Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is setting aside the traditional plan for its annual conference and embracing the concept of experience creation for the 2018 edition of World Education Congress (WEC), being held June 2-5 at the Indiana Convention Centre in Indianapolis.
The association reports that WEC 2018 will feature high energy pep rallies to kick off and wrap up each day, an open-floor, fluid layout with four connected WEC Villages, more innovative technology and WEC Experience Coaches to help attendees plan their experience prior to the event and to assist with exploration onsite.
“This year, we decided to take a page out of our own playbook and take a big risk by changing the overall look, feel and experience of WEC18.” ~ Darren Temple, COO, MPI
The vision for the redesign came about in September 2017 with the help of the #EventCanvas methodology and aligns with MPI’s practice of taking risks so attendees don’t have to with their own meetings. Each WEC Village will bring to life a different theme: Experiential Design, Innovation, Leadership and Social. They will offer customizable networking and business exchange opportunities including supplier showcases and food and beverage relevant to each theme. More than 80 concurrent education sessions will also be delivered throughout the villages to stimulate more intense live learning experiences rather than in meeting rooms located in separate areas.
“We are very proud of how successful WEC has been the past few years. This year, we decided to take a page out of our own playbook and take a big risk by changing the overall look, feel and experience of WEC18. The Indiana Convention Center is the perfect venue for us try our new concept of villages and open space learning,” said Darren Temple, chief operations officer of MPI. “We are very excited about WEC18, which promises to be unlike any other event experience, and extend special thanks to our host partner, Visit Indy, for their support and collaboration.”
The MPI Academy received and evaluated nearly 600 speaker proposals for WEC18. The concurrent education sessions will be delivered in 30, 60 and 90-minute mixed formats, and will cover topics such as virtual reality, event design, food and beverage trends, ethical challenges, safety and security, and leadership. Attendees can earn up to 10 clock hours from the concurrent education sessions, plus a few more clock hours from the pep rallies.
In addition, MPI will continue leveraging the well-received theme from WEC 2017, “Stop planning meetings, start designing experiences,” and bring back some program elements that have been popular among past WEC attendees, including:
- MPI’s Hosted Buyer Program;
- the MPI Foundation Rendezvous networking and fundraising event;
- headshot stations;
- Paws for a Break (previously known as puppy cuddling);
- and corporate social responsibility activities benefitting several local Indianapolis area charities.
Michael Cerbelli’s The Hot List: 2018 2.0 will return this year as well. The session, which made its first appearance at WEC 2017, identifies fresh trends in the ever-changing marketplace and showcases acts and innovations for enhanced experiential marketing.