Reinvent the Toilet Fair and Reinvented Toilet Expo
In 2014, our client gathered global researchers and innovators at the “Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India” to discuss how to bring safe sanitation to the 2.5 billion people who lack access. The event, held in New Delhi, was a collaborative effort of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India; Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Government of India Enterprise; well as our client to fund Indian researchers to develop innovative, safe and affordable sanitation technologies.
In 2018, the client then hosted the first "Reinvented Toilet Expo" in Beijing which featured product announcements and funding commitments aimed at accelerating the adoption of innovative, pro-poor sanitation technologies in developing regions around the world.
On-site management and coordination
CHALLENGES AND HIGHLIGHTS
The Event Dynamics team was excited to provide event management services to support the client’s initiative to find innovative technologies to solve some of the sanitation issues in developing countries. Our experience working in developing countries coupled with our strong local partnerships helped ensure the success of both events.
Creating a toilet display at a luxury hotel in India
A key component of the Reinvent the Toilet Expo in New Delhi was an outdoor exhibition featuring toilet technology, with large exhibits on the lawns of the Taj Palace Hotel (the venue was chosen for the suitability of the outdoor expo opportunities). This venue, a luxury 5-Star hotel in a leafy diplomatic enclave, provided indoor and outdoor facilities needed to execute the event plan. The expo presented a number of challenges during the planning process. The first was the realization by the hotel’s executive team during our third site visit that the expo of toilet technology would be visible from all guest bedrooms that overlooked the lawn. The hotel did not want guests who were not attending the event to see a sea of toilets from their windows. Our local partners together with our production team created an attractive pergola over the exhibit that shielded it from guest rooms.
Closer to the event, we became concerned about the fact that the expo area was on top of an underground parking garage. Heavy machinery had started arriving by ship and we wanted to ensure that it would not compromise the structural integrity of the parking garage. To address this, our team added structural supports to the parking area to ensure that the weight of the machinery above could be sustained.
On a side note, the senior executive of The Taj Hotel Group was so inspired by the event that he brought his executive team and engineers to the expo to see how they could bring innovative toilets into the hotel group.
Finally, other factors that we had to consider given the location were air pollution and the presence of mosquitos in the late afternoon and evening.
A quick decision in Beijing
Our goal when hosting events is always to find an unusual and inspiring venue. During a site visit in Beijing, we were about to sign a contract to host the Reinvented Toilet Expo at the Beijing Convention Center. However, just as we were leaving for the airport to return to Seattle, a local partner told us about a new venue, the Guardian Art Center, that had just opened and encouraged us to see it before we departed.
We were so impressed with what we saw that we immediately started contract negotiation. We recognized that the innovative design of the building would amplify all the innovative technologies that would be on display during the event. On reflection after the event, we realized that the location succeeded in raising the profile of the entire toilet industry as originally planned.
Given the profile of a number of the Chinese dignitaries in attendance as well as Bill Gates, security was a major issue for this event. The building itself provided security challenges as it was in the middle of a busy part of Beijing and did not have grounds that would have made it easy to bring VIPs into the building discreetly.
The Beijing event underscored the importance of good local partners. Not only did a local partner identify the perfect location, but her incredible local connections allowed us to contract with that venue very fast. Other partners were able to secure necessary permissions from the Beijing government.