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Innovative Conference starts with Innovative Planning and Innovative Leaders

Innovative Conference: Visual Interpretation of President and CEO, Canadian Science and Technology Museums Corporation, Denise Amyot’s Speaker Presentation at PS Engage 2012

Innovative Conference PS Engage starts with
Innovative Planning and Innovative Leaders

Innovative ideas and innovative learning tools. These are what people want when they attend or host an innovative conference. How worthwhile was the last event you attended or hosted? Did you apply some new ideas or solutions to some challenges back at the office? A successful conference is about gaining innovative tools and inspiration while meeting like minded people and connections that may prove helpful for future business.

Innovative Conference: PS Engage 2012

Last week, the event PS Engage was held in Ottawa, Canada. This is an annual, one-day conference and learning event for Canadian federal employees. The point is to bring innovators and public service leaders together with an unconventional learning format highlighting presenters who derive from beyond the Canadian public service. As part of the organizing committee, I helped with event promotions and onsite logistics.

Innovators Challenge Status Quo

PS Engage delivered on this year’s goal: to discover new ways of working that Canadian public service employees could adopt within the current environment. The event proved to be fresh and so ‘un-status quo’, not just in the information presented but in HOW this information was relayed and communicated.

Guest speakers were carefully selected to share how they solved specific challenges. Speakers included the Honorable Tony Clement (President of Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario), Steve Ressler (Founder, GovLoop), Mark Fulton (Institute for Values-Based Leadership, Royal Roads University), and Denise Amyot (President and CEO, Canadian Science and Technology Museums Corporation).

Innovative Conference Idea for Visual Learners

For those people that like to multi-task or are visual learners, there was a side stage of action. Jennifer Shepherd of Living Tapestries simultaneously transformed complex ideas by event speakers into a visual way to understand and transformed words and images to knowledge, insights and action. Participants were able to walk by and review these anytime during presentations and lunchtime.

An Innovative Conference Starts by Changing How you Plan and How you Lead 

PS Engage pushed new ideas and learning formats into its conference and how its participants interacted with the information and each other.

5 Ways How PS Engage 2012 pushes boundaries as an Innovative Conference:

1. Host event in unconventional setting (Conference held at Canadian Aviation and Space Museum)

2. Draw entrepreneurial and unconventional speakers from both your industry and non-Industry leaders

3. Offer simultaneous activity associated with, and during presentations (Living Tapestries: giving an ongoing, visual interpretation of presentation)

4. Change up formats for learning sessions: Lectures, Rapid Fire sessions (5-minute presentations by five presenters), workshops, interactive exercises, theatrical demonstrations

5. Include an extra timeslot for a more relaxed, informal setting (social get together, wine and cheese, networking)

How will You add more Innovation to your next Conference?

As an attendee, it is up to you to be proactive and search out the information that will serve you well back at the office. Reach out and talk to people that have similar challenges or work environment, and ask questions, add to the conversation – in a constructive way. If you are hosting an event, why not bring an element of surprise or non-conventional format to your audience?

Audiences want tangible value, a specific lesson or tool they can use to help them work more effectively. Being willing to change or shift our behavior or how you offer an event brings about innovation. Motivate people to change how they participate in a conference, or how you involve yourself at a conference. This is how we can change and improve the results we get.

-Sandra Hamway, marketing strategist and founder of Infuse Five
Infuse Five, based in Ottawa, Canada, is dedicated to helping associations and businesses, across North America and globally. We help clients add innovative marketing communications strategies to help drive more business. Want more smart MarCom tips?  Don’t miss a blog post – Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



Marketing strategist and founder of Infuse Five Infuse Five, based in Ottawa, Canada, helps businesses and associations, across North America, grow. Focus is on innovative marketing and communications strategies. Ottawa marketing customized to fit your specific business needs.

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