Title: director of live events, Fast Company, Boston.
Insight: Location matters. Many events lock people into a hermetically sealed ballroom for several days, when they crave a chance to escape, to experience local flavors, to be outdoors. Create flexible schedules and venues.
Opinion: Sponsors should enrich events with useful, interesting, newsworthy touches instead of clutter. Be selective and creative in working with sponsors to get the best they have to offer.
Trade secret: Eliminate traditional sponsor banners and booths. Set up an atmosphere encouraging people to explore and test sponsors' products on their own.
Examples: Sprint set up a fountain at our last event. Philips' Nino division let people play with hand-held computers. Apple allowed everyone to create their own