The Good, the bad, and the (B%$t)Ugly.

hqdefaultAs events/conclaves/conferences often do, the Health Public conclave came and went, on the 22nd of August, 2014. Being the 6th ‘Design Public’ event (with DP 1,2,3,4,5 being the preceding 5), and only the second one that was produced and executed here on campus, at Vihara, it was an entirely Healthcare centric conclave, and content-wise completely dedicated to the Bihar Innovation Lab.

The most important part of any project, event, study, research etc is what you learn from it, and not just in a pure knowledge sense, but even from a logistical viewpoint, because in truth, everything is knowledge.

As was the case for Design Public 5, the production crew and cast (the BIL lot) were all from the various entities at the Vihara Innovation Campus (i.e. Center for Knowledge Socities, Adianta School of Leadership and Innovation , Bihar Innovation Lab, Read Alliance). Similarly, as we did post Design Public 5 (which resulted in the production toolkit), we conducted a bit of an internal autopsy process post Health Public 1. With the entire cast and crew contributing their views and opinions at a sabha, this is what the autopsy report looked like (of course, with my added flair, flamboyance and all the elegance and eloquence that I would potentially exhibit wearing a goat costume complete with horns and hooves while dancing the lead part of Swan Lake).

Things that we possibly nailed and felt good about (and definitely patted ourselves on the back for )ideasbad

– The numbers in terms of participation were pretty good and the mix of people in terms of professions and experience w.r.t. the breakout sessions was good and healthy.

-The targeting of invitees(guests) yielded a good set of participants who were genuinely interested in the day’s proceedings as well as quite engaged in terms of audience involvement.

-The Panelists themselves were focused and diverse(in terms of background), and the conversations both in the main plenary sessions(except maybe 1) as well as the breakouts were quite directional and had a certain focus which was all very valuable in context of the road ahead.

-Divya’s keynote speech was brilliantly put together, masterfully executed, and fabulously received.

-The Content preparation and presentation was good. It yielded some great tech ideas , responses to these ideas as well as good feedback in general.

-Good moderation led to the display of some well articulated ideas.

-We earned ourselves some constructive written responses and all in all the conclave kickstarted the BIL reflection process.

-The set of people at Health Public were in general a happy lot (there were no uppers involved).

-The breakout presentation summaries and the final discussion were promising.

-The event production in terms of time management, sessions, and event flow was spot on and very much sticking to script and schedule.

-The space design and availability of co-laterals/printouts/installations was well done and executed before time.

-The Tweeting was a step up from Design Public.

-There were a couple of Plan B executions, namely the change of the Zumbaa location from outdoors to the upper ground floor, and the 180 degree location switch for Yoga, that were relatively flawless.

-Everybody at the event enjoyed the little rejuvenating Zumbaa session, as well as the warm-up Yoga.

-The party was well received and the music(live band) was apparently not too bad.

-All in all, not much went wrong, people stayed well stocked in terms of food and energy, and the day went off pretty well.


A whole lot of stuff that deserved to be flushed. (AKA – we did make a mess of)ugly2

-A relatively staggering 102 people RSVP’d YES and only 56 showed up. Out of which about 10 participants exited around lunchtime.

-The morning session had one very meandering and almost directionless panel.

-The participants were not split up neatly enough or evenly into the breakout sessions. While there may have been a bit of a healthy mix, there was no balance in terms of numbers in each session.

-This led to a certain amount of indecisiveness during the breakout solutions.

-The moderators needed a bit more preparation and rehearsal for the breakout sessions.

-The presentation format of the breakout sessions was unsatisfactory and the templates did not do justice to the solutions.

-The solutions came across as new ideas built on existing ideas (thus nullifying the whole concept of looking at at a problem through a different lens) and then seemed as if they were forced upon participants. This was also because some breakouts had more BIL participation as opposed to invitees

-Internally there was clarity on data, but there was no such assistance and availability for the participants. study-groups could have been initiated and then executed to bring people up to speed on the content and context of Health Public and BIL.

– Require more collaboration internally and externally on content and display panels for audience/all to understand and grasp.

-The breakout sessions could have possibly been before lunch to facilitate more interaction. Also, there was not enough ice-breaking and pre-conclave networking to increase comfort levels and hence facilitate more conversation starters.

-There was too much information that was being flung out at the participants, in too little time, with not enough balanced data dissemination in terms of detailed academic data and something that is easy to grasp. This could have also negatively affected the media uptake.

-The pitch presentations and their respective teams were not neatly put together in terms of team structure and presentation flow. The main pitch presentation failed.

-The content and conclave often came across as more of a show of desperation as opposed to a clear display of of what the plan is.

-Content needs to be better planned in terms of the goal/objective of the event. The work needs to speak for itself as opposed to just being pushed out there. The content and context was not really understood even by the experts.

-More designers were needed in terms of participation to balance out the potential solutioneering teams.

-Partnerships need a lot more attention in the future. And conversations regarding the same need to be initiated well before the event. For this, content needs to be in place in advance as well.

-If the event does not get the response that is desired, scrap the large scale and give it the attention and treatment of an elaborate Pecha Kucha

-Not enough leveraging on the BMGF brand to generate interest and visibility for the event.

-While the Twitter teams were superior to Design Public, there was still a lot of shortfall in terms of even being up to a passable standard. Twitter was not effective in terms of tagging and the correct spaces for conversation in twitter-verse.

-The blogs of the day, i.e. Live and Synthesized , were not cleaned up and posted immediately, and the status did not change till quite a while after the event.

-Twitter hashtags were being used, they were put up on display late, and not once were they officially announced for use in tweets during conclave.

-The LGF was very hot, and the fans often hampered the conversations that went on.

-The speaker to the left of stage was not correctly positioned.

-The Mic positioning and lighting often hampered photography.

-The outdoor location for lunch should have been seen to earlier instead of having to go to Plan B. The menu was highly imbalanced as there were practically no real options for the vegetarians.

-The Wi-Fi broadcast was highly unreliable, the printer and supporting computers malfunctioned as well.

-A person like Anant Shah tend to bring a lot more stability as a bit of a grounding force for the entire entity, event and objective/goal. Stress and insist on their involvement.

-The agenda format needed to be revised bearing expectations (commitments and fixing these beforehand) and hence achievements in mind.

-The first half of the conclave had an odd tension and lack of consistent energy to it, quite the opposite of Design Public (which is the current production+event benchmark).

-The entire choreography and event design needs to be planned with combined involvement from producers as well as entity head and authority figures.

-This design/choreography of the event and content needs to be done from the perspective of the audience and how they will perceive various forms of presentation.

Well, there you have it. Dos, Don’ts , here, there, everywhere, pros, cons, genuinely unavoidable negatives, places that we simply just made a mess of things. All in all a bit of a ‘Dear Diary – ‘ take on what went wrong/right and why.

To summarize, as an organisation and a production crew, though a lot of elements (people) changed from the DP5 team, we definitely grew and evolved, and learned a lot, but as all people will, we made our set of mistakes. This is our addition to the good old toolkit so as to tell the future ‘us’ or simply production teams(both content and line production) what they can avoid and what they can repeat (with amplified quality of course) to pull off another design conference, with ever improving standards of production + content.


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