Updated Nov, 10th 2012
About this project:
As part of my new job, I am supposed to organize a quarterly 2-day conference for the Operations team. Twenty team members from across Canada fly in for two days to attend a series of meetings, a team dinner, a group activity and a barista championship (we are a coffee company).
I have already organized two so far, and I have followed the set template that they have used year and year again. Now that I am more comfortable with my job and my position, I would like to add something ELSE to the table and make this event my own: the repetitive and predictable nature of these events have made them quite dry for the participants.
The main goal of this event is to bring the team together, inform them of new projects, to create a space for productive dialogue and to rally some team spirit.
When is the event?
The event happens quarterly, with the next one being January 29 & 30. It is usually held at our head office.
Who are the decision makers/Who has the money (are there sponsors)?
The VP has final say on all things and controls the content of the more 'serious' part of the conference, such as departmental presentations and discussion. I am given more liberty with the 'fun' stuff, and we both set the agenda together.
What is your budget?
Breakfast (2days) = $1000
Lunch (2 days) = $1000
Team Dinner = $1500
Team Activity = $600-700
This is not including hotel and airfare (this comes out of a separate budget)
What do you want it to look like?
I want it to be a good balance of productivity and fun. I do not control the more serious parts of the events such as presentations and discussion groups, I do want to weave in different activities to keep the participants' spirits up and their interest piqued.
The current template loosely looks like this:
What are things that can not move?
The dates are set in advance, and to save money we cannot move the location out of our office building, which limits our choice with regards to dinner locations as well as activity, we are far from downtown and due to traffic it would take 2 hours to get there.
What will make it yours?
My initial areas of focus for breaking the status quo are to change up our food offerings for breakfast/lunch. I also would like to find more interesting dinner venus and team activities.
For breakfast, I thought about creating a build your own waffle bar. Given what we are currently spending, I think this is doable and would take just a little more effort on my team's part to set it up the morning of. Also, we have a 'mock' cafe with all the bells and whistles that we use for training, I thought it would be cool to set up an actual service line that the participants can order their waffles from.
For lunch, I would like to find food trucks to come by the office building to open up our food choices, however I am not sure if $500 is enough of a draw for the food truck. I will still need to research this.
Dinner venues and team activities, I still need to work to find options. Online research has proved fruitless. Any ideas on this front is more than welcome. (I have already received some, thank your for this!)
A classmate suggested ending the conference with 'something special' for the participants to leave with, I thought this was a neat idea. Perhaps I can find something coffee 'geeky' to remind us all that we are coffee lovers before we are business people that work in a corporation.