Are you looking for a new conference model? The German Convention Bureau (GCB) has released their predictions of the types of meetings and conferences that we will all be having in the not too distant future. As an up-to-date planner, you are probably already seeing the start of this movement or even implementing some of these ideas yourself.

The GCB outlines six event or conference formats they believe could become popular in the years to come. These scenarios build on existing models, but are flexible by design and allow for technology or current planning trends to influence the event.

Co-Working Conference

The co-working conference format spreads meeting modules over a longer number of days and provides dedicated working spaces to participants. In addition, it allows time to tend to items back at the office in between the conference. Attendees are more autonomous in this ‘unconference’-like format, yet still focused on meeting goals. Extended stays possibly mean more opportunity to network and share knowledge informally.

Interactive Forum

During an interactive forum, meetings of up to 200 participants provide a roadmap for discussion, then participants break into small groups to debate and build on topics. Attendees’ reactions and ideas are then aggregated and shared back with the group as a whole to create new connections, partner opportunities, highlight common challenges and then identify next steps.

Satellite Conference

In this conference type, a main meeting is held across several venues simultaneously (with about 50 people per venue) keeping face-to-face connections, but losing the hassle of long distance travel. Live video connects the meeting locations and people with a common core agenda, but people at individual locations can then break off and discuss interests. Event specific online platforms, could also be used sharing across locations.

Hybrid Conference

With this model, there is a physical meeting and conference space as well as a digital meeting room for individuals or groups. With both types of participants linked into the same content, knowledge sharing and program flow happen in real time. Connections and people are tuned in via laptops, desktops, mobile phones, apps or tablets. Group discussions and networking are still very much on the agenda.

Virtual to Physical Conference

In this two-step approach, a group that has only previously conferenced online comes together face-to-face to meet and share knowledge. The purpose is to create both deeper individual and group connections that will then enrich the ongoing, online interaction. This conference type can also yield time and cost savings as half of the conference is virtual and it doesn’t all have to occur simultaneously.