Not sure what it is about the air up here, but there's more creativity floating around up here among our northerly neighbors than I've seen in a long time. I've already mentioned the incredibly powerful and creative (and result-producing) work that Extreme Group is doing, but I'd just retrieved my socks when they were knocked off again. First, the afternoon of the 20/20 Visionary conference was devoted to a very challenging case study in which all participants were given a challenging semi-fictitious scenario around which they had to create a communications plan and key messages. Each participant was assigned to a table that represented one group of stakeholders and told to come up with a strategy plus positioning and talking points. Then each group was interviewed by a TV reporter. The conclusion was a video of those interviews. It was a great exercise, and a far cry from the usual boring PowerPoint presentations that normally fill up an afternoon.
The evening was devoted to the Pinnacle Awards -- the local version of Gold Quill. Once again the creativity was amazing. Rather than the usual slides of the winners, a local communications class created a video scenario. It all started with a Mission Impossible style opening in which the judges were assigned the task of getting the Pinnacle statue to the awards dinner. The camera followed the judges around St. Johns doing various surreptitious things until they arrived at the actual banquet. For each award category, they ambushed the recipient and told them they'd won and filmed the reaction plus a short explanation of the program. It was funny, real and even though I knew almost none of the participants or programs, kept me riveted to the end. For all of you out there putting on conferences and awards program (PR News, IPR, PR Week, are you listening?) you should spend a week breathing the St. Johns air. You'd come back with a bunch of great new ideas.