Over the course of the next two years, Caesars Entertainment will offer an intensive, three-day event design certification program to 1,000 planners at no cost.
The Event Design Summit, which launched this past February, implements Event Design Collective’s (EDC) Event Canvas, a “way of creating a visual representation and roadmap of a highly collaborative process that can be shared with key stakeholders,” says Lisa Messina, VP of sales at Caesars Entertainment. The course uses a 10-step visual approach that can be used as a blueprint for event design based on stakeholder needs.
We spoke with Messina and Ruud Janssen, co-founder of Event Design Collective, about what planners can expect from the new program.
Why did Caesars choose to partner with EDC?
Messina: Customer expectations are growing in all segments of industry, not just the meetings industry. Event owners and organizers want to work with consultative partners that can understand and help them achieve their organizational goals through meetings. It cannot be a one-way street, however. Customers and their partners need to be speaking the same language to deliver on the mission, so we have elected to certify our sales and service teams along with our customers.
Our goal is to certify our team members so that we are speaking the same language and providing the tools necessary for our customers who place high value on event design. Furthermore, we believe it challenges the status quo and helps support the continued elevation of the meeting professional, so we have partnered with EDC and others to sponsor training for a greater community outside our own customers.
How will the Event Design Lab facilitate these goals?
The Event Design Lab supports the creative space that allows for strategic thinking and collaborative planning aligned with creating an organization’s event canvas. Scientists and artists alike all have their go-to places for inspiration and innovation. This is the event design team’s version of that—we will create that space for our team and customers.
Why is behavior, a dominant theme of the Event Canvas, important to event design?
Janssen: It is not easy for a team to articulate behavior. Yet behavioral change is the only mechanism known to mankind that creates value for events. In order to articulate behavior as a team of a specific stakeholder group we use the Empathy Map to articulate the entry behavior, pains and gains, as well as the desired exit behavior. This can be done in 15 minutes using the pre- and post-event Empathy Maps by a group of people empathizing with a specific stakeholder in a specific order and sequence.
Behavioral change is the only mechanism known to mankind that creates value for events.
Why is it important to deconstruct and reconstruct personal and professional biases during the planning process?
Every person has a bias. By working through the process as a team with various viewpoints and opinions (and biases) and subsequently validating the thinking against the actual stakeholders, the bias is neutralized as much as possible. Deconstructing and reconstructing is important in understanding stakeholder behaviors and what drives those behaviors.
By looking at each stakeholder’s perspective one-by-one and then combining the storylines, the complexity of the event is looked at from select perspectives. This allows for more clarity in the minds of those analyzing the stakes and drivers of behavior by a diverse team of contributors as a group. It allows them to get grip on how their own events create value and how to measure success through behavior changes.
We attended Caesars’ first-ever event design certification program, which ran from Feb. 27th to March 1st of this year. For an in-depth profile of this experience, please stay tuned for our May issue of Prevue Magazine.