EDA Xperience 2022 Leaders’ Summit and Conference

Submitted ByEconomic Developers Alberta (EDA)

For the first time in our history our annual conference was offered in person and online as a hybrid event. EDA Xperience 2022 Leaders’ Summit and Conference attracted record level sponsorship and was sold out; attracting 485 local, national and international experts in economic development and elected officials. Delegates discussed the state of the economy in our province; identified practical ways to move our economy forward; and supported each other. Delegates were provided with information about Alberta’s current and emerging sector opportunities; updates on economic development issues and trends; best practices; inspiring keynote addresses; and interactive in-person networking. This collaboration unlocks the potential, capacity, and knowledge of every delegate, thereby generating innovation and improving productivity.  In our hybrid event, delegates attended through a streaming video platform; a cutting edge virtual reality platform; as well as in person at the Pomeroy Mountain Lodge in Kananaskis Alberta.

The goal is to share information and ideas to support the essential work of economic developers to enhance the collaboration of economic development professionals in Alberta, and to create an environment for these professionals to forge new connections to provide mutual support on how to move their economies forward. We succeeded in bringing economic leaders together to network, share information and find innovative solutions in an innovative format.

The economic development  community had a large appetite for our conference after two years  of lock down and restrictions caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. Our delegates value collaboration as it validates the merits of an idea and helps to build upon it which can accelerate the process of creative thinking and bring a faster pace to the innovation process. We hosted delegates from across Alberta, Canada, the United States, Europe and South America.  Of the 485 delegates, 12 % attended online via both the streaming and virtual realty platforms. Of the attendees, 23.8 % were corporations, 48.1% economic development experts and 28.1 percent were elected officials. On our social media platforms we had a 352.7% increase in page views on our linked in profile during the conference and 4 thousand impressions per day on twitter.EDA demonstrated creativity and flexibility with our conference by offering EDA Xperience 2022 as a hybrid event in order to honour the delegates who were unable to travel or not comfortable gathering in person.

We created a Conference Web Portal which is a “one stop shop” of information for Conference delegates. It also provided the access to the online streaming and virtual reality component of the Conference. Now, all conference sessions are offered online for free to delegates to view so they have unlimited access to all information presented at the conference over time. This broad and accessible engagement raised the profile of our initiatives and led to the synergies with other economic development organizations and individuals.

We learned that a hybrid event, with recordings available afterward, is an excellent way to maximize participation. This type of event  can be easily adapted for other communities whose economic development community has an appetite for collaboration. We learned there is a large appetite for engagement, especially after facing the common challenge like gathering restrictions stemming from the COVD19 pandemic. We also learned economic development professionals and others see this profession as an essential service and want to take advantage of opportunities to celebrate the hard work they do. We learned that these professionals are also versatile and enthusiastically adapted to platforms we used.

EDA Xperience 2022 video on EDATV our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/ghnoADCEbvw

EDA Xperience 2022 Web Portal  including delegate access to Conference recordings: https://www.XperienceEDA.ca