Running a series of brokerage events in relatively quick succession sometimes made it difficult to stop and reflect on what had worked well and what hadn’t worked as well as expected.
Some of the issues covered in the lessons above are cases in point, such as:
Was the room layout right?
Did we have too many technical speakers?
Can we fit in practical sessions?
Are the SME and technology providers well matched?
Are the days too long?
...and so on.
The aim of trying to document our experiences as 10 lessons is partly because we did learn as we went along and we did make some mistakes along the way.
In planning for a large event, all efforts go into the preparation and little thought is given to the aftermath and follow-up. While feedback from participants is generally gained on the day, what B2Match gave us the chance to do is to get more reflective follow-up after the event to make sure that we captured the considered views of our participants and speakers, not just the ‘happy sheet’ feedback when only captures limited (but important) feedback from the moment.
Our aim has been to follow-up with not just the participant SMEs, but the speakers and the exhibitors to see what follow-up action they took or received from others after the event. This exercise is still ongoing as it can be sometime after the event that links and connections are made.
Our last lesson is that follow-up and reflection are as vital a part of the process after the event as planning and preparation are before it.
This project is funded under the Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology Call ‘KBBE.2013.2.3-02: Network for the transfer of knowledge on traditional foods to SMEs. FP7-KBBE-2013-7 – single stage. Coordinator: Institute of Technology Tralee, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Grant No.: 613776.