To mark 10 years of Braindate, we hosted an intimate community-centered hybrid event. Here are our top takeaways on what made the experience a success.
The event, at a glance
Our founders Christine Renaud and Alexandre Spaeth invented Braindate in 2011. The idea behind the product was simple yet revolutionary: to reclaim knowledge-sharing conversation as the most powerful tool for learning.
What followed was nothing short of incredible. People booked hundreds of braindates at cafes all over Montreal, making time in their busy schedules to meet up with total strangers, just so they could support each other in their learning journeys.
Since 2011, our product has evolved. We now focus on partnering with events, communities, and organizations to empower their people to learn better and form deeper relationships via intentional conversations.
But what hasn’t changed is this: throughout its evolution, Braindate has always shone a light on the human desire to learn from and with our peers. It continues to wow us by showing us how often a simple conversation can sometimes be the start of something great.
In 2021, we are celebrating 10 years of Braindate, an awesome decade of facilitating transformative peer learning conversations. To mark this milestone, we hosted 10 Years of Braindate, a hybrid event to celebrate all the people who have accompanied us on this journey to transform learning around the world.
A one-of-a-kind hybrid gathering centered on reconnecting, learning, and joyful conversations.
We brought together our beloved clients, partners, and users for a Braindate-style celebration: a full day of energizing conversations and connection, where we could take a moment to reflect and share the biggest learnings from the past decade. We put our guests in the driver’s seat, giving them the ability to start their conversations, be it virtually or onsite, on topics they were most excited to talk about.
Our people are spread out all over the world. We used the Braindate hybrid platform to bridge the gap and come together virtually and in-person at cafes in Montreal and Paris for one memorable celebration.
What the hybrid attendee experience looked like:
When attendees logged into the Braindate Hybrid platform, they could indicate whether they were available to meet onsite in Montreal or Paris or participate virtually. This information was visible on their profiles and the participant list, making it easy for all attendees to know where others were tuning in from.
Once on the platform, attendees could see all the discussions they could join and get inspired to start their own. Further, they could filter to see what braindates were happening virtually or onsite in Paris and Montreal.
Through our event management dashboard, Braindate Organizer Space, organizers can easily personalize the schedule of onsite, virtual, and hybrid braindates to meet their needs.
Taking advantage of this functionality, we set the schedule so that onsite attendees could not schedule their virtual and group braindates at the same time. This encouraged onsite participants to meet in person. Meanwhile, virtual-only attendees could schedule 1:1 and group braindates anytime during the event hours.
How we enabled three different kinds of connection experiences at our hybrid event:
1. Live one-on-one and group meetings
For the onsite experience, we transformed Cafe Pista in Montreal and Cafe Rollin in Paris into Braindate Lounges, providing the full hospitality experience Braindate is known for. Attendees who had marked their location as “onsite” could connect with others in-person one-on-one and group braindates.
When attendees arrived on site, they were greeted by our learning concierges, who checked them in for their braindate, introduced them to the people they were meeting, and helped them find other conversations to join.
2. Hybrid one-on-one and group meetings
To make sure there were no missed opportunities to connect, we ensured that our virtual and onsite guests could connect virtually on the Braindate platform. We created private spaces onsite in the cafes, where our attendees could use their laptops to go on virtual one-on-one and group braindates with those who were tuning in virtually.
Additionally, all attendees had real-time access to our online learning concierges, who proactively reached out to them to provide technical support (if needed) and help them find the right people to connect with.
3. Virtual large group meetings
In 2021, we invented a brand new virtual large group (up to 20 people) meeting format, called fishbowl braindate. These are unique collaborative learning discussions where every user can participate in a way that suits them best—by actively participating as an on-screen speaker, jumping into the hot seat for two minutes, or watching off-screen and participating via chat.
Inspired by how our clients have used this feature, we used fishbowls to host highly interactive and informative group discussions where we could share upcoming product developments and our roadmap.
Ingredients for a successful hybrid experience
At the 10 Years of Braindate event, we created an intimate community-centered experience. Here are our top takeaways on what made the experience a success: