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Today, we interviewed Anne-K. Beck, organizer of a scientific conference. On behalf of the BioEconomy Cluster, she organizes the International BioEconomy Conference. As the title implies, everything revolves around the bio-economy.
During the conversation, Anne talks more about the conference and what obstacles she faced when using an event app for the first time.
LineUpr: Hello Anne. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please introduce yourself and the BioEconomy.
Anne: Hello LineUpr Team, I’ve been working for 2.5 years at the BioEconomy Cluster, a network dedicated to providing alternatives for petroleum-based products. Fossil materials are included in our everyday lives in so many things, be it clothing, cosmetics, packaging but also building materials or for heat production. There are alternatives, be it with wood, but also other biomasses or residues. For the implementation of this bio-based economy, we are doing a lot of exciting research projects in the BioEconomy Cluster, the results of which, in the best cases, make it to the market, exactly bio-economy.
LineUpr: You used LineUpr for the first time for the “8th International Bioeconomy Conference”. How did you first learn about LineUpr? And what added value do you expect from using an event app?
Anne: The conference stems very much from the scientific focus. The transfer between business and science has increasingly emerged as a focus in recent years. Classical lectures and poster sessions are only partially the right way. I experienced LineUpr in connection with interactive start-up events and I hoped that our target group would be ready for it. I would like to have more interaction/networking, quick reactions, and most of all, the chance for direct feedback at our conference. I expected this from the app.
LineUpr: What is the event about? What do you offer the participants?
Anne: The International BioEconomy Conference provides information on current developments and trends in the bio-economy worldwide, in the current partner region as well as in central Germany. There are four thematic sessions on different topics such as plant breeding results, wood processing potential or applications in biotechnology. The participants can, therefore, bring themselves up to date and, above all, exchange ideas with other interested parties. At the conference, you can meet numerous international and national scientists and company representatives. This is very fruitful for both sides. The Leopoldina in Halle – National Academy of Sciences offers, as a location, a truly worthy setting which already makes it worthwhile to travel to Halle.
LineUpr: Do you also use printed products to market the event or to distribute information locally? If so, which and why?
Anne: Yes. We use both offline as well as online marketing. Offline there are Save-the-Date flyers as well as, for example, a programme flyer, which is also available at the conference itself. But sometimes changes have to be made on short notice, so an online version of the programme is always available, for example on our homepage or as an app as we have now tried it with LineUpr. We have both versions because the printed materials are still widely accepted and works well for beforehand distributions at, for example, other events. I give many partners a stack of flyers with the request to put them in their buildings or to distribute them at their events. The additional acquisition via invitations by e-mail, etc. still remains.
LineUpr: How did you use the app before, during and after the conference?
Anne: We set the app up on a very short notice. About six weeks before the event, we informed all registered participants and speakers about the app by e-mail. Also on site, we referred to the app via QR code, etc. I think, especially in the scientific environment, the use of such apps is still in its infancy, which we also noticed in the use. During the conference, I published diverse information in the app which unfortunately no other participant/speaker did. We did not distribute documents via the app but this could be an option for the next time.
LineUpr: Unfortunately the first run with the Event-App was not as successful as we hoped. What do you think could have caused this and what did you learn from it for the next event?
Anne: There were about 140 participants attending our 7th International BioEconomy Conference. About 10-20 people used the app. For the first time maybe okay, definitely room for improvement. During the conference, I distributed information here and there, directly towards the end and after the event, I asked for feedback. Unfortunately, there was not much resonance. We have to improve that. Informing participants and encouraging usage earlier will improve this time as well. The direct network character must be shown earlier. This time we will already implement LineUpr into the official registration period.
LineUpr: Keyword Challenges. How do you deal with the trend of digitalization? How will this development change your event in the future?
Anne: Digitalisation is an issue. But I also have to honestly say, nothing beats personal conversation and exchange at such events. We are reminded of that every time. Even the conference dinner on the first evening is a real highlight. Such event apps can only support this. But informing participants beforehand on who is at the conference on the ground, appointments or other possibilities with such apps are certainly added value and added functions at such conferences.
LineUpr: What are you particularly proud of at this event and why?
Anne: I am proud that we managed to persuade some of the sponsors to sponsor the event for the first time. But also many excellent speakers, pioneers of the bio-economy so-to-speak, have given us the honor, for example, Christian Patermann or this year Waldmar Kütt from the EU. Additionally, however, I am always enthusiastic about what small and medium-sized companies from the region are doing, so to speak hidden champions, such as EW Biotech from Leuna or the c-LEcta from Leipzig.
LineUpr: Which three top tips would you like to give other organizers for the use of LineUpr?
Anne: Definitely just try it out, you cannot go wrong and you only benefit from it. Just get the basic version to first get your own feel, and I find the chance to upgrade later is great and we also used it. The most important thing, however, is the knowledge of the target group and the desire for new media in general.
LineUpr: Thank you very much for the detailed interview and the courage to tell a not so perfect story about the use of an event app. I think that concerns many organizers. New digital solutions often take some time to be well received by the participants.
If you want to know more about the Bioeconomy Cluster, then I recommend you take a look at their homepage (https://www.bioeconomy-conference.de/veranstalter/). If you want to get in touch with Anne, feel free to send a message on Xing (https://www.xing.com/profile/AnneKaren_Beck).
We hope that together we will make the app a success for you and for us this year.