Do You Meetovate? Examining Visit Denmark’s Meetovation Concept

Danish meetings professionals subscribe wholeheartedly to a philosophy called Meetovation. Seasoned meeting designers and event producers Ann Hansen and Bo Kruger, facilitators and hosts of MPI’s 2016 European Meetings & Events Conference, led international attendees in the Meetovation experience firsthand during the annual event. I witnessed its four basic tenets to Meetovation in action. This year, however, they added a fifth element: ROI. Below, we break down the concept and how they used it in their own event at EMEC in Copenhagen. > Active involvement: Attendees played with Legos in several education rooms; one general session broke out into an indoor “snowball” fight with crumpled paper; beach balls were kicked over the crowd; and a blue mermaid (we were in Hans Christian Andersen territory, after all) walked across the stage and sat in the audience occasionally. The result? Yawns and boredom were kept to a minimum. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="536"] Beach balls kicked out over the crowd during Paul Van Deventer's general session speech.[/caption]   > Local inspiration: The opening-night reception for all attendees was at Copenhagen Street Food, a huge warehouse on the water overlooking the museum, the palace and the new opera house. Guests mingled with other attendees as well as locals while walking through Christianshavn (a lovely waterfront town) to get to the event. Once there, they were handed aprons with pockets stuffed with food and drink vouchers so they could explore the local fare in the food hall. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="546"] Attendees check out Copenhagen Street Food options at EMEC opening night reception.[/caption]   > Responsible thinking: Denmark is one of the most sustainable countries in the world and it takes green efforts seriously. At the conference, there were no plastic bottles; instead, glasses and pitchers were set out everywhere. Disposable forks and knives were made of sustainable wood, recyclable items and dishes. The colored pencils that came with attendee workbooks could be planted in the ground and eventually grow into herbs. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="382"] Sprout colored pencils and workbook at EMEC 16.[/caption]   > Creative setup: This tenet is about using the physical setup in new ways. At EMEC, the unique seating arrangements involved couches, benches, swivel chairs and ottomans placed in interesting displays, and sheep wool throws were scattered about to make them more comfortable. Each breakout room seemed to contain a different seating arrangement, with the most creative being the Fishbowl concept up in the EduLab on the 25th floor. Attendees sat in the round with three empty seats placed in the center. Those who wanted to talk would move in and out of the center seats taking the mic. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Fishbowl set up on 25th floor of Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel at EMEC 16.[/caption]   > ROI: Return on investment was apparently the missing digit on the hand of the original Meetovation program. Hansen and Kruger pushed this new element to make sure planners think wisely about the return on investment for time, money and effort the delegates and sponsors put out to attend your meeting.   [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="542"] Attendees and hosted buyers meeting to do business.[/caption]   Photo credit: Jonathan Grevsen