10 September 2019

REDUCE COMPLEXITY & REDUCE COST – if you’re concerned your live event, exhibition or pavilion is going to cost too much or be a headache to develop, design and deliver, your concern may be valid without some considered thinking. Reducing the complexity of how your event is brought to fruition can go a long way to mitigating that potential headache and save you money. It’s extremely common for multiple layers, or circles, of complexity and cost to surround an event, and it’s not always necessary. Four minutes of video to explain…


Hi, I’m Will Glendinning. I’m a live event producer, designer, and director, and in this video I want to cover a complicated topic all about over complicating live events, exhibitions, and pavilions.

I see so much time, money, and effort wasted, and so many talented and creative individuals bogged down by unnecessary bureaucracy, that the issue needs addressing, and it can all be explained with circles.

This is your event, and these are the four key roles you need in place to lead any event, no matter its size or scale, from the biggest mega-event, to a smallest conference or arts performance. The person taking overall responsibility for leading and delivering the event, the person leading or directing all content requirements, a brand manager or creative director for a brand event, a competition or sporting director for sports event, or the artist for a concert, for example. The person leading on all production, technology, and infrastructure, and finally, the person leading on the operational side of things, travel, accommodation, catering, ticketing, hospitality, and similar. This is absolutely all you need to lead the development and delivery of any live event at all. I’ve got a separate video you can find, which demonstrates how this is the most efficient and effective structure possible, whether there’s just two people working on a project, or twenty thousand or more working on an event. If this is how your live event, exhibition, or pavilion is set up, with these four roles, and all others involved reporting in to, or working with them, it’s about as cost effective as it can be, and all will progress without issue or drama. If your event is large with multiple sub-events, you simply have this setup for each individual sub-event.

This isn’t how most events get set up, though. What often happens is a layer of management is put around this team. It could be an account team, a supervisory team, an organising committee, maybe, but a layer of management added for any number of reasons. There may be a good reason for this additional layer, perhaps an interface between the event team and others, or a layer of additional support to mitigate and perceived risks. My own view and experience is that if the event team is right and set up correctly, they will have sufficient contingency plans in place, and have relevant competency to do everything necessary.

So, if you have or want this additional layer, make absolutely sure it’s bringing you value in some way, shape, or form, because it will absolutely be costing you more money and time, and adding complexity to your event and those working on it. It doesn’t stop there, though. Some events have yet another layer of management added. Perhaps a governance board or senior management team or committee appointed to oversee the management team, who are overseeing the team actually developing and delivering the event, and in some instances, even more layers can be added.

All of these additional layers or circles are adding cost and complexity. More complex events often find themselves starting life at the outer circle, establishing a layer of governance, and then an organising committee or senior management team, before finally getting the expertise and experience needed to develop and deliver the event at the end of the process rather than the beginning, which is a bit like designing a menu, then designing the restaurant, and then finally finding the chef.

Doing it this way around is just the wrong way around, and it’ll make your life more complicated than it needs to be, and your event, exhibition, or pavilion, more expensive.

You have a choice. You can find the right expertise, those four key roles, at the outset of a live event’s development, and have your live even run efficiently and effectively, or you can add multiple circles of cost and complexity.

If you do add them, be absolutely sure you need or want them. They will only be adding value to you, or others around you, and not directly to the event, exhibition, or pavilion itself.

A big topic to try and cover in a few minutes, but my aim here is to try and demonstrate how to reduce the cost and complexity that bogs down so many live events, to make sure your own, and other people’s time and money is being spent where it actually adds value, rather than where it’s being wasted, and to make sure everyone working on a live event has the freedom and support to be as creative, productive, and supported as possible, which inherently, then, increases the value and impact of your event, exhibition, or pavilion.

The more circles of cost and complexity you have, the more all of this will be hindered.

As ever, questions welcome. Thanks for watching, and I’ll speak to you again soon.