The world urgently needs to take action on climate change and engineers have a vital role to play in delivering clean water, sustainable energy and connectivity. A five-day conference event incorporating 70 conferences and two high profile gala dinners was designed to address these issues. The event was successfully used as a platform to identify practical ways to fund, deliver and streamline projects, thus improving the lives of millions of people. ICE and WFEO brought together thousands of engineers from around the world to One Great George Street, London to share ideas of how to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It was part of the ICE’s 200 bicentenary programme, the 50th anniversary of WFEO and the UK Government’s Year of Engineering. It would not have been possible without the exceptional teamwork and customer service demonstrated across all levels of the venue’s organisation.
In a nutshell
- Proactive & research-led customer service
Having recently conducted target market empathy mapping and industry research, we discovered that mental health is a key issue for time-poor and stressed event organisers. As a result, we streamlined our processes accordingly to negate the risk of stress in our clients. In addition to being proactive and following our processes to ensure the client is always well-informed before, during and after their event, our staff themselves are well-trained and looked-after and are thus able to employ a flexible, ‘nothing is too much’ approach should any unforeseen circumstances occur. This was employed successfully during the event…
I could not think of a better team to work with when operating such a complex event! Seriously, the team were amazing, nothing was too much trouble and the flexibility that you were all willing to offer was a major factor in the success of the event. It was not a conventional conference, but the team worked very closely with us to ensure that it ran like clockwork.” Tracey Sheehan
- Hassle-free technological solutions
We worked closely with our in-house AV team Eclipse to generate new ideas for the event’s registration desks and signage. Our Telford Theatre and Godfrey Mitchell Theatre already have excellent in-built AV, and for our other spaces, Eclipse created bespoke contemporary sets that complemented the rooms and worked extremely well. This was a complex event due to the number of delegates attending and multiple speakers. Eclipse created a ‘Speaker Ready’ room which ensured that all presentations were uploaded in good time for all rooms and that the speakers were reassured that everything was in hand.
We were also able to work with our client in turning meeting rooms around during the day, so that the delegates could experience a different format for numerous presentations that were being held during the week.
- Flexible, first-class catering
Due to the number of people attending the event and length of the event which was spread over 5 days, the Food & Beverage Manager and Executive Chef devised a bespoke menu for the week that did not repeat and ensured that the special dietary requirements were catered for within the main buffet. To avoid long queues at any of the breaks, we worked together as a team to devise a plan that cleverly utilised our different spaces within the building and encouraged people to move around and experience exhibitions (as featured above) that were taking place in other areas.
- Harnessed resources to inject the event with innovation & creativity
We worked closely with our supplier TBR Floral Design to visually represent the event’s theming in an innovative way which would also provoke social media sharing. Two core displays were installed – a striking ribbon display and a foliage display – both of which were spread voraciously on social media. The coloured stripes of the ribbon represented the areas that the GEC showcased at the event and the flow of ideas about them taking place at the historic venue over the course of 5 days. These were 1) Clean Water & Sanitation, 2) Affordable & Clean Energy, 3) Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure, 4) Sustainable Cities & Communities & 5) Climate Action. The other meaningful installation was the GEC Foliage Display which could be seen on the stair case and rotunda. The dying and decaying collection of different foliage, including dry vines, monkey rope, Spanish moss and feature barks, showcased the impact of Global Warming on our planet.
This was the biggest conference we’ve ever held in our 200-year history, bringing together 3,500 engineers from more than 80 countries to help solve society’s problems.
As the result of exceptional teamwork and customer service, the core and fringe events successfully delivered a varied, interesting and challenging programme. 18 million twitter users were reached across the week and #globalengineeringcongress received enough traffic to trend on twitter.
Never before have so many stakeholders come together to put forward strategies and ideas to deliver a meaningful impact on poverty and global inequality. Work is already well underway to deliver the legacy of the event and ensure that the knowledge shared is turned into meaningful action to progress the UN Sustainable Development Goals.