An attendee at Truro City of Lights said, “Well it’s not rocket science organising a one night event like this”. And this is true to an extent. Each of the tasks involved are not in themselves rocket science at all. One does not require any kind of qualification to undertake each individual task. The point at which it requires expertise, experience and sheer guts is when it all has to come together. The difficulty is in the multitude of tasks and the increasing degree of complexity when you include 25,000 people in the equation.
The risks involved are immense and if I think about it too much I get scared. Really. I am calm under pressure, work very well with other people, communicate well etc etc but City of Lights tests me every year and I learn new things every time. I really value the feedback from attendees and from all our stakeholders across our portfolio because it means I and the company can get better, improving the experience for attendees, clients and suppliers alike.
The thing about complex projects is that they are inherently risky in terms of content, relationships, coordination, physical risk and strategic challenges which I thrive on but it also means that the potential for failure is higher. It means we will please fewer people but we will create an experience that has greater meaning or value for them because of the creative risk. I like the idea of being a disruptor of the norm, someone who makes ideas happen by involving people throughout the process and delivery but, as Richard Reed says, we have to start small and grow it. This means that we take the idea, make it happen, manage the risk, push ourselves, grow it, challenge the norms, get feedback, learn from it and do it all again but better this time. To do this repeatedly does require a bit of rocket science, a bit of magic, a bit of knowledge and some careful creative thought and risk; all of which goes to create an experience that is highly valued where the input and complexity is recognised and where the intricate network of stakeholder relationships is the key to making it all work.
So for those who think it is easy, I am glad that you haven’t seen the flaws and the panic and the risk. Please do keep giving us your feedback so we can keep on making every project better and make more people happy more frequently. But also spare a thought for those of us who are managing all of these variables and all of the risk to make those ideas a reality. Think of those “rocket scientists” who are experimenting with challenging ideas and projects with the aim of satisfying your needs and wants, to make you smile.
Claire Eason-Bassett, Managing Director Mackerel Sky Events and Event Cornwall