What's New Versus What's Needed.

Occasionally, we gain a new client because they're looking for something novel in their event--something different from what they've done the year before. I'm sure this request is foreign to absolutely zero production companies or event design firms. Our unique tools do fit the bill for this kind of request and it's good for us (so no complaints there), but I have issue with novelty in an event.

No, I'm not opposed to change or to doing something different within an event, but this approach is extremely problematic and it tends to create extreme parties and disparate event elements: The "it's not broke, don't fix it" camp and the "we can't do something they've seen before" camp.

All with attention on what's NEW instead of what's NEEDED.

Because I highly doubt that whatever new and novel juggler/act/entertainment/technology/game/etc. is really going to hide the fact that all the attendees have seen the same old PowerPoint from presenters. And novelty is great, but novelty with a purpose is even better.

Oftentimes, we'll be asked to do an AniMate for an event--something that a lot of attendees have not seen--or at least experienced--before. When we produce an AniMate character, the first thing we ask is how it will further the outcomes of the event. No outcomes? Okay, let's put down your outcomes. A presenter wants to interact with the AniMate? Okay, let's work on your presentation.

We end up doing much more than adding a novelty and consequently, though the attendees will have "seen it before", the characters are frequently brought back in subsequent years (for example).

The most frustrating thing to hear is this conversation:
"But we've done that before."
"Did it work?"
"Yeah, they loved it! And it was very effective."
"Then why aren't you doing it again?"
"Because we've done that before."

I understand the tendency to gravitate toward the novel, to impress with new technology and new elements, but if the rest of the event isn't going to change (it's still going to be a line of presenters one after another--a proverbial death-by-PowerPoint firing squad) then adding new bells and whistles is going to be a waste of money (and no wonder audiences will have little tolerance for what has "been done" if it's not on-purpose).

The point is, the search for novelty without factoring in what the event really needs is a futile endeavor. Sometimes what the event needs is what worked the last time. Sometimes the event needs something different. And sometimes the core elements of the event need to be reevaluated, and the novelty is nice to have, but not needed.
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