PCMA Convening Leaders wrapped up another ground-breaking year in Austin, Texas with over 4,000 attendees representing 36 countries. PCMA and the city of Austin pulled out all the stops to create a memorable event featuring appearances from legendary Austin-ites Matthew McConaughey and Willie Nelson. While it's difficult to top Matthew McConaughey, PCMA managed to do so with some amazing learning experiences, and here are a few of our key takeaways:
1. "Digital Events are Here to Stay"
Photo Credit: Meetings and Conventions Calgary
Kudos to PCMA President Deborah Sexton who said it best in the opening session, "Digital events are here to stay". Challenging the traditional definition of 'face to face' meetings, PCMA has led the way in embracing digital events and equipping event professionals on this new paradigm. This year's Convening Leaders was no exception - streaming main stage keynotes, key breakout sessions and exclusive online programming from the on-site MashUp Studio to remote attendees around the globe, combined with a content track developed by the Digital Experience Institute. PCMA, through their Digital Experience Institute and with the continued support of our friends at Meetings and Conventions Calgary, has certified over 200 Digital Event Strategists to date (including 2 of our own). These event professionals are uniquely qualified to embrace the new digital paradigm and create effective hybrid and virtual meetings for their organizations. Keep up the good work!
2. Collaboration, Trust and the California Roll Principle
Speaking on the topic of Collaboration and the Meaning of Trust in the Digital Age, keynote speaker Rachel Botsman addressed how the power of collaboration and trust enabled by technologies will change the way we live, work, bank and consume. Citing examples from Uber and AirBnB to Bla Bla Car, she described how building trust is at the core of collaboration. The concept of 'collaborative consumption' (a term that she coined in her first book) will continue to drive change, but effective innovation and adoption is rooted in the concept of the California Roll Principle: 'People don't want something truly new, they want the familiar done differently.' Created in the USA, the California Roll took familiar ingredients to the American palate and combined them in a different way. Rachel Botsman inspired PCMA attendees to think about how we can do familiar things differently.
3. Virtual Reality Reaches the Tipping Point
From engaging product, venue and destination experiences to streaming to remote audiences, virtual reality is becoming so prevalent that MeetingsNet quoted it may have reached "the tipping point from entertainment to business essential". We were pleased contribute to the trend by providing a virtual reality experience for Tourism Toronto's Imaginarium that enabled participants to virtually explore some of Toronto's most notable neighborhoods. To learn more about virtual reality for events, check out our blog post on 5 #EventTech Trends and Why They Matter.
4. Networking is Learning
Speaking as part of the Digital Experience Institute track, Sourabh Kothari, Director of Advocacy, Brand and Content at Signifyd challenged attendees to "Stop thinking about designing content for events and start designing events for content." Nowhere was that concept more evident than in the introduction of Braindates for peer-to-peer learning at Convening Leaders. Created by Montreal-based e-180, Braindates leverages matchmaking technology and experiences that connect like-minded people interested in sharing knowledge. I could have filled my entire schedule with valuable Braindates as the PCMA community has so much knowledge to share!
Congratulations to PCMA Convening Leaders on continuing to push the envelope to be the one of the most progressive conferences in the event industry!