"Attendees channel their inner child at this global partner's meeting. The guest experience was crowdsourced to playfully stimulate innovation
collaboration and forward-thinking."
Let’s have a little fun. Close your eyes and try to recall some of your favorite memories of growing up. What are they? Making friends. Using your imagination. Bright colors. Drawing. Building. Bean bag chairs. Playing outside. Laughing. Candy.
Once each year, Partners come together to review firm strategy and performance, learn about the latest developments across our global business and plan for our future, and those lighthearted elements of childhood are exactly what inspired the uncharacteristically whimsical design for this year’s meeting in Santa Barbara, California.
The Experience Design team started out by interviewing 20 partners from around the world. “We asked them what their expectations were and what would be most valuable to them to gain at this three day, high impact event."
Principals were surprised upon entering on day one, not only by the vibrant look and feel of their surroundings, but because one seemingly essential element was missing: Tables.
“We’ve come to rely on or hide behind things like tables in the work place.”
To help spark meaningful discussion and add an element of fun, participants were seated in small, close circles around glowing orbs.” The physical representation, also played on this year’s “Light the Way Together” theme.
The theme graphic itself, was designed to evoke a sense of movement, customization and constant creative evolution. We invited children of these partners from all over the world to come up with their own concepts of what 'light' meant to them, and we projected their designs all over the event venue and on communication materials to attendees.
Building off the concept of a prism that transforms white light into multiple shards of colored light with the use of glass, the flexible theme graphic invited attendees to be their own 'artist' and develop their personalized logos. Part of the agenda included a facilitated session to encourage self expression, visual creativity, and right brain thinking. Throughout the event space, no two theme graphics were the same. Most table top surfaces were also developed with black paint so that attendees could use chalk markers to write, draw, and brainstorm directly on them.
A key element of the event design was for the creative team to bring to life, experientially, some everyday core values that the organization champions. This included turning the ballroom into a space for experiential learning and roleplaying through various props that included: a magnetic chalkboard registration display, a gumball machine full of colorful tokens printed with the company's core attributes. Attendees were encouraged to give these out to colleagues who they felt possessed that particular quality—a tangible representation of our feedback model.
There was a mirror-filled station that invited attendees to reflect on their careers, leave a note and read the notes of others A photo station where participants and later, their families, could snap and hang instant Polaroid pictures A paper cup-on-a-string telephone booth centered on the simplicity of person-to-person communication and finally, a light bulb-adorned space for jotting down and sharing bright, new ideas.
“The best part about this year’s meeting was that it pushed our people beyond the data and analytics to a more creative, expressive, emotional place... it’s a new direction we’re moving in with our clients,
especially with help from teams like Creative & Design, and the internal shift is palpable.”
Finally, every child (or those who felt like one) were invited to a junior's workshop specially designed to introduce them to data analytics and problem solving. Simple quizzes, mad-libs and frameworks helped the young attendees better appreciate what their parents do at work. We ended off the summit with a coloring T-shirt contest, where every child was encouraged to let their light shine!
LIGHT THE WAY TOGETHER
For the 2017 Partner's global conference, we were tasked with transforming what was traditionally a three day, powerpoint based workshop, into something completely different. Part summit, family session and incentive trip, this event had to strike the right tone of formality, yet be inviting, accommodating and accessible to all who were invited. With guests ranging from 5 years of age all the way up to their 70s, designing an agenda was one of the initial challenges.
Our team began by running interviews with partners across all 20 offices, and worked with the organization's CEO to develop an agenda that got participants off their feet and away from their computers throughout the three days. Multiple high impact sessions were made even more engaging with the use of simple, immersive activity booths, props and lighting. These were all developed to bring to life the organization's core purpose and methodologies.
Finally, on the last day, we used props in the room that were already catered to the first principles of business consulting, to develop an engaging 'kids business consulting workshop.' We invited children of all ages to take part. The agenda was tailored to help them understand more about what their parents do at the office, and work on their presentation skills!
Agenda Concept, Environmental Design, Music Direction, Visual & Creative Direction: Lee Changzhi
Venue: Santa Barbara, CA
Project date: 2017