Does your business need a digital transformation innovation day?

21 Aug 2018 Events

Find out how to run a successful digital transformation innovation day

In our online world, digital transformation is a hot topic. Not least because it is becoming necessary for all businesses - from the small to the enterprise. But digital transformation is more than just a buzzword. And it’s not just about tech.

What is digital transformation?

Yes, digital transformation is about using technology to ensure your business is equipped to deal with change. But strategy, not technology drives digital transformation. Let’s face it, the tools you use change over time. So, in just a few years, the technology that your business needs could look very different from today.

However, if you look at transforming the culture of your business, and open minds to new ways of doing things, not only will you work smarter and more efficiently, but you’ll also get ahead of the competition. Digital transformation is about the WHY as much as the HOW.

But what has this got to do with the world of event management I hear you ask?

Digital transformation innovation day events

Well, digital transformation can be hard work. And, getting employees (and management) to understand the reasons why it is needed and modify the way they think can be tough. Most people don’t like change.

However, in a world of rapidly evolving customer expectations, few (if any) businesses can escape the march of progress. From software companies to hair salons, any organisation that merely buys a new piece of software, throws in a few hours training and expects to reap the benefits of tech is doomed to fail.

In response, the digital transformation ‘innovation day’ has become popular with companies that are committed to long-term success.

The rise of the digital transformation innovation day

Making employees feel integral to change helps to ensure buy-in from the off. And the innovation day gives everyone the chance to discuss their needs and challenges and how technology can help. As such innovation days are really taking off. With businesses and local authorities now regularly holding such events to discuss how they can empower their organisations and their people in the months and years to come.

At Apex, we’ve been organising events that help businesses to succeed for over 30 years. And, working with experts in digital transformation we have everything you need to run a successful, fruitful innovation day.

Here are our top tips to ensure your innovation events lead to meaningful business results.

  1. Put the effort in. To ensure your innovation day is a success, it can’t be a half-hearted affair. Digital transformation is a complex process and must be given adequate time and resources if you are serious about future-proofing your business. We’d recommend staging annual events (or quarterly/twice yearly depending on the size of your business). Alternatively, you could build innovation sessions into your regular company conference or consider a series of smaller innovation roadshows for UK wide companies who have to cover a large employee base.
  2.  Know what you want to achieve. Strategy is at the very heart of digital transformation, so it makes sense to make it integral to any innovation day events. Establish what you want your event to accomplish and set KPIs to make sure it does what you need it to. But don’t be too restrictive; you want your events to inspire ideas that you haven't thought of before. Ultimately, your innovation day should be disruptive. Employees should leave with a fresh perspective that changes the way they think forever.
  3. Choose the right venue. Your digital transformation event should be held away from the distractions of the office. But you also have to make sure your employees can get there. This might sound obvious but starting your day with an arduous journey to the middle of nowhere isn’t going to inspire happy thoughts. And you don’t want people spending the day grumbling and worrying about how they will get home. Make sure your venue is easy to reach with decent public transport links. Find out about our venue search and location services.
  4. Make it accessible. Ensure there are no barriers to participation. Find out if there are any accessibility needs and put any necessary accommodations in place before the event starts. If you have to run your innovation day on the weekend, give plenty of warning and consider offering something in return. Disgruntled employees are not usually the most receptive.
  5. Put the right tech in place. The last thing you want when talking about digital change is equipment that doesn’t work! Make sure your venue can provide adequate Wi-Fi and any additional requirements you will need (firewalling, security, power sockets, projectors, screens, etc.). However, as with any event, you must also ensure you have the right insurance and security measures in place. Consider broader confidentiality issues; especially since you will be generating ideas with the potential to deliver significant competitive advantages.
  6. Keep employees fed. Ask all attendees for their dietary requirements in advance and make sure they don’t get hungry during the day. Provide drinks throughout the event and if your innovation event runs into the evening be sure to provide a proper meal. Bags of crisps and finger sandwiches won’t cut it after 6 pm.
  7. Don’t just talk at people. You can use presentations, but the best innovation days make attendees a part of the event, rather than passive spectators. In fact, by relinquishing a level of control and empowering your people to be experimental, the results can be game changing! And, don’t be scared to make your employees feel a little bit uncomfortable. For example, you could ask them to complete a task, or turn a keynote session on its head and ask your guests to lead. The innovation day shouldn’t be predictable.
  8. Use facilitators to guide innovation sessions. The right speakers and hosts can positively influence your audience, and deliver those all-important communications in a way that informs, impresses, entertains, and motivates. Tell your presenters and facilitators how much time they have in advance and stick to these time limits as much as possible. At Apex, we have a network of guest speakers and professional hosts for your corporate events.
  9. Don’t lose sight of your objectives. You can include social elements in your innovation day planning, but remember what it is you want to achieve. Keep noisy and disruptive entertainment until the end of the day (and allow people to opt-out if they so choose). That said, make sure to include regular opportunities for employees to step away from sessions and freshen up.
  10. Put contingency plans in place. Live events are predictably unpredictable. Which means that if it can go wrong, then at some point it probably will. Establish your pressure points and figure out what to do should the worst happen.

At Apex, we understand the immense effort that goes into preparing for innovation days, and we work with you to help you reach your goals and achieve a truly positive experience.From overseeing the entire day, to helping with specific requirements, if you’d like to find out more about how we can make your digital transformation events a success, contact us today to discuss your requirements in more depth.

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Paul Ashford

Paul Ashford is a founding director of and has over 25 years’ experience in live events and conferencing. He has a particular interest in creative communication and team dynamics and advises Apex’ clients on how to build teams and convey their key messages in visually stimulating and effective formats.