How HP Created a Sustainable Special Event
Sustainability is top-of-mind for tech giant HP. The company’s sustainable impact strategy mission is to create lasting, positive change for the planet, our people and communities. HP has publicly committed to integrating sustainable practices into its events by reducing unnecessary materials, renting and reusing assets, recycling, composting and donating event discards.
HP engagedKindle Communications to produce the evening networking event for HP’s top 1,500 sales executives and retail, channel and alliance partners at its annual global world partner forum, HP Reinvent 2019.
HP positions its technology as a tool for connecting people and improving lives through constant invention — and reinvention. As such, Kindle looked for ways to combine the technology experience and reinvention theme with emotional connections to produce an engaging, memorable event that would also fulfill HP’s sustainability goals.
Setting the Tone
HP Reinvent 2019 was held in Houston, and the company wanted the evening celebration to reflect its location.
“[The event] had to feel different, authentic, fun and engaging,” says Chris Harrell, Kindle Communications’ associate partner and executive producer of the HP Reinvent evening celebration. “We wanted to create a layered effect where the space would be reinvented throughout the evening.”
Incorporating technology was also important. “We needed a way for people to interact with HP technology in a ‘surprise and delight’ fashion as opposed to the traditional exhibit floor, [and] to have playful interaction with that technology in unexpected ways,” Harrell explains.
Matt Williams, Kindle Communications’ chief creative officer, who served as the creative director for the event, adds that HP’s principles had to be apparent in every interaction attendees had throughout the experience.
The Kindle team chose Discovery Green, a 12-acre urban park located in downtown Houston, as the transformative location. When attendees entered the park, they saw what the Kindle team refers to as a “living logo” — all plant-based. This set the tone for the event: Sustainability that is also Instagram or SnapChat worthy.
Attendees made their way to the main event area along the Sustainability Walk, a tree-lined path featuring HP devices that displayed sustainability-related facts about both HP and the event itself.
Local, Sustainable — and Fun
The event featured a number of local bands, which not only provided great music but was a move more environmentally friendly than bringing musicians in from outside the area.
Food and beverages were all locally sourced. All food was served using recyclable materials. And Kindle came up with a creative incentive to get attendees into the spirit of sustainability: what they refer to as a “recycled voting program.”
“We wanted to add an experiential piece to each and every touchpoint across the attendee journey,” Williams says. “We looked for a way to promote attendee behaviors that would reinforce this idea of making a greater impact by being eco-friendly, rather than a traditional party where you end up with a lot of food waste.”
When attendees recycled their food, containers and utensils, they could vote on specific songs to hear “reinvented” by these bands. At the end of each band’s set, all the artists would take the stage and perform one audience-selected song together.
Lighting Up the Night
Williams says that one of the easiest ways to create a big impact is through lighting. It helps set the mood while also being a key part of the sustainability focus. For the event, Kindle ordered from the first LEED-certified lighting agency in the world, Lightswitch.
Kindle also used HP technology to add some fun and unexpected elements. An HP device displayed a color wheel that attendees could spin to change the color of all the lighting orbs placed across the park’s lake, effectively reinventing the environment.
“[Sustainability] is such a focus for HP that it became a focus of ours,” Williams says. “It really pushed us to deliver some inventive solutions for what could just be a typical evening event.”
Attendees stayed much later than they might at a typical evening celebration, many not leaving the park until the event officially closed.
“It’s one thing to get attendees to come to an evening event,” says Harrell. “It’s another to be able to keep them there.”
He adds, “The feedback from our HP clients was this was one of the most well attended — and longest attended — events that they've ever had. To us, that in itself is one of the largest factors in success.”
Here’s a brief summary of how Kindle kept the event sustainable:
- Using local vendors, chefs, musicians and labor teams reduced the event’s overall carbon footprint
- Materials used for catering were all recyclable
- Technology was incorporated in environmentally-friendly ways, including:
- Recycled voting program: Each time attendees discarded used recyclables into eco-friendly interactive bins, they could vote for the song they wanted to hear reinvented by the performing bands. The bins also displayed real-time song voting results.
- “Rooted in Sustainability” allowed attendees to explore the foliage-dense area illuminated by the Reinvent sculpture. HP convertible laptops served both as additional lighting and as interactive signage displaying HP’s innovative environmental concepts, commitments and accomplishments.
- Lighting displays were comprised of LEED-certified LED fixtures to reduce power consumption significantly
- Lake-bound light orbs were of zoological marine grade, which do not transport any waterborne pollutants or parasites
- Signage was printed on 100% recyclable meterboards