How to get a million people at your event

ISES president Scott Bellingham caught up with futurist Craig Rispin to get a sneak peek into the insights he will reveal at next week's ISES Expand your Knowledge event.
Futurist Craig Rispin
Futurist Craig Rispin

ISES president Scott Bellingham caught up with futurist Craig Rispin to get a sneak peek into the insights he will reveal at next week’s The Future of Events workshop.

Below he shares a glimpse of what to expect at the Expand your Knowledge with ISES event to be held at Luna Park on the April 23.

Scott: What is the most interesting thing you see as a futurist at the moment?

Craig: I would say that the massive scale of change that is occurring is the most interesting. Every industry, in every country is going through massive change. I just came from an Asian tour, and I could see change everywhere. At the conference I was speaking at there were people in the room from all over the region, and from all different industries, and they were saying ‘Things are changing!’

This includes the events industry. I was thinking about an event I attended; an event that I had spoken at before. So this event has 8,000 people, and is held in San Francisco; a technology industry event. They wanted to go bigger. They didn’t want to be a local event; they wanted to be a global event. So they decided that they would invite 50,000 employees to attend the event simultaneously globally and so they went out and they had to get 500 hotel rooms. And then they put it on line and 1,000,000 people turned up! So they went from 8,000 to 1,000,000 in just a few years. And that’s quite a change.

I have more and more clients that are doing this, they are going global. But the people that are helping them are not thinking global. They are not thinking, ‘OK, how do we connect with a million people?’. I have people in the event industry calling these people asking, ‘Can we help you with your event?’ and my client is replying, ‘Nope, we’re good – we have a million people coming’.

Scott: So the challenge is – how do we stay relevant to clients that are operating in a whole different realm?

Craig: That’s right. It is really a mindset – this disconnect that I see more and more. Now, it’s not the whole industry; I see some companies doing incredible, amazing international events. There are the people helping the above mentioned client connecting with a million people. But the vast majority, are not, and they are calling on these clients and after a few questions the clients realise that the caller just doesn’t really understand what the client needs. And it’s because the world has changed massively – yet so many people, have not changed.

Many people react to these stories in a defeatist manner – saying they may as well retire early. But I am here to say that you can, you can be part of the future.

Scott: What industry is impacting the most change?

Craig: In my session with ISES we will go through 5 key motivators of change, but I will talk now just about 1. The telecommunication industry is changing the world. Last year and extra 1.9 billion handsets were sold. This is changing the world, you can’t ignore it.

Most of the events industry is just playing around the edges; they use Event Apps, gamification, some ibeacons; this is just the edges.

Scott: What has been one of the most impressive changes through event technology you have observed?

Craig: 20 years ago I helped the American music conference South By South West (SXSW) do an interactive event and it was 100 people in a room. This year they had over 180,000 people and 150,000 ibeacons; mobile technology tracking those 180,000 people all over the event, all around the city for a week. From 100 people, to 180,000; this will be one of the case studies I will present at the ISES event next week.

The Future of Events will take place from 6pm – 9pm, April 23 at Luna Park Sydney. Click here to book.



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