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The German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) deals with safety and health at work. And how can this knowledge be communicated most efficiently? Through personal exchange! Therefore events are a central part of the DGUV.
Someone who knows about this very well is Gabriele Hoyer. She is a consultant at the Institute of Labour and also organizes some DGUV events. She tells us more about digitalization, how and why she uses event apps, and what event app novices need to keep in mind. Have fun reading. ?
LineUpr: Hello Gabriele. First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please introduce yourself and the DGUV. What are your goals and tasks and what roles do events play in fulfilling these?
Gabriele: My name is Gabriele Hoyer and I work as a consultant in the congress management department at the Institute for Work and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IAG). The task of our institute is to promote safety and health at work – conferences and congresses play a major role here. They serve to impart knowledge and new insights and offer a platform for exchange and networking. And these events take place in the conference center of the IAG (DGUV Congress).
LineUpr: Who is the typical target audience of your events and how do you reach them?
Gabriele: Our target groups are very diverse: we offer, among others, events for specialists and executives, occupational safety specialists, company doctors, and occupational medical assistants. But also for people who work in further education or in prevention and for anyone who is interested in the subject.
Above all, targeted mailings and an individual website have proven best for the promotion of our events in the last years. However, we also publish our events in internal newsletters, an IAG newsletter, the annual IAG seminar programme and the annual wall planner of DGUV Congress. And of course, we also use our social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) to promote our event.
LineUpr: In your opinion, which of these channels is the strongest or the most efficient?
Gabriele: As I said before, we mostly use the targeted mailings and a website about the event.
The emails give us the advantage of reaching the corresponding target group directly. Our mailings usually take place in several stages: first, a save-the-date to announce the event date, place and theme. Then a little later, the invitation with the programme and information about registration and after some time usually a reminder of the deadline for the early bird price or the registration deadline. After the participants have registered, they receive a confirmation of registration with all important details, e.g. about the use of digital tools such as an event app. Sometimes, just a few days before the start of the event, we will even send a separate e-mail to encourage guests to use the app.
On the event website, guests can also find very detailed information, e.g. about the individual workshops, the exhibition or the evening programme.
LineUpr: Do you also use printed products? If so, which and why?
Gabriele: Yes, we often print small flyers for the promotion of our events, which we then distribute in our seminar and event halls in the DGUV Academy and also through partners.
Also, we often prepare small, compressed programme flyers that the participants receive on site. However, the type and extent of the printed media used depends strongly on the kind of event – and whether additional digital tools such as an event app are used.
LineUpr: You have already used LineUpr for several events, but I would like to talk to you about our first joint event, the 8th IAG Trainer Days. What is this event about?
Gabriele: At the IAG-Trainer days, lecturers from trade associations and accident insurances can further educate themselves and exchange ideas. The basic idea is to combine a thematic focus with various workshops using innovative methods. The 8th IAG Trainer Days in June 2017 focused on new findings from teaching and learning research.
LineUpr: Since we’re currently on the subject, how did you first learn about LineUpr and what was the main reason for you to use an event app?
Gabriele: We have been pursuing the idea of using an app for our events and seminars in the IAG for some time now to provide our guests with the information they need digitally.
As part of my Master’s thesis, I collected the information our guests need – before they come to us when they are here and after the event. We then learned about LineUpr through personal discussions with Norbert Sroke. With LineUpr we were able to cover a large part of the information needs of our guests, which is why we decided to use it for our events.
The added value of an event app for us is that we can provide our guests with all the important information through one medium- and that in the Corporate Design of the DGUV and in the theme of the respective event. The graphics department supports us, creating a professional look and a recognition value for the users. And besides, we can easily update the data if, for example, a workshop room changes or there are changes in the schedule. This information then lands directly on the smartphones of our guests.
LineUpr: How did you use the app before, during and after the 8th IAG Trainer Days?
Gabriele: We used the app to provide the participants with all the relevant information in advance: the programme, the contents, and rooms of the individual workshops, pictures and short CVs of the participants, data of the contact persons and accommodation, etc. They were specifically asked in an e-mail to try the app and to browse a bit through it. Also, we integrated the QR code of the app into the participation documents that the guests received on site.
During the event, we conducted small surveys through the app. We integrated the live results into the event and in some cases put them up directly for discussion.
To make it easier for our guests to get started with this tool, I prepared a small information stand about the app and was available for them during the breaks. There were many interesting discussions – including the general use of digital tools in events!
LineUpr: How did your visitors react to the app? For you, this was undoubtedly the first time using an app at this event right?
Gabriele: Yes, for us it was indeed the first time using such an event app. Most of the guests reacted very positively and with interest. From the online evaluation of the event (we had a separate questionnaire block for digital tools added) we received many helpful tips for the further use of such event apps. In the meantime, we have already used LineUpr – along with many other digital tools – for two further events (“The Future of Work” and “Netzwerkstatt DGUV Congress”). We integrated the app – in addition to small displays on tables and QR codes on billboards – from the beginning into the moderation. This makes such a digital tool more accessible from our point of view and reduces the inhibition threshold for use – especially at classic conferences and congresses.
Nevertheless, we are very careful not to exclude guests who don’t have a smartphone! It is important for us to make the information accessible to all guests. Therefore we will not be able to completely get rid of printed media for the time being.
In addition, our experience shows that one should not overuse digital tools in an event. On the one hand, the use of several digital tools in one event is unfavorable. We often receive feedback that participants in an event do not want to look at their smartphone constantly – after all, they want to have direct communication at the event.
LineUpr: Of course, everything is not yet perfect. What features do you still want for the app and why? What other difficulties do you experience in planning, marketing, and running events that you would like a digital solution for?
Gabriele: What you can never reduce 100% is the skepticism of some participants towards such digital tools. Behind this is today’s “constantly having to install something” and on the other hand, the fear that personal conversations and the interaction between each other will suffer. Both are understandable in my view. That’s why it is even more important to use digital tools selectively and geared to the event’s purpose. Not based on the motto “the main thing is we have an app”. We try to consider this in the conception of our own events and we also advise this to other organizers. Only then does such a tool create added value.
But now on to my wishes: The area of the DGUV Academy is very spacious, our guests are spread over several buildings. So again and again, guests are “stranded” in the wrong building or “lost” on campus. My vision: Guests arrive in the parking lot, open the app and are then directed to the right building, the right floor and finally to their event space. That would be the perfect function for us!
Furthermore, the survey of our guests revealed that they would like to use such an app to contact each other. This means: To see who participated in the event (like keeping up-to-date) as well as to contact people and to form groups. Almost like a WhatsApp for the event. Or to be able to contact the speakers.
And a download area for presentations, results, etc. would also be nice.
LineUpr: Digitalisation certainly plays a significant role for you, how do you think it will change your work and the events in the future? Do you also experience any changes at the DGUV because of this?
Gabriele: Yes, digitalization has a significant impact on the world of work and it will become even more digital, flexible and connected in the future. The DGUV and its institutes have been dealing with this topic for a long time. For example, the IAG has organized many events about these changes: The event series “The Future of Work” (https://www.dguv.de/iag/veranstaltungen/zukunft-der-arbeit/index.jsp) dealt with precisely that in the past two years.
And our daily work in the event business is also influenced by this change. In the meantime, it is entirely normal to provide information in digital form, to receive online registrations, to bring active “only” through digital tools into the event room or to stream event parts live. Also, the advice given by event organizers has also changed considerably: We often use digital methods to interact with the participants in the conception of an event, both in small and large groups.
The increasing networking is also evident in the event business: the communication channels between the contact persons or the presenters and the public as well as the public among themselves are shortened and simplified by digitalization. This often leads to personal contact, which makes these digital tools very valuable for our event goals.
LineUpr: Thank you, Gabriele, for the great and very detailed interview. You have really given us a fascinating insight into your work and the events of the DGUV. Particularly noteworthy are the DGUV Congress, the conference center of the IAG, but also the events and seminars, which are always worth a visit. If you want to know more about the organization and implementation of events, Gabriele will surely answer all your questions.
We are looking forward to supporting your next events.