The second edition of the Playful Creative Summit came to a close at midnight on Sunday 25 April… even though you can still view ALL the pre-recorded material if you sign up for an All-Access pass.
The first Summit succeeded beyond our expectations. Instead of a few hundred people, we had well over a thousand attend. We didn’t make enough money to retire, but we DID make enough to cover costs and decide to do the second edition in 2021.
But doing a second edition was always going to involve change. You don’t want to rest on your laurels and just do the same thing over again, do you?
So change we did! The biggest change from 2020 to 2021 was the introduction of LIVE and interactive sessions. The core of the summit remained the pre-recorded interviews with playful and creative experts from around the world. But we added on the options for people to upgrade their free general access in order to attend and participate in six live sessions: two play sessions, two workshops and two networking sessions.
Another big change was in how we dealt with our speakers. This year, we went to great lengths to pull them much closer to us and to the summit, by having regular online briefings and networking, setting up a WhatsApp group and generally making more of an effort to create a community space for those who wanted to use it.
The original summit was already conceived as an online event before the Covid pandemic got started. We were curious to see how we would go 12 months later. Zoom fatigue, proliferating online options, over-availability of FREE content were all factors that COULD impact our growth.
Publicity to Community
To cut through the clutter, we also did something else new: recorded short promo videos with each speaker after their interview recording session. We also conducted an extensive and regular email and social media campaign to try and find as many touch points with our existing audience and our potential new audience as possible.
This year, we also launched a PR campaign, with content, graphics material and information sent to a wide range of creativity or Play-oriented publications. This resulted in a number of Podcast interviews, a magazine article and a range of blog column inches.
The biggest change in the outcome of the summit has been the emergence of a strong sense of community. While the reaction and feedback to the first edition was very positive, we did not get much push-back in terms of trying to keep these people together.
That changed this year. Comments from speakers and public alike showed that there is a distinct lack of places where people interested in Play and Creativity can congregate, share information, learn, grow and network.
A particular example of this is the WhatsApp group we set up to stay in touch with our speakers and to help them with questions or problems. Not one speaker has left since the Summit closed. True, we are not abusing this channel, but everyone is keen to stay hanging out and to see what happens next.
Numerous emails have come in with questions about the future and expressing the sense of lack of a real play and creativity community.
It’s hard to know what to do with this change in impact. We love it and it feels great, but Communities are complex and complicated things. This information is still in the pot being processed!
The live and interactive sessions were without doubt responsible for a lot of this changing of tide in sentiment. For many of the session the same faces kept popping up, and connections and friendships were started in the breakout rooms in in the Zoom chat.
Clearly, everyone is missing the ability to just meet NEW people and chat about things that are important to you. As the pandemic has mutated, so has our social response, our willingness to engage and our levels of fatigue
Reading anything into our statistics and figures is next to impossible to do. There are so many variables that effected our success or lack thereof. Therefore, whatever we DO do next will be all about how we FEEL about the future, and not what the statistics tell us.
Play and creativity are the best weapons to deal with change and the growth it often requires. We hope that, especially in these fast changing and uncertain times, the Summit was able to help people facing change, to find new ways of navigating it, and new tools for taking advantage of it.
The main takeways?
- Play and creativity may never have been as important as they are now
- People are craving a community around these subjects
- The constant nature of change currently is impacting our desires and purpose
David Chislett was born in Britain, raised in South Africa and is resident in The Netherlands. Nowhere and Everywhere are home. He is a published author, poet, musician and artist and has also been an entrepreneur for over 25 years. The link that joins everything in his life together is creativity,
By sharing what he knows about this human capacity he aims to improve the world, one presentation at a time. He has been on stage in one capacity or another since 1980, bringing experience, research, humour and passionate energy to every presentation he does. Find out more about David at https://davidchislett.com/