6 Out-of-the-Box Corporate Event Ideas
If you want your event to really resonate with your attendees, you need to offer something that will make them stop, put the phone down, and pay attention. There’s no better way to turn heads than to pique attendees’ curiosity with an event that is truly innovative.
It can be a challenge to come up with new ideas for every event, which is why we’ve compiled this list of six out-of-the-box corporate event ideas. Feel free to use them as they are, expand upon them, or use them as inspiration to create your own.
1. Make your event “secret.”
Sofar Sounds concerts are an underground music sensation. Why? Because they’re always someplace different—and no one knows the location until the night before. Known for intimate settings and transcendent performances by up-and-coming artists, Sofar Sounds has perfected the “secret” model. Although a completely secret event might not work for most corporate settings, consider using the “secret” concept to build suspense around certain elements of your event—for example, a particular speaker, a section of the agenda, or even social hour details.
2. Put normal conversations into a wildly different setting.
We’ve all done brainstorming sessions. But have you ever done one suspended 20 feet in the air, surrounded by a huge cylindrical projection surface that makes you feel like you’re sitting among the northern lights? That’s just what C2 Montreal did in their Sky Lab, and the result was breathtaking. It’s an innovative idea for a meeting, but it might not be completely practical. This idea does address the need to look for ways to take a typical session and turn it into an activity that takes participants out of their comfort zones to help facilitate the generation of new ideas and solutions to complex problems. You do not need a massive budget to achieve this kind of perspective shift. It could come from changing the setting or changing people’s literal point of view. What if these meetings took place at an outdoor venue, or around a fireside chat? Be creative in deciding where to host your meeting and associated activities. You may be pleasantly surprised by the impact an unusual venue can have.
3. Incorporate an unexpected theme.
Adding a theme to typical event activity can have a similar effect as above. What if you asked participants to consider a familiar problem—for example, new ways to be more productive—but this task is now masked by a theme such as detectives piecing together a murder through a variety of clues? Go one step further and help participants become completely engaged and immersed into the activity by theming the room and the event materials. Doing so will take your participants out of their everyday mindset and get them working as a team to solve problems. This approach allows your participants to walk away with a new perspective that may foster surprisingly good ideas that can be implemented back on the job.
4. Create a collaborative icebreaker challenge.
Connections are what make events special. A clever way to facilitate conversation and social interaction is to kick off your meeting or company event by adding a collaborative challenge or activity that gets teams working together to win.
Consider an activity that encourages participants to interact with fellow employees they wouldn’t otherwise connect with on a daily basis. You may be surprised by the effect a short interactive activity can have on energy levels in the room.
5. Activate the senses.
All too often, events only focus on sound and sight to transform attendee experiences. Why neglect the other senses? At the Garden Lab (also at C2 Montreal), attendees put on headphones and walked through a multisensory maze full of fragrant, colorful, and even edible plant life—an experience designed to open up the senses through touch, smell, taste, and sound.
Fully immersive activities like the Garden Lab can be a great way to disrupt the typical one-way speaker-to-audience exchange. So, how can you incorporate different senses into your next event, yet tie it to your event goals? Consider adopting an experiential activity to help encourage your attendees out of their seats with a lightly competitive yet highly entertaining and energetic experience that engages touch, sound, and sight. Not only will this shared experience encourage movement and interaction, but it will also create a lasting team bond. When the activity is done, align the selection of coffee break treats to the activity to help engage taste, too!
6. Put the participant in the driver’s seat.
You’ve probably heard of the “unconference”—a conference where there’s no agenda until attendees show up and create it themselves. You might be thinking that this format would be too radical to work—but why not use this approach on a smaller scale? Using a tool like Slido, you can create a bounded “open space” session where participants define what the session looks like. Then, people have to jump in and start contributing.
If introducing new technology is not viable for you, consider a more informal approach. For example, when your attendees arrive, have an empty agenda posted and encourage leaders to fill it in with topics or questions they would like to discuss. If a leader posts something, they are responsible for introducing that topic or question during their selected time slot. Attendees are free to attend and contribute to whichever session piques their interest or is most relevant to their roles. Events like these encourage candid conversation and have been shown to be quite effective in generating pulse checks within the organizations, as well as encouraging brainstorming meetings.
Original, innovative event ideas can be hard to come by, but that’s the way it should be!
Consider how you can adopt or adapt a few of the above ideas into your next corporate event. Set yourself apart, get people talking, and make more of an impact with your attendees by creating an event that is fun, interactive, engaging, and truly one of a kind.