As a technology cooperative, we enjoy incorporating innovative advancements not only into the solutions we create for our Members, but also into our premier learning event – the Member Information Conference.
We’ve been so excited by the growth of this conference over the years, but with growth can sometimes come a lack of personalized attention and one-on-one time. Our mission is to always make each and every one of our Members feel at home at the MIC, and we took extra steps this year to ensure that.
This year, Members noticed quite a different set up in our General Session hall, including a nearly 14-foot-high ribbon screen and seating in the round, which allowed attendees to be closer to the stage.
“I leaned a little on my theatre degree/background for this year’s MIC,” said Sarah Thorowgood, CMP, CMM, NISC senior meeting and event planner. “When I was a set designer many years ago, my favorite sets were in the round. When you work in the round, you pull the audience in as close as possible; everyone feels as if they are on the stage with the presenter. There’s a connection made for the presenter too. They can see the audience’s faces and read their reaction to the information being given to them. At the 2018 MIC, the furthest seat from the stage was just about 200 ft. away; in 2019, with the set in the round, the furthest seat was at 95 ft.”
Conference Technologies, Inc. (CTI), whom NISC has partnered with for many years to help put on the MIC, was essential in bringing the vision for the General Session hall to life. CTI and NISC staff members had regular planning sessions for months leading up to the MIC, helping ensure logistics for the ribbon screen and room set up were in place.
The ribbon screen presented a unique set of challenges for our communications and graphic design team. In some instances, videos and graphics spanned the entire circumference of the ribbon, while in others the screen was divided into quarters.
“I’ve never created content for a screen that wraps a full 360 degrees before, so there were many factors I didn’t immediately think of,” said Chelsy Ciavarella, NISC marketing communications consultant. “It took a lot of trial and error to figure out what worked and what didn’t. The scariest part was that there was no way to test the files until the ribbon was set up a couple days before MIC. The moment we walked into the hall and saw our animations and videos playing on the big screen was a moment I will never forget. It was an overwhelming feeling of relief, accomplishment and excitement. We were blown away, and so excited to share it with everyone attending the conference.”
“Our goal is to make the ‘MIC experience’ unlike anything our Members have ever experienced,” said Vern Dosch, NISC President and CEO. “The amazing graphics and heart-pounding video projected by the circular ribbon screen was incredible. But the best part of this setup was being so close to the Members. The intimacy was palpable and significantly improved the experience of each participant.”
Though technology is a big part of what we do at NISC, the relationships and connections formed with our Members, guests and partners always reigns supreme. Anytime we get to merge those two goals, however, is when we’re truly in our element.