This is the future of the events industry

At this point in the year, we’re all done with hearing about the challenges and struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve discussed it before in this special blog post. 😉

It’s not over yet, but we feel it’s time to take a look into the future, a future that within a matter of weeks we were forced to imagine and implement, in order to survive. 

That’s why we’re pulling together some of the formats that we’d never imagined  would take place in the Fuckup Nights community but will definitely shape the way we create events, not only ours, but many other social gatherings and experiences in the years to come.

Digital events

The default response to this crisis was to go online. Our Zoom and Skype accounts have never been so active. And that’s where our Quarantine editions were born. First of all in Italy (back then, they were one of the first countries in quarantine) with the first national online event, including Fuckup Nights organizers from many Italian cities and, in a matter of weeks, the whole world.

“Together we were “pioneering” this new way of conducting our events and although we moved fast from the ideation to the implementation phase, we did say no to a story from a very interesting professional because it wasn’t aligned with the format. ” 

-Romina Henle, Fuckup Nights Lugano

Luckily, our global community of Fuckup Nights organizers quickly sprung into action. The positive response from the movement helped to maintain the pace of the monthly events.

Adapting our usual offline format was a big challenge, and it took us a while to fully understand how to keep our audience engaged. By the time online events, webinars, workshops, meetings and gatherings were part of our normality; they soon started becoming boring and tiring, people had to spend almost their entire days in front of a monitor.

A few months into the new digital events reality, some ideas to diversify the format started to arise. “Women Without Filters” was one of the first themed online events to take place, with brave stories from entrepreneurs and mothers, and then, “Diverso” an LGBTQ+ edition.

For this special edition, it was the first time we had the chance to host a full Trans speaker lineup from all over the LATAM region, and the live premiere of a new song from the Mexico City gay choir, with a fully digital drag performance. Summing up, THE event we’d never imagined to organize.

The opportunity to share a fuck up without leaving your house became a strength, and that made it possible to gather amazing stories from very specific and niche speakers from practically anywhere in the world, for these special editions.

But what happens with offline events? Are they completely over now?

Not really. Although at the time of writing this blog countries are experiencing different stages of the pandemic, some are already able to go out and live the “new normal”. With some restrictions of course.

Check out these 10 things we’ve learned about organizing online events.

Offline events

By the second half of the year, some countries in Europe started to loosen the social restrictions a little, and events were gradually being allowed to take place with a limited number of attendees, social distancing and the essential health recommendations.

What to expect for the future in the events industry? That’s a question that doesn’t have a clear answer, but what’s for sure, is that the current measures are likely to be put in place often over the years to come.

Will the pandemic keep lurking around the whole of next year? Events with restrictions and safety measures will become more common as countries will loosen their confinement measures. Will we become germaphobes after this crisis? In the future some people might appreciate some hand sanitizer and wipes as a welcome kit. Will we be hit by another virus? Event organizers will know what to do to avoid a local outbreak, awareness about this topic will increase in the future.

And that’s what happened in Waterloo.

What to do when there’s a strict social distance restriction and you want over 70 people to listen to fuck ups? You gather them at a parking lot… obviously.

The Fresh Air and Fuckups event as the local organizers in Waterloo, Canada called it, was a Fuckup Nights event to experience. Respecting the social distance and open air gatherings, the local team came up with the idea to organize the event at an events venue, and partner’s parking lot.

A few chairs, some chalk and the speakers were the trick for this unusual and well-needed event, which unintendedly took place beside a COVID-19 testing tent.

And along with Waterloo, many other cities around the world have taken the initiative and created original solutions to the health requirements in place, cities like Cluj-Napoca, Kuala Lumpur, Sofia and Basel are starting to rear their heads to a new normality.

A new normality ready to be invented. Cause you know, crises come with innovation and ingenuity.

Hybrid events

But why only focus on an online or offline event when you can have both? Hybrid events have appeared during those middle grounds, where you can organize physical events but the venue or the restrictions limit their reach.

No matter what future awaits for the events industry, hybrid events are here to stay. All the possible dynamics related to an event of this kind are as endless as exciting.

Let’s take for example Armenia. The Fuckup Nights community there has always been exponentially growing, strong and engaged. A pandemic was definitely an obstacle for them.

After a few collaborations with a local VR partner, this alliance found an opportunity during this crisis to bloom and create the first Virtual Reality Fuckup Nights in the world. Amazing, right?

You might be thinking that this is still a digital format, and you’re right. However, VR technology can enormously enhance the experience and make it feel like an in person event. While after parties can be hard to host online, the local team in Armenia was capable of hosting a virtual networking party on a virtual terrace, over… a virtual building. 

“It might feel strange physically, until technology is more accessible, but still. The connections are genuine. We met people we haven’t seen for a year or more. ” 

–Vjihanyan, Fuckup Nights Armenia

You still have to turn around, walk and speak to interact. No social distancing needed, just you, your VR lenses and a beer at your living room. Even more exciting, the venues can be completely customizable, fun and creative and you can still clap to a speaker and even like a Facebook post to show support.

Now, leaving aside VR equipment and taking it to a more literal duality between on and offline. Events hosted on physical venues and being streamed online have always existed, and under these circumstances make more sense than ever.

Our collaboration with Money Fest, along with Fintual, also had to go hybrid, the format of the financial culture themed festival, allowed the opportunity to create a financial Fuckups edition. While hosts and speakers were recorded live on set, the festival was streamed online, and soon we had people taking to social media to share their fuck up and, most importantly ask experts from the messed up economics world their difficult questions.

The benefit of having these kinds of remote webinars has also been proven in our private events for companies.

More companies are realizing the importance of not letting productivity and morale drop during these times, and are taking opportunities to create spaces of innovation and vulnerability with us, while avoiding the logistics of hosting corporate offline events. The opportunity to present a ton of motivational speakers is enormous when things are hosted remotely.

We’re still not sure about the future of events, but the opportunity to react and adapt to the present crisis, provides more guidance on what the next steps should be and the way innovation is leading us.

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