This month, ASAE hosted a successful pilot for their newest event, Xperience Design Project (XDP) on Dec. 16. The exclusive, one-day sneak peek of XDP was held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland. More than 80 association meeting, marketing, programming, and technology professionals, including industry partners, were brought together to test and fine tune the new format. The inaugural event, May 23-24, is expected to attract upwards of 1,800 attendees.

“XDP is an innovative, business-focused experience that will be a unique opportunity for the association industry and our members,” said John H. Graham, IV, FASAE, CAE, president and CEO of ASAE. “The pilot gave us the ability to see how the different aspects of XDP played out, so we can provide attendees with an exceptional experience in May.”

The format of the pilot was a summarized version of the two-day XDP experience. Attendees were able to participate in The Lab—an immersive, facilitated learning journey around core industry topics, each led by a prominent industry leader.

-Experience Design and Event Innovation: James H Gilmore, co-founder of Strategic Horizons LLP and adjunct faculty at UVA Darden Business School

-Content Strategy and Learning Design: Jonathan Finkelstein, CEO of Credly

-Marketing and Technology: Reggie Aggarwal, CEO and founder of Cvent

-Location and Logistics: Michael Dominguez, chief sales officer of MGM Resorts International (will be added in May).

Afterwards, pilot participants took part in the Business Exchange, a series of one-on-one conversations with industry partners. Participants could engage in one of three fast-paced accelerator labs that were focused on embracing change and experience enhancements they could implement at future events. It was followed by two unique “Surprise and Delight” team-created activities.

“With XDP, ASAE has built a creative environment that fosters collaboration and business between association professionals and the industry partners with whom they work,” said Lisa Kay Solomon, author, strategist and host of XDP. “The best part is that it’s a true ‘learning by doing’ approach, where participants get exposed to new concepts and ideas through conversations and then build on them through immersive experiences. Guests will discuss proven best practices and co-create new solutions they can take back to their offices and implement immediately.”

ASAE partnered with 360 Live Media, a marketing and experience design agency based in Washington, D.C., to create the XDP pilot and upcoming event in May. For more than a year, ASAE and 360 Live Media have been conducting research, developing the experience design strategy and building partnerships within the association meetings industry in order to successfully launch XDP in 2017.

“ASAE is changing the game with XDP because it’s the only experience that integrates the principles of design thinking in order to help association professionals deliver more impactful events that will [provide] even more value to their members,” said Don Neal, founder and CEO of 360 Live Media. “We are proud to partner with ASAE in creating an unprecedented format that challenges guests to transform their traditional association meetings, trade shows and conferences into experiences that will inspire their audiences and improve their organization’s bottom line.”