woensdag 27 juni 2012
Death by detail :-)
Over the past months I was a happy part of the Europeana office, supporting, coaching, guiding and helping the event organisation to reach the next level. A challenge because Europeana is above all a network organisation. Which means that pretty much every event is organised with an external partner usually in another country.
Organising a tight event, with strong, interlocked content that offers a real experience to the participants as well as inspiration and that is not finishing off the crew is at the best of times quite a feat. Having to do so with external partners adds different organisations with each their own logics and different cultures to the equation. And with that a heap of things that are basically out of your hands.
Over the course of the first half of 2012 I think we indeed achieved incredible progress! We introduced event briefings, a format in which the event leads jot down their vision of the event in a structured way including budget etc. which helped internal but also external communications forward. In addition we started working with roadmaps, which to those not so used to running conferences might easily bring on “death by detail”. In these docs we think through the entire conference step by stap, action by action in the preparation, interlocking everything into a smooth event. And finally a roadmap for the conference days themselves, outlining every little step that needs to be undertaken to make guests and speakers feel at home and thus perform at their best.
The Europeana team organised a staggering 6 high level, all totally different big events in the first half year. Mind you: for no one at the office this is full time work! It’s all in addition to other tasks with their own deliverables. The much anticipated Europeana event in Brussels was attended by many Ministerial delegations and ran very smoothly also with the Brussels team. The Plenary in Leuven was nothing short of a smash hit, with Europeana receiving many compliments via twitter. Rightly so! And how nice of guests and speakers to openly give their compliments this way! It's really heartwarming.
To me the entire experience and my role as an “advisor” (never ever thought I’d be one in this lifetimeJ) was magic. To me professionaly you added a new layer of fun, a new depth to my experience and a confirmation that one best leads by example in stead of offering theoretical advice and “training from a distance", by which I mean training in an artificial setting with thought out situations. The challenge is in the lack of control of many factors and then act accurately, decisively, in good spirits with a good sense of humour. Rather: just do it, do it together, learn from each other in good spirits and off we go to the next level! From this little corner of the internet I wholeheartedly applaud the team for their achievements over the past months. We really managed to deliver great team work. I felt very much at home in your team. Thanks for your warm hospitality! I’ll surely miss my Wednesday at your office.