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Julian Agostini (pictured below), managing director of Access All Areas’ publisher Mash Media, on inspiring new ideas in event visitors.

I’ve often thought that each town should have a clock beamed into the sky above the centre at night. It would be warming, comforting and you could not stop yourself from looking at it.DSC_0018

In the interest of starting small, I’ve also thought that it could be amazing to build a giant clock above International Confex and the Event Production Show (EPS). Why?

In every single piece of post event feedback that the shows have conducted over the last five years, one of the biggest areas that matter to our visitors is a desire to be inspired. They talk about one moment of inspiration; one thing that will make their next event that little bit better than last time. Just one eureka.

I like that. I like the fact that our visitors put so much value on the power of original thinking – that while their service is outstanding event production, their value is the creative concepts that sit within an event. I like the fact that they turn to an exhibition to give them that moment and trust us to deliver on it over and over again. This is good news for the industry: we’re pointing in the right direction.

This is also as pure a brief an event organiser can get, but one that offers a unique challenge. I know that when Confex and EPS open we will have the very best exhibitors with amazing products that we haven’t even thought of yet. I know there will be stunning education, networking opportunities and everything an exhibition needs to embrace the energy of its visitors and spin it around in ways that allow information and creativity to flow. But this in itself does not guarantee that every event prof will get that one moment of inspiration they want.

I was looking at an advert from one of our good friends and a long-term supporter of our business, N200|GES. The creative was simple: they showed a picture of a long, deserted beach and a single surfer.

Why? Because they get it too.

They understand that delivering a great product with great service is now the base level of what a customer wants. Brands and businesses these days can’t get away with just helping their audiences; they need to inspire them as well. The visuals that the company used on the advert are beautiful, transformative and inspirational. I look at that advert and I don’t just want to go to that place; more importantly, it lets my mind wander, opening it up to new and creative thinking.

That’s why I want a giant clock in the middle of Confex and EPS. Not because I want everyone to know what time it is, but because I want people to look up, see something dramatic and for a spark to be set off inside them. They may have an idea or a moment that has absolutely nothing to do with time, clocks or anything else. Only that for that moment, we created an electric current that put life into a new idea.

We’re going to try and put all sorts of things into the shows that, like the clock and N200|GES’ advert, cause a reaction in creative event professionals. We’ll do this because we understand exactly what our visitor feedback means, and we think we can deliver on it.

It’s not easy to guarantee inspiration, but there are ways to set it off: by being surprising, experimental, innovative and even a little scientific. I’m told that as we grow older we don’t look up as much as when we were kids, so a clock in the sky at Confex and EPS? Why not?