The Event Technology Awards celebrate the successful development and implimentation of technology in the events industry.
The judging panel for the awards is a stellar line-up of experts and we’d like to introduce them to you in our Meet the Judges series, this week we present Karen Bhavnani, Innovation Manager at MCI group.
As Innovation Manager at MCI group, Karen is an advocate for innovation and culture implementation initiatives, and her experience is centeredaround helping organizations achieve excellence. Karen actively participates in events across industries and contributes to the local innovation ecosystem by showcasing start-ups and promoting their offerings.A true social entrepreneur at heart, she co-leads the Women in Digital Switzerland initiative in Geneva and actively participates in the Open Geneva association.
- What experience can you draw upon to successfully judge the ETAs?
I constantly scout the marketplace for technology solutions that help us deploy better services as an event organizer. We use many creative problem-solving techniques to ideate around our most pressing challenges and then build innovation driven solutions to meet those. Also, over the last several years, my work within the local innovation ecosystems has increased. As I continue to cultivate external partnerships and lead and association of Women in Digital Switzerland my exposure to start-ups and innovative early stage projects for social good has given me a breadth of experience to help better evaluate early business ideas.
- How long have you worked in the events industry and what keeps you interested in it?
I have worked in the events industry for over 6 years and what keeps me excited is the pace of change and the central role that empathy plays in designing event and learning experiences. The future is full of possibilities with the opportunity to experiment with blending new technologies and layering on application of advancements in neuroscience and psychology in the creation process.
- Favourite piece of tech for work and personal life?
Mural, I love visual collaboration and of course other simple collaboration and communication tools like Slack and Trello.
- What was the last event on which you worked?
The last in-person event in 2020 was EAHAD in February 2020.
- What’s the best way to utilise tech at an event?
Keeping the tech simple and on purpose goes along way. We start by inventorying user challenges, aligning tech with the event promise and value to participants and then asking why many times to see if the technology is needed and in what form.
Successful implementation is about staying focused on solving the most pressing user needs along their journey, testing on a small pilot project with minimal risk, allowing enough time in the planning to adopt and communicate the new technology, creating technology education and training materials, and measuring performance against objectives throughout the project lifecycle.
- We all learn from our mistakes! What was the biggest lesson you learned from a mistake since being in the industry?
I have experienced several failures including the technology not delivering on part of the expected promise, having technical issues that created different behaviour of the technology on the event then in testing, and working with a start-up that no longer existed. Most of these failures were not visible because of careful contingency planning on the most critical parts of the service delivery.
- What are you most looking forward to at the ETAs?
Being wowed by imaginative ideas coming to life in clever ways.
- Why is it important to recognise the achievements of tech companies?
Expectations for delivering simple experiences through complex technologies that delight in the flow is ever increasing. Start-ups entering into any space push the boundaries filling important technological needs and help foster creative collaboration of those in that space to meet complex needs.
- If you could only use one piece of tech when working on an event, what would that be?
The most important piece of technology is an all in one platform with AI capability to optimize matchmaking and learning, personalize the experience of the event along touchpoints, and enhance interactions and engagement beyond the event within the community throughout the year.