Imagine this. You’re headed to one of the most buzz-worthy utility industry events of the year. Instead of making your way to Denver, you turn on your computer from your kitchen table and log into the virtual E Source Forum. You head over the “exhibit hall” to chat with sponsors and then to the “networking lounge” to check in with your fellow Forum-goers. Instead of the Downtown scooter tour, you join a networking Zoom call. You set up your virtual profile, complete with a picture and contact info, in lieu of a nametag. You probably don’t have to stretch your imagination that far — virtual meetings and events have become the norm this year, and E Source has definitely raised the bar when it comes to virtual conference execution.
Over the course of two days, E Source hosted 27 sessions, two happy hours, one a Capella concert, and one mixology class. Themes for the event included Decarbonization, Post Pandemic Recovery, Utility of the Future, and Vulnerable Customers. Speakers from across (and outside) the energy industry joined from their respective homes to share advice, experiences, and research. Uplight Senior Product Marketing Manager, Don McPhail presented Uplight’s strategies for reaching Small-to-Medium Business customers during the Product Showcase in the engaging Pecha Kucha-style format.
One of the most noteworthy sessions was the final keynote given by Nick Allen, VP of Customer Experience at Fidelity Investments: Creating the Perfect Experience for Your Customers: Is It Possible? Adam Farabaugh, Energy Market Analyst at Uplight, noted that this session was one of the most engaging and touching webinars he has attended over the past few months. He said:
“The keynote session on design thinking highlighted a perspective that we often overlook, but one that we should be putting at the center of our approach to problems. One where you really connect with the humans that will be using the product and really see what those people actually need–turning constraints into opportunity. Hearing the deeply touching stories of creating an incubator to save babies’ lives in India from creating a classroom in Haiti with tablets for kids to learn that just didn’t seem in any way possible all showed just how challenging problems can be, but that taking the right approach can yield astronomically positive results.”
While I will be eagerly awaiting the day when we can convene in Denver and take another scooter tour, it was exciting to see a virtual conference provide such excellent content and positive networking opportunities.