Try Tribalization, the Event-Planning Trend Lifted from the Web

Tribalization, the latest event-planning trend

The world waded into a lot of new cultural territory in 2016—particularly the emergence of social media echo chambers. Within these bubbles, subscribers to this or that blog, Instagram feed or website frequently traded, amplified and encouraged ideas. Now, meeting and event planners are seeing the silver lining to these tribalized communities: engaged audience members who can push one another to the next level. 

The key to tribalizing a meeting is diffusing control. Just as in an online forum, traditional hierarchies are hammered flat, giving everyone good footing to dish their opinions and ricochet thoughtful feedback—certainly not your garden-variety boardroom meeting, where agendas are dictated from the end of the table.

Here are three ways to incorporate positive tribe mentality into your event.  

Space Shifting 

No matter where the meeting falls on the continuum between “strictly business” and “excuse to party,” tribalizing your event can often mean changing up your environment. Apps like Splacer and Peerspace can set your brainstorming meeting session in a prop house, for example, to really get the team’s gears going. For some design-oriented firms, the philosophy has carried over into the workplace—Spain’s Izaskun Chinchilla hacked Ikea furniture into different uses (think bunk beds jiggered into desk setups) to inspire out-of-the-box collaboration. 

Objet d’Art

Stolen from grade school long ago, one approach to encouraging ideas and participation is to distill power into an inanimate object. Microsoft, for example, passes around Ralph, a rubber chicken. In addition to adding a bit of fun, the floppy universal gag disarms some of the tension of speaking your mind. 

The key to tribalizing a meeting is diffusing control. Just as in an online forum, traditional hierarchies are hammered flat, giving everyone good footing to dish their opinions and ricochet thoughtful feedback.

Keeping It Real 

Lots of folks (OK, most of us) assume a more confident stance when they post online, so some planners are taking the trend more literally by bringing real-time digital messaging into their events. The responses can be processed live or after the event.

Regardless of how tribalization manifests at your next event, emphasizing the attendees and their points of connection might just bring about the new enthusiasm and more spirited input you’re looking for. And chances are, with such an inspired scene, you’ll get some extra Insta-mileage to boot.