We could have put off the NAPHN conference to 2021 and be done with it. Instead, we chose to pivot to an online event. In March, when we announced the move, NAPHN Board President Bronwyn Barry stated: 

“It’s a drastically different world today, and we’re working to make our conference a vital source of community support and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, helping people find a more resilient pathway forward.”

What we didn’t realize when we set out 6-weeks ago, is what a mind-shifting change it would be. We started by thinking, “How do we move this in-person experience we know, online?” And now, the question has become: How can we prevent our preconceptions of what a conference should be, from blinding us to the new possibilities. How do we embrace this new form and its opportunities, to create all-new reference points of value and meaning? 

To bring you along on this journey, we want to share – first some goals, then some questions for thought, and finally, the plan. 

The Goals

First, the (radical) goals of this big move:

  • Stronger Community: Community is built on conversations, so we want to radically increase the amount of conversing.
  • More Expertise: Access to expertise is a great value, so we want to radically increase the accessibility of experts and the resources they can provide.
  • Less Rushing: Relationships take time, so rather than a one-and-done burst, we want to radically change the pacing of the event, so that there is time to process information, reconnect, and grow.
  • More Peer Engagement: Ultimately, we find our path in a tribe of peers, so to navigate more effectively going forward we want to radically increase the potential for peer engagement.
  • Actionable Sponsor Support: Sponsors seek exposure, market feedback, quality leads with follow-up meetings to move conversations forward.  We want to radically increase exposure, the ability to gather market feedback and to produce follow-up meetings with strong prospective customers.

The Questions

Okay, here are some questions for you.

  • Do you prefer a conference experience with a certainty of technical glitches, or an event experience with near-zero risk of technical interruptions?
  • Do you prefer to sit passively in the audience and hope to get the speaker’s attention at the end before running off to the next session? Or would you rather have the entire session available for conversation with the speakers?
  • Would you rather meet vendors that may not have time to focus on your specifics in the rush of breaks, or by skipping sessions, unsure if they’ll follow-up? Or instead, when you see a product solution you’re interested in, would you like to be prompted to make a one-on-one appointment at your convenience with the vendor?
  • Do you prefer to lose contact with a new peer connection made, or would you look forward to the possibility of reconnecting in another week or two?
  • Speakers: Do you enjoy speaking at audiences wondering how you might make things more interactive, or would you rather be in conversation with the audience about your priorities, clarifying and expanding on core ideas, throughout the session?
  • Speakers: Do you prefer to explain things by yourself, alone, or would you prefer having trusted expert colleagues join in the audience conversation?
  • Vendors: Do you like being stuck waiting for people to come looking for you and your products, or would you like to prompt attendees, where they are, to find out more about you and make an appointment to meet?  
  • Vendors: Do you prefer to ask market feedback questions of the people you happen to speak with or would you like to collect feedback from the entire audience?

The Plan

So, what’s the plan? Built from our ambitious goals and admittedly leading questions, the plan seemed radical at first to us but now feels like the logical expression of the pivot. In bullet points:

  • We partnered with an online event company, Matchbox Virtual Media, that specializes in meeting these goals and delivering an energizing interactive participant experience.
  • All content will be prerecorded well before the conference, lightly edited for continuity, and reformatted for a clean look.
  • During the session broadcasts, speakers, and chosen colleagues, with the help of conference organizers will participate in audience conversation from the session’s beginning to end.
  • Sponsors will have interactive tools that will provide powerful exposure, calls to action, and new business connections.
  • The conference will start on Wednesday, June 24, running 5 sessions, 1-4 pm EST.
  • Then every Wednesday, another 5 sessions will run, 1-4 pm EST, for five more weeks, ending Wednesday, July, 29.
  • A schedule snapshot (in progress) is linked below.

In conclusion, we are excited – not unlike the feeling we had when we first discovered Passive House and began to unlock its potential for ourselves – to work with experienced pros, to produce this new experience. We look forward to sharing many more updates and moving forward together with you. 

Be sure to register!

Preview the draft schedule snapshot.