Free Idea Fridays!

CSR - A fresh idea for teambuilding
Last month at the CHMSE Luncheon, I was fortunate to chat with Andrew Long. - Andrew Long’s company - specializes in corporate events that are designed to enhance teamwork and decision-making skills via fun and challenging activities. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to pick his creative brain on what was hot and new in the world of team building. Doing some "good" is a recurring theme in our blog postings and what Andrew has to say went along with many of our own values.

DZ: What is the latest trend in team building and engaging a group of co-workers?

AL: Recently, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has emerged and is affecting events, especially corporate events. CSR manifests itself in a number of ways within events and has also had an impact on team building activities.

DZ: I've been pushing this idea to clients for a while – tell me why it is taking off now:

AL: CSR is a deliberate effort by a company to have a positive impact on the community, the environment, consumers, employees and other stakeholders. Companies are increasingly seeking to incorporate CSR into their events because it is another way for the company to demonstrate its CSR endeavors.

DZ: That is the tricky part, isn’t it? Doing "GOOD" is often challenging – tell me how you incorporated CSR into some of your programs:

AL: We toyed with the “build-a-bike” idea in which participants assemble bicycles for charity, but the problem we ran into was how to do that in locations around North America as well as how to make it a true team activity. We also had the idea that people could do community projects. We’d contact organizations in the local market and try to find someone who needed a large group of people for an afternoon. It was actually harder to come up with projects of this nature than we expected.

Then we landed on the idea of Pay It Forward. Participants are split into teams, given a quantity of money, and the mandate is to go out for several hours and "do good" in the local community. We look for the creativity of their ideas, the number of people they’ve potentially impacted and the insights they can generate. For example, one group bought flowers, gave them to strangers and asked them to "Flower it Forward"!

DZ: And your famous Scavenger Hunts - were you able to combine some of the CSR principles into those?

AL: Yes, we knew that our next step really needed to be how to incorporate CSR into our corporate scavenger hunts. We created a "Pay It Forward Add-On" aspect to our scavenger hunts. It is a mini-version of our full Pay It Forward activity and participants like it because it adds a unique element to our classic scavenger hunt offering.

For more about Corporate Social Responsibility, check out:

You can reach Andrew by connecting via his websites:
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By the way - did I forget to mention?
A few weeks ago I wrote about how knowledge yields real power. So what happens if those "in the know" don’t share the knowledge you need to do your job properly?

I’m in Ottawa this week for a client program we do on an annual basis. It is a good piece of business for any hotel and the "spend" on both bedrooms and food & beverage is substantial for a 3 day conference in mid-August.

Our pre-con with the hotel was professional, run of the mill standard stuff…..nothing unusual…well at least nothing unusual at the time was mentioned to us.

A short day and half later, we noticed the first of what was to be a series of blips:
  • RCMP security dogs sweeping meeting room space-a sure indication that a dignitary is soon to visit.
  • Dozens of tall, burly men with ear pieces talking into their sleeve and roaming around our registration area

Still, we were only told minimal details from the hotel which led to further disruptions for us:
  • Elevators being interrupted without notice for various lengths of time
  • Our registration desk dismantled from right underneath our feet
  • Traffic in the porte-cochère being stalled for mysterious dark glassed limousines
  • Dozens of traffic police officers on motorcycles (stopping both pedestrian and vehicle traffic)
  • Road closures around the whole perimeter of the hotel
  • Our buses diverted indefinitely

Without prior knowledge, we could do nothing. We were limited in our reaction to rectify the challenges thrown at us and could only take direction from the dozen or so officers on security detail in front of the hotel.

This was not some top-secret mission. Coverage from all the major news outlets featured headline photos and video clips of the visiting dignitary every day this week. So - why the lack of disclosure?

Listen up to all the hoteliers out there – this is the type of thing you should share with your client in a timely manner to ensure that there are no surprises!

Lesson learned - add the following question to your pre-con checklist (especially in Ottawa) - Will there be any disruptions caused by any visiting dignitaries? (Room set-up, slow-down of elevators, traffic out on the drive-way, potential road closures and security sweeps)
at 10:06AM
Back from Eventworld with FRESH IDEAS
Rachel and I are just back from the ISES Eventworld in Dallas with some fresh ideas to share with you!

We have all seen those giant greeters (or a least everyone trying to do them). Here is a fantastic one! Mixed with some pyro this created quite an impression even to a bunch of jaded event professionals.

Check out this 12 ft. oversized singing live character from Champagne Creative Group:

Talking heads and painted statues have been around for a while but here is a new take on the idea with a great musical component which combines rock & roll and live breathing art:

Check out Wise Guys for more cool stuff

On a related note we came back with some major hardware to add to our trophy case - An ISES Esprit Award for our work on the Mortgage Forum and Expo '11 for the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals. Many thanks go out to our amazing suppliers – Stronco Show Services, AV CANADA, Inorbital, Hume, Ideavation and the team at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

at 11:20AM