by Sarah JF Braley | March 05, 2018
Meeting Professionals International has announced it is moving even further from the traditional plan for its World Education Congress this year by featuring new elements such as 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 offerings, and a host of WEC Experience Coaches to help attendees plan their experiences before the event and to assist them on-site. The event takes place June 2-5 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.
According to the organization, the vision for the redesign came about last September using the #EventCanvas methodology and aligns with MPI's goal to take format risks so attendees don't have to with their own meetings. Each of the four WEC Villages will have its own theme: experiential design, innovation, leadership and social, with customizable networking and business-exchange opportunities, supplier showcases, and food and beverage relevant to each theme. More than 80 concurrent education sessions take place in the villages to stimulate more intense live-learning experiences rather than holding the sessions in separated meeting rooms.
"We are very proud of how successful WEC has been the past few years," said Darren Temple, chief operations officer of MPI. "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. 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 organization's education arm, the MPI Academy, evaluated nearly 600 speaker proposals to find fresh and relevant education for WEC18. The concurrent sessions will be delivered in 30-, 60- and 90-minute mixed formats, covering topics such as virtual reality, event design, food-and-beverage trends, ethical challenges, safety and security, and leadership.
In addition, MPI will continue leveraging WEC 2017's theme, "Stop planning meetings, start designing experiences," and bring back some popular program elements such as 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 will return this year, identifying fresh trends in the ever-changing marketplace and showcasing acts and innovations for enhanced experiential marketing.