“From idea to I do”: Experiential Learning at WEC

Back in the office after a great (albeit boiling hot) week in St. Louis, Missouri for MPI’s WEC 2012, our team sat down to reflect on our first WEC experience. Our mission was to demonstrate that event technology can be fun and easy for event planners. So, how did that go over with MPI planners?

On the show floor, we asked planners passing by, “Would you like to create an event app right now?” Considering mobile apps are foreign territory for most, we were met with some pretty skeptical looks and responses mostly along the lines of… “I can’t build an app!” However, with a little convincing, most indulged. It’s that sense of exploration, curiosity, and taking chances we love about this industry! Using the Content Manager, planners uploaded files and images creating their app in a matter of minutes. The reactions were priceless.

“You’re making this too easy” and, “it’s faster, cheaper, and easier to do” were just a few things we heard after planners completed the challenge. Shoulders visibly dropped and relaxed smiles appeared, not a common sight when it comes to actually using event technology.

Challenging planners to make an app in less than 10 minutes didn’t seem to be much of a challenge at all. We’d like to congratulate Lara C from Washington D.C. who created her event app in an astonishing time of 1m 57s – truly impressive. Though the prize was a $50 spa gift certificate, planners left with a much greater lesson – they don’t have to fear technology. In fact, all that planners really have to figure out is what features to include for their attendees and sponsors and what content to include in their event app to make it worth their attendees’ time. The confusing technology and all the logistics behind creating an app has been simplified and the process streamlined so planners can focus on the content. It was truly satisfying to see planners taking control of their event technology with confidence and comfort.

Sure, we love getting exposure at these events, but WEC was different. The educational aspect of it was so much more rewarding. Instead of doing product demos and being talking heads, we worked with everyone who came by our booth so they could actually experience the technology for themselves. Fingers on the keyboard, uploading files, and seeing their own app instantly available on their smartphone – it was experiential learning at its best. Anyone can talk about how slick their technology is or how beautiful their hotel is, but it’s not nearly the same as experiencing it firsthand.

By empowering planners and putting event app technology in their hands, the fleeting moment of fear passed, quickly replaced with a confident, can-do attitude accompanied with the joys of creativity and pride in building and taking charge. As speaker Jonah Lehrer stated in his keynote address, “it was taken from idea, to I do”.  Education and creativity won out over fear.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at WEC speaking with planners, making new friends and sweating in the St. Louis heat, Next stop for us is ASAE Annual Meeting in Dallas showcasing EventMobi Fusion and our new Association App to association executives.

And if you couldn’t make it to WEC, not to worry, we will see you at your local MPI event soon.