Crossing Borders, Taking Risks: All We Learned About Hybrid Events
On the 19th of May, we did something we’d never done before – we hosted a full-blown, international, hybrid event. Thank you to all who came! We had a blast and we hope you did too. Here’s what we learned.
An evening celebrating the diverse nature of the Cultural and Creative Industries, xPlot’s annual event broadcasted live music, a whole bunch of inspiring speakers covering topics from FemTech to Urban Design to FashionTech, and crowned the winner of the 2021 Creative Business Cup Sweden – all in a hybrid event. Combining live, in-person, events with virtual online components may seem natural to many of us at this point; but we wanted to push our evening past the borders of online platforms like Zoom, Teams, and the traditional webinar. As all of us come from entrepreneurial backgrounds – of course, we had to try something new.
While we had a lot of fun, the whole experience was one of learning and risk-taking, too. Here are five things we learned along the way!
1. Everyone’s tired of Zoom – risk-taking pays off
We launched our hybrid event on a platform called Hopin. With features making it possible for participants to move between different virtual environments; e.g. moving from a stage of live music to a more intimate discussion room, we thought it was worth it to take the risk of moving our event to a more unconventional platform. And – technical difficulties aside – we think it was a success.
While the platform was brand new to most of our visitors – and to us(!) – we found that our participants really enjoyed interacting with the new platform, with an average attendee score of 9.05/10. Pretty good for our first try, no?
2. Extend your reach, spread it wide and far
As xPlot has an international network, it only felt natural to host a global event. With the prospect of our event being hybrid – meaning viewers tuned in from the comfort of their own living rooms – it also made sense to try to reach as far across the globe as we could.
We managed to tally up participants from 29 countries. While the majority were from our home turf – Sweden – we had visitors representing all continents except for Oceania with our event being broadcasted all the way from Japan and Malaysia to Romania and Spain to the United States and Ecuador. We think that’s pretty cool!
3. Aim for a flawless flow – but be prepared to experiment and improvise
While we knew this would be an experiment, we tried to aim for perfection. With our event being turned upside down in the days leading up to the 19th due to technical limitations, we had to be quick on our feet to re-organize. While everything was finalized on the day of broadcasting, we still encountered multiple unpredictable obstacles along the way – as is almost always the case. Technical difficulties, both due to human error but also limitations of the platform, made for a lot of improvisation and experimentation. But hey, that’s who we are, right? We pride ourselves in being creatives, and if this wasn’t creative problem solving, then what is?
4. Practice, practice, practice!
With a fully packed schedule and things moving quickly to keep us on schedule, we didn’t have time for any slip-ups. With this being our first hybrid event, too, we needed to learn the ins-and-outs of the platform, our technical gear, and the intersection of live/virtual components. Inevitably, we made some errors, but since we were prepared to improvise and had a back-up plan, things went mostly smoothly. Still – practice makes perfect.
5. The hybrid format... works!
We’re going to be honest with you – we had doubts about not having a live audience, too. For segments like our DJ, in-house band, and live presentations, we knew it felt strange not being able to see everyone watching. For our audience, we knew it felt strange watching high-energy performances through a screen. But it worked! With attendees cheering on DJ Elin Beckman and our in-house band, Delia & Guys, through the chat, we felt confident that you all were grooving and having a good time at home. We also heard from several of you afterwards that, while you were skeptical at the beginning, the in-house live segments were some of your favorites.
We will continue to follow up on the event during the summer, hosting thematic weeks that dive deeper into all the topics we touched upon on the 19th of May. To re-cap and re-watch the event before then, check it out below.
Textil- och modeindustrin står inför stora utmaningar och måste gå från överproduktion till en mer hållbar, on-demand baserad produktion och cirkulära affärsmodeller. För att möta dessa utmaningar och driva branschen mot en hållbar framtid, öppnar NEST (New Entrepreneurship for a Sustainable Textile industry) upp för ansökningar till 2024 års bootcamp. Programmet är öppet för entreprenörer som vill bidra till denna förändring i textil- och modebranschen.
Den 15 mars kommer vara fullproppad med inspiration och information för dig som är kultur- och konstskapare. Här finns idéer kring att skapa projekt, hitta finansiering, europeiska samarbeten och digitalisering – missa inte Smarts Stora Kunskapsdag!
Den 15 februari kl. 11:30–12:15 sänder vi live från xPlot i Lund för en paneldiskussion om de spännande och framväxande möjligheterna inom digitalt mode och gaming – och hur detta kan hjälpa modebranschen att ställa om. Anmäl dig här!
Den 7 december kickar vi igång NEST 2023 med ett event om Framtidens Textilproduktion och vad slow vs. fast fashion innebär. Samtidigt öppnar vi upp för anmälningar till NESTs bootcamp – för dig som vill utveckla din affärsidé tillsammans med oss.
How do we make the fashion industry more sustainable? In the fashion industry, finding holistic solutions in collaborations across borders might be the missing key. We visit Selma Maric and Kim Nygård at MAX IV to hear more about textile research.
A time machine in your pocket, Be Here Then is the winner of the 2022 Creative Business Cup Sweden! Founder and CEO, Charlotte Rodenstedt, tells us about her creative journey and the future for her company.