David & Goliath: Innovation vs Budgets

“Tighter Budgets” are the catchphrase of the 21st Century Events Industry; engulfing individuals and groups, national and local businesses, start-ups and multi-generational companies with the same fear. And while a fixed-mind can absorb these phrases with a sense of dread and defeatism like chains on a drowning man, those with the aplomb of creativity can conjure the fiercest spirit, and armed with experience and an unconquerable will to never submit to the figures of a balance sheet, will use the constraints of a “tighter budget” as a tool for constructing the unique and memorable, ultimately “the mind is its own place, and can make a heaven of hell” (Milton, Paradise Lost).

In this day and age, event companies, embrace creativity with this aplomb and create a vision catered to those that demand a memorable experience, while maintaining the two key criteria that are at the heart of each event they produce; “are they interactive?” and “can people participate?”.  With experience, if the answer to both is “yes” then this creates an event that is both memorable and meaningful, ensuring the highest possible return on investment.  In this modern age of distraction it is important to make events memorable and to ensure that guests of the events are remembering, and even talking about the events days and weeks after it is over.

Being creative need not mean coming up with the wackiest or the most unusual idea that no one has ever heard of.  Plus in the vast expanse of peoples imagination throughout the world it is very likely that someone, somewhere, has already done it, you just don’t know about it. Creativity is the vision and building blocks of each event, and must form the core of the vision and applied to every part of the event management strategy.

“As event managers we need to provide our clients with creative solutions to combat shrinking budgets.  While the economic downturn continues we need to find innovative and creative ways  to offer unique and inspirational events on tighter and tighter budgets”.

                           Nick Baskerville, Managing Director, Really Now

The demands of the events industry are not only emplaced by those commissioning the events, attendees and guests have a greater demand from the events they go to and despite the economics of the age they have a greater variety of events on offer to them. Engaging the attendees in a social conscious manner and utilising the rapidly expanding abilities that technology has to offer allows us to create and maintain memories that will last and can be shared beyond the end of the event, and help to ensure that these events impact on societal issues in a positive manner.  Limited budgets are of little concern to those who go to your events, they do not affect the memories, they do not buffer against scrutiny, they merely provide an opportunity and a freedom from accountants to be more creative than the competition, and to produce an event that will last in their minds, and in turn, the scrutiny of the event, be it positive or negative, will spreads through social networking, and the only weapon in the battle against the budget is the creativity of our mind.

5 points for how creativity is more important than budget in events management

1. Being creative is not only limited to the end vision of the event but to the entire strategy that encompasses the production and management of the event.  When budgets are limited, creative excellence becomes an even more essential asset to the pre-production and strategy development side of event management.  Being creative in developing cost-effective strategies and plans that create alternative means to spending vast sums of cash while maintaining the same ends of creating modern and memorable events.

2. Everybody, from the commissioner, to the executor of the events, needs to bring something to the table, an excellence that allows the process to gain creative momentum.  This “excellence” will be based on the outcomes and benefits that are sought after and will add stability to the visions and benefits of the end product.   For example; if an event commissioner has a reputation for social responsibility it ensure that those involved have too.

3. The new troubled economic environment, we are currently living in, has resulted in a new community atmosphere, particularly within the creative industry, and has seen areas tailored to this industry, develop and thrive into living business communities, like Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle.  This area collaborates as a community on different projects, allowing each others’ specialist skills to ensure that the projects are produced to the highest standard, where traditionally, competitive barriers would have been drawn up and projects would have been hidden from others under a veil of jealous, paranoid ego, now collaboration is encouraged, “competitors” are turned into communities, and projects are embraced and developed within a new environment.

4. With the fast moving changes in technology, and the generational changes appearing more frequently (although maybe that’s because I’m refusing to accept I’m getting older), traditional events are needing to be updated and modernised for a new, younger generation.  This allows event planners to develop new strategies, and put unique creative ideas into those events which are a staple diet of the calendar, although seem dated and stale.

5.  Money is a barrier; it creates financially motivated guidelines, demands results and return, and allows investors the opportunity to impose themselves on strategic direction.  Limited, or tighter, budgets remove unnecessary and unwanted interference, limit financial expectations and creates the freedom and environment to create.  The benefits of having a “blank cheque” are obvious, but with that financial “freedom” comes more restrictions than it will remove, all events need a budget, but the greater the budget, the greater the barriers to organic creativity.  with a limited budget there is less expectations for financial success, there are less people looking over your shoulder second guessing your every move, and making you account for where the money is going and why, and events are allowed to develop in a natural way, catering to their environment and become a sustainable living creature.

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