Time to innovate, the digital transition; Interview with Merijn from Solarplaza

When the measurements surrounding COVID-19 went into effect, the Solarplaza team didn´t know what to do. The company, which organizes global events in the sustainable sector, had one of the biggest events of the year planned in early April.

SAM NA receives many professionals in the sustainable sector from all around the world on a yearly basis. Solarplaza wanted to create value for their attendees from the event and quickly looked for an alternative, so they reached out to EventInsight. Within several weeks, Let’s Get Digital was created, which meant that the event could partly continue. Merijn talks about his experience with the online platform and what he learned from his first ever online event.

COVID-19 forces us to innovate

The transition to virtual events came out of nowhere. However, Merijn has been convinced of virtual events for years and is therefore enthusiastic about the new developments in the market. Merijn tells; “COVID-19 forces us to innovate. We had to switch very quickly! Everything had to be researched, expanded and developed within a month. The digital events world has accelerated. The possibilities are endless. At first it was very uncertain and new, but we notice that everyone is slowly getting used to all the changes. ” You feel his passion bursting through the phone when he talks about how much energy he gets from the new developments within digital events. “We are forced to be innovative. It is only during this time that we are seeing how quickly new business initiatives can come about, including the collaboration with Let’s Get Digital. SAM NA is an important event for us that takes place in Oakland. Unfortunately, the event could not continue and we started looking for other possibilities. “We wanted to offer people an alternative”, says Merijn. “The event will take place when it’s possible, but for now we wanted to show we are really still working for our customers, so we looked for alternative options.”

Standing together you are stronger

You are the first company who is using the Let’s Get Digital platform, that’s a pretty bold move. “For sure, but the collaboration between us is very strong. It is a company that is open to making the next step possible, thinks along with you and is open to change. That is something very unique and certainly an added value for us. Every developer can build a platform, but not every developer can be your partner. We find this very important for our long-term vision. When we run 10 times faster, they run 10 times as hard. Standing together you are stronger.

What was the impression of the participants? “The overall response was very positive. The majority felt that there was actually added value, which is the basis of our event. The other group did not get through the login process or could not find everything.”

‘Every developer can build a platform, but not every developer can be your partner’

Ultimate user experience 

“Last time we organized an event in three days, so there is still room for improvement. We have learned a lot from the feedback we have received. We will therefore optimize the program and there will be a clear manual with all the functions.  We really want to take the attendees with us in the event and activate them for the ultimate user experience.

Well, the big question is of course, are you going to continue organizing online events? “Certainly! We will definitely continue to organize online events. We want to take the next step: how can we add even more value to the event? We are optimizing the online program and giving the visitor the best experience. Even today, we want to continue to support the market to make a positive contribution to accelerating the sustainable energy transition.

Online events in the future

Much has been said about hybrid events in the future. “We believe in the future of digital events and we will certainly continue to integrate them into our strategy. The possibility to host an event anywhere in the world is very nice. The combination of partly physical and partly online appeals to most companies. This creates new opportunities for events in a niche market that would otherwise not be exploited.

It makes us all more flexible than you could ever dream. Even in times where coming together seemed impossible, social distancing resulted in virtual connections and a new opportunity to continue to add value to our market in a unique way.

Want to know more about the Solar Plaze platform and solutions? Check out their website.