Ben Parkinson has been helping companies deliver their corporate messages through innovative experiences for over 20 years. As a co-founder of Blue Hat Teambuilding, his company has provided more than one million people in 50 countries with some manner of teambuilding experience.
In 2019, Parkinson and his Blue Hat team partnered with Confex North, with the idea of combining a teambuilding activity with networking, which would in turn raise money for charity B1G1. So successful was the event that the partnership will resume at International Confex, which takes place in February 2020.
Conference News spoke to Parkinson to learn more about how the concept of teambuilding that gives back came about. “It all started almost 10 years ago,” says Parkinson. “While analysing our clients wants and needs, we were aware of a continuing increase on companies wishing to run fun and engaging activities for their teams that had a give-back theme. With our total focus on innovating within the team building space, we introduced a methodology that enabled any event to become a give-back event.
“Why did we do this? The traditional Ground Force or gift box packing style events are often not a practical solution for many groups. Plus, having many unique teambuilding events already in our portfolio that are engaging, highly interactive and flexible, it seemed a shame for clients not to utilise them when a give-back theme was requested.”
Parkinson adds that the answer came with a unique ‘give-back portal’ that enabled him to swap ‘points for IMPACTS’. He says: “We introduced this to the UK teambuilding industry. An IMPACT is a positive deed for someone in need, somewhere around the world. There are hundreds to choose from. The focus is on how the IMPACT enables the individual to benefit, rather than the monetary value of the impact itself. Since its introduction, our clients have generated over 1.4m IMPACTS – a significant achievement.”
So how did this end up with a partnership with Confex? Parkinson adds: “Having supported the team at Confex over the years with the Eventice and various other interactive team building displays and events, Mash Media, the owners of the show, approached us to help them with a speed networking concept to add value to both event buyers and event suppliers.
“We looked to create a setting that would immerse both buyers and suppliers into the activity and get as much out of it as they could. Part of this engagement included a scoring system that awarded IMPACT tokens for positive interactions.
“The tokens were collected in at the end of each session and totalled up. Over the two days, participants provided safe drinking water to families in Cambodia for 24,800 days, sent a child living in slum conditions in India to school for 238 days and provided 18,520 days’ worth of support to farmers in a Kenyan village by sponsoring an irrigation system.”