(Gastbeitrag von Irina Graf) The fourth edition of the Captain MICE Future event kicked off with a roadshow this June 2019 in three German cities: Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin. I attended the first round of qualification in Frankfurt and want to share with you my experience and provide you with an overview of this innovative format.
What is Captain MICE Future?
Captain MICE Future is a competition for event start-up and innovative businesses, initiated by the VDVO, to foster innovation in the event sector. The idea came as a result of the current market situation, with event professionals being swamped with sales and marketing messages coming from multiple channels, claiming to be the next innovative business solution that will help them optimise processes and do their jobs more effectively.
While the large amount of companies claiming to be innovative can be overwhelming, in reality these are often same ideas packaged differently. Here, the challenge for event professionals is to navigate through the information overload and find the one solution that suits their needs best.
To help event professionals filter through the noise, the idea of Captain MICE Future was born-to solve the daily challenges of event planners, but also provide young and ambitious businesses with the opportunity to reach their target audience and present their ideas.
According to Bernd Fritzges, CEO of the VDVO, 'It's inevitable for the MICE business, which is primarily face to face, to become more digitalised. Currently, there is a lot going on behind the scenes, with investments being made in event technology and internal processes being optimised for the digital economy. Captain MICE Future is not a trend, but a platform, for new ideas to reach event planners in order to educate and inspire the industry to innovate.'
'Our VDVO community is very strong, and for many start-ups taking part, Captain MICE Future is a jumping board to strengthen their positioning in the MICE market. We keep seeing each other at other industry events, follow up on members' feedback if they use any of the services, and of course when our contestants attend VDVO events, we keep up to date on their progress and industry trends. We are happy to see that many of the start-ups have been used by our members since the initiation four years ago.'
Captain MICE Future presents an innovative format
The format of the Captain MICE Future event comprises a roadshow that takes place in multiple cities across Germany. The official headline event partner is H-Hotels, and all events take place at their properties, this year in Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin.
Ten start-ups or business with an innovative solution give a 2-minute pitch in front of the audience, which is seated in ten small groups, and afterwards each of the presenters circulate around the room for a 'speed geeking' event format. Each start-up has five minutes to talk further about their business and answer specific questions from the audience.
The event provides a simple and effective format, where in just three hours, event professionals have the opportunity to learn about new service providers, network and become inspired.
And of course, there is a winner in the end, who will be chosen by live voting from the audience. The lucky winner will receive a marketing package valued at €15,000 to support them for their next steps.
Why do I love this event?
This year was the second occasion that I have attended Captain MICE Future. Last year, one of the stops was at the CEBIT in Hannover, and I went there for the day. This year, I travelled to Frankfurt. I like the idea that these events are run on a local level, meaning that event professionals in each city have different needs and expectations from the start-ups, and the line of business may differ. For example, in one city the audience might comprise a higher number of agencies, whereas in another city in-house corporate event planners may form the majority, and each has different business needs, so the exchange and feedback are highly valuable. I also appreciate the small format of these events that allows improved networking opportunities. And lastly, the event is educational. As mentioned previously, I also don't have always the time to explore innovative ideas, and getting ten new businesses under one roof for three hours sets me up to speed for intellectual stimulation and curiosity. In times when the attention span shortens and information channels are overwhelming, this format filters through the noise and gets to the point.
Who are the start-ups in 2019?
This year, ten innovators presented particularly interesting ideas, each tackling a business problem. For example, the XDay event management software provides a solution for centralising all event documentation in one place rather than manual handling. The start-up Ubiety helps event organisers manage no shows at their events and achieve a higher commitment from delegates when they sign up for free events. The Akkumat provides static and mobile charging stations at events that can be also branded, offering the attendees the ability to always to stay connected and allow their jobs to be completed on the go, while sponsors have a new channel to get in front of the delegates. Crate optimises the tedious request for proposal (RFP process), where instead of sending multiple requests to hotels and venues, event planners can submit just one request with all the requirements on the platform and the locations will come back to them if they fit the brief. Confgames helps exhibitors attract more visitors to their stands with a gamification device. The device is configured to engage the visitors with games, questionnaires and tasks that eventually lead them to the booth, subsequently creating a new qualified lead for the exhibitors. Easy Welcome offers a centralised digital platform to manage an event-rather than needing to manage multiple lists in print form, all lists are within one click away on a smart phone, and an organiser can pick and choose what they need, all on the go. Sara Pamina from On-Site Event Support tackles the issue of wellbeing in the MICE industry, and her offering is intended to support event teams with temporary staff that can help at peak times. This approach helps avoid burnout in teams and improves industry standards for better working conditions. Choros Concept is a venue in Salzburg that offers a combination of science and events. The event location is an observatory that has a powerful and modern telescope to offer the delegates a unique experience, driven by data and science, with events taking place during both day and night. Make Sense Meetings aims to bring more purpose to meetings. Events should be energising and lead to business results, but instead these events sometimes waste time, energy and resources, and there is no concrete outcome when the meetings ends. Make Sense Meetings stimulates all the five senses and through their customised training techniques, the company ensures that it's not another meeting to waste time but rather make sense. And last but not least, Wolowo offers virtual site visits. Wolowo can take photos and videos at the venue or receive them from the venues themselves and edit and upload them in the system. These virtual site visits don't replace real site-visits but instead help organisers to pre-select the venues that they will consider for their future event.
This year's Captain MICE Future has a particularly high profile of start-ups. Therefore, the decision regarding who will be the winner will not be easy. The winner will be announced on 8 July 2019 in Berlin. Which business solutions appeals to you the most, and what area are you still struggling with and think needs innovation? Innovation is a constant process!
Mehr über die Autorin Irina Graf
Irina Graf ist Gründerin von The MICE Blog, einem internationalen Event-Management-Blog für Corporate Event Planer, der 2011 ins Leben gerufen wurde. Sie arbeitet mit globalen Kongressbüros, Veranstaltungsorten, Veranstaltungsplanern und Ausstellungsorganisatoren, um diese bei den Themen soziale Medien, strategische Erstellung von Inhalten, Live-Blogging, FAM-Trips und gesponserten Beiträgen zu unterstützen. Seit Juni 2018 ist Irina Graf auch als International Relations Officer beim Verband der Veranstaltungsorganisatoren eV (VDVO) tätig.
Fotocredits: Thomas Loris, Blitzboxx, Irina Graf