TEDxBrisbane — an independently organized TEDx event — is Brisbane’s premier ideas festival. The one-day event encompasses a suite of talks, demonstrations and performances. The goal? Fostering learning, inspiration and wonder among an attending tribe of “doers,” who will then further leverage the content generated to drive change both locally and globally.
TEDxBrisbane does not take their tagline “Engineering Impact” lightly. The annual ideas festival, an independently organized and licensed TEDx event, showcases thought-provoking talks, demonstrations and performances in order to drive change both locally and globally. “The goal is to cover a wide range of subjects that foster learning, inspiration and wonder” says the event’s Executive Director and Licensee Juanita Wheeler. “We want to provoke conversations that matter.”
Key to that mission is forming a deep connection between event attendees — a select group of individuals who are chosen for their ability to put the ideas gathered at TEDxBrisbane into action long after the festival is over. “We want ideas shared, connections made, and plans forged among audience members, speakers and the team that lead to an exciting change in the community,” Wheeler explains. “Our community is made up of people crazy enough to believe we can change the world, and we’re not kidding around.”
When Wheeler took over as director in 2016, one of her first agenda items was to move the event schedule from its printed format to a digital experience. “The reasons were multifaceted,” Wheeler says. “There was the environmental perspective, but we also thought that an organization founded around technology and design should be digitally savvy. It would also be great if doing so could save us money, although we figured a digital schedule would cost us more.”
Finally, Wheeler’s team was looking for a solution that would not only help deliver a world-class TEDx event, but also contribute to the building of a “tribe of thinkers, doers and changemakers.”
Thus began their hunt for a mobile event app that fit the bill.
After researching a number of event app platforms — and even considering a custom-built solution — TEDxBrisbane decided to go with Attendify for their inaugural event app. “We’ve never regretted the decision,” Wheeler says.
At first, the event organizers were just happy the app fulfilled their initial requirements: They were able to kick their printed schedule to the curb for a digital agenda, the platform allowed them to gate access to event details so only attendees could participate, they could customize the interface with their brand’s look and feel, and it was easy to promote speaker bios and partners.
What’s more, the purchase price of the app was less than they were previously spending on a printed program. “As a community event that does not make a profit and works to make ticket prices as accessible as possible, we were thrilled at the price point,” Wheeler says.
But it wasn’t until the TEDxBrisbane team dug a little deeper into the Attendify app’s full functionality that they realized how it could amplify their work forging connections between members of their event community. “We were able to extract even greater value out of the platform once we embraced it as a community building tool,” Wheeler reports. Leveraging features like push notifications, the private social network and private messaging, her team began to take their attendee experience to an entirely new level.
Successful event ROI can be calculated in many ways. For the TEDxBrisbane team, Attendify’s app (and registration platform, which they later began using) became a critical influencer of attendee communication and culture. “The Attendify app — as an essential tool for building our community and keeping it connected — constitutes a very intentional part of our engineering impact strategy,” Wheeler explains.
The Next Steps
What’s next for TEDxBrisbane? What’s not? As the event enters its fourth year with Attendify, the event team is excited to explore using the app’s Real-time Polling function as a way to vote for the People’s Choice winner in their long-running One Minute Pitch Contest. The new Group Messaging feature could be set up by event organizers to promote collaboration between different event “tribes” (i.e., those interested in specific topics like education, technology or humanity).
As for Attendify, watching TEDxBrisbane curate a truly unique event experience has been an honor. We look forward to partnering with them as they continue to spread ideas, build their community and change the world.