True to its baseline of reinventing the code, VO has been adapting and reinventing itself. This year’s health crisis will have had a positive side to it for us. It has allowed us to exponentially accelerate a development that has already been underway internally for a number of years.
Transparency, trust and respect are the key words for continuing to function in a rapidly changing climate. To address the challenges of today and tomorrow, as well as the concerns of our clients, we have enhanced our expertise in four areas:
As part of its durable approach to its transition, VO started to work two years ago on the creation of the Circular Event Toolkit, a tool aimed at integrating circularity and ethics into the very essence of all the concepts proposed. Circularity is part of our corporate social responsibility policy. Indeed, we consider that we can no longer allow ourselves to organise events that are not in line with our convictions and with climate issues. All the more so, since the resumption of events in a post-Covid-19 context involves numerous changes that will have an effect on the overall impact of an event. The question of circularity then becomes all the more important, because it allows us to provide specific answers and avoid falling back into a process that generates tons of waste.
Thanks to the involvement and skills of our team, VO today has all the potential to support its clients in their transition towards a sustainable and meaningful strategy. Moreover, this expertise has been recognised by BME (Brussels Major Events), which has appointed us for a consultancy and support mission to improve and develop the sustainability of all their events, as well as their internal operations.
Innovations and the latest technologies have proven their usefulness and strength in recent months. Indeed, the lockdown period has accelerated a global process of digitalisation that has already been under way for several years. Having said that, people have also realised that these solutions do not always have the same feeling and unifying power as a real meeting.
At VO, we have tested the majority of digital solutions available today, and we believe, on the contrary, that a good combination and a subtle approach can generate original, memorable, honest experiences between different audiences wherever they are. These are known as hybrid or “phygital” events. This new dimension can clearly bring added value to an event.
For the EU Research and Innovation Days (R&I Days), the VO cross-functional team - coordinated by VO Europe - transformed a concept for a physical event into a hybrid event. These three days of events held in September 2020 welcomed a total of 35,091 participants from all over the world. The result was an edition that reached and engaged eight times as many citizens, but with a total carbon impact four times lower.
Being convinced of the power of co-creation to generate added value and strengthen human ties, particularly in this period of uncertainty, VO has been investing in collective intelligence and agility for a number of years. The group has thus created its own LAB and has been offering sessions to its clients since 2019 as part of the creation process.
Co-creation is also increasingly integrated into our concepts. People’s experiences and commitment are strengthened when each individual has the opportunity to contribute to the content of an event. This is what we did, for example, for the 15th anniversary of Alter Domus, by inviting the 1300 employees from all over the world to interact online for 3 months to shape part of the event. The result is unambiguous - 95% satisfaction over the 3 days of the event and an immense impact on strengthening the bonds between teams, their ability to collaborate and their commitment to the brand.
While security has always been an important aspect of what we do, this crisis has required us to add a few new dimensions. The first one, obviously, is health security.
Having been an active contributor in collaboration with the Alliance of Belgian Event Federations to the drafting of the COVID Event Risk Model - an essential tool for organising an event today - VO is constantly on the lookout for the latest developments. Our team is trained to draft protocols and support our clients in formulating guidelines specific to each project. We are also surrounded by experts in risk analysis whenever called for by the project brief.
The second dimension is cyber security. The rise of hybrid and virtual events since March 2020 has led us to focus all the more on this aspect by integrating specific measures into every event.
Developing expertise - and sharing it too!
The ability to develop expertise and share it among all the members of the agency is fundamental to responding to new models and to our clients' expectations. This is why VO has developed the concept of the VO Academy, a training programme open to all employees and delivered both by those employees who have developed particular expertise in one of the 4 pillars, and by external speakers if certain subjects require a higher level of expertise than that currently accumulated.