ECEU: Organizing an Event Via Virtual Collaboration

Written by Jenise Fryatt

When Ruud Janssen, Lindsey Rosenthal and I first discussed the possibility of organizing an Event Camp in London, we were just three event industry optimists riding on the adrenaline of opportunities and possibilities we had discovered through our individual efforts to network, learn and market our businesses online.

We had JUST met in person at The Special Event in Phoenix Arizona, although we were familiar with each other from online interactions.

Amazingly enough, when we all returned home, a plan started to take shape and after adding British friend Paul Cook to our team, we got down to the nitty gritty of remote collaboration.  What is that, you ask? Well it’s what happens when people from different locations (in our case as vastly different as California, Washington D.C., Switzerland and London) work together on a project.

We were determined to make Event Camp Europe a reality. And believe me our path has been rife with obstacles.  The first that comes to mind is time differences. To give you an idea, there’s a three hour difference between Lindsey and me, an 8 hour difference between Paul and me, and I can’t even keep track of the difference between California and Switzerland, where Ruud lives.

Then there are the different ways that we all approach our work.  Some of us are very big on ideas, others are more practical, some of us wanted black and white guidelines, others wanted to remain flexible. Add to that the different cultural backgrounds and the limits that our methods for communicating imposed and you can see how determined we’ve had to be.

The methods that we’ve used to collaborate have been audio only group Skype calls, Google+ Hangouts that include video and audio, email, Twitter direct messages and a site called Central Desktop which gave us a place to share  and store our work.

Next week we will all meet for in person for the first time, just three days before our event is scheduled.

We’re excited to see how Event Camp Europe will materialize after so many months of preparation.  We hope you will join us for this fascinating experiment that is sure to provide great insight into how events will come together in the future.


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Posted on August 31, 2011, in event camp europe, event innovation and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This is brilliant and very exciting to read. I’ve been very interested in collaboration tools and techniques for some time as I believe they are crucial to delivering events that are in sync with participants. I’m really looking forward to ECEU next week. This type of experimentation is critical for our industry. Thank you for your collective contributions.

  2. Well thanks Michelle, much appreciate your positive feedback! It is a wild ride on a digital roller coaster. And that all as a side project for professionals that have more than fulltime jobs or companies to run. Look forward to seeing you at EIBTM and co-presenting there….talking about collaboration… let’s get cracking on that shall we? Speak soon, Ruud

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