In January, the German Convention Bureau used the Professional Convention Management Association’s Convening Leaders hybrid conference to introduce an online platform that allows anyone in the events business to contribute or solicit ideas and perspectives on planning-related challenges.
As of late March, the platform—named Response Room—had more than 350 industry members from around the world participating, and more than 25 topics open for members’ consideration. Some of the topics in discussion right now include how to strengthen the events-industry education platform “She Means Business: Elevating the Role of Women in Business Events,” and how convention bureaus and destination marketing organizations can tweak their products and services to better serve meeting and exhibition organizers.
In a keynote presentation at Convening Leaders, Catharina van Delden, CEO and co-founder of innosabi, ResponseRoom's software partner, emphasized the importance of casting the widest net possible to develop innovative solutions for events. She noted that Response Room could also serve as a model for companies and associations to build their own collaborative culture that includes business partners and others outside the organization. In a later panel discussion, Stephen Rose, head of global communications services at Siemens AG, and Ulrike Tondorf, head of live communication & experience branding at Bayer AG, provided insight on innovative elements within business events they had coordinated, in order to demonstrate the types of issues and content the online platform will offer.
Response Room is centered around an "Innovation Challenges" area, where users work together on questions and problems, contributing in a deliberate, multi-phase process.
First, the ideation phase is where members explain their event-related problem, the kind of solutions they’re looking for, and what they’re planning to do with the community’s ideas. The community can then submit their ideas with a title, a description, and their thoughts and perspectives.
Next, the voting phase is used to rate each proposed solution. Users are given a number of stars that they can assign to ideas they like, and the community can see the collective ratings. All comments move along with the idea to subsequent stages in order to provide full perspective as an idea evolves.
Lastly, members who post challenges and problems can use the expert-evaluation and survey phases to ask predetermined experts to rate the community’s ideas. Experts vary from challenge to challenge and are community members themselves. Challenge givers may also implement the survey tool to gain deeper insights into the community’s thoughts on the problem or on specific solutions.
The platform is free to use but requires registration. It features a brief video tutorial as well as a written guide/FAQ section.
In the future, the Response Room community will be able to interact not just virtually but also in person. The November 9-11 IMEX America show scheduled for Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas will feature a meet-up session for Response Room members, as will the January 2022 PCMA Convening Leaders event that’s also slated to happen in Las Vegas.