How do you validate new event ideas?

While the technology world has embraced the idea of testing products by launching very simple versions of them and then iterating on them, this isn’t so easy for physical events. The cost of launching a digital product can be practically 0, while with events you still have venue hire, catering, production etc. to consider.

So can you validate event ideas before running them? If so, how? Or is it possible for even organisers to adopt the tech approach, and just launch free, bare-bones events (e.g. getting a free room upstairs in the pub with no catering, fancy production and A/V) and then building from there?

Would love to know your thoughts!

I’m a fan of the learn and iterate approach, which works in tech but can be applied here. By starting small, and focusing on the key reason people are at the event (which is pretty much always going to be the content or performance), you’ll give people value. Then with that core, you can grow and test bigger and slicker ideas. I do believe that attendees will forgive or ignore most sins as long as the content is great. So yes I’d absolutely be happy to go to an event in a bare bones venue with no catering, if it was to hear a great speaker or see an amazing band!

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@Marino I really agree with this. Look at how BrightonSEO started - just a pub gathering for a few people who were highly engaged in the content idea (having a chat about SEO), and now it’s a full scale conference with tens of thousands of attendees.

Another method validating a new event idea is surveying your target audience to gauge their interest. You can get quite specific on content and features and use their feedback to help shape an offering that’s really attractive.

yes I agree. I was approached by a charity organization, that needed ideas to run more events to raise more money, I was thinking of putting something together for the Cosplay crowd, and came up with a Cosplay Disco, to hit a specific target audience, as you mentioned, to help raise more funds for the charity, now that I have gotten to know the community a little better and getting to know what other Cosplay event’s are being held, I’m now thinking how sustainable is it? and how could I make a Disco better and different every year, to hold interest?

What I personally do to something new for the next event is, Filter out all the activities in which people enjoyed a lot! Create the mix & match of those activities and add some engaging fun element in it. Make sure every one present there can take part in those games despite of their age!