighted to show you around.

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