Transforming a conference into a virtual gathering

We partnered with creative research lab IAM to adapt its annual flagship conference into a virtual gathering as the global pandemic response closed borders and brought daily life to a standstill.

In February 2020 the world as we knew it came to a halt. It became increasingly obvious that the COVID-19 virus will spread from China to Europe and that it will make in-person gatherings impossible for an unknown amount of time.

The planning of IAM Weekend, the annual gathering for a global community of digital creatives in Barcelona, was in its final stages at this point. Hundreds of tickets have been sold, travel and accommodation booked, speakers from around the world confirmed. As a non-profit event the future of the conference depended on its ticket sales - cancelling was not an option.

As a result, IAM Weekend 2020 became one of the first conferences that was held entirely online during the pandemic.

By assembling an international team of volunteers and former IAM Weekend participants, a core team of 10 built a digital platform from scratch and created a multi-channel strategy that brought the diverse formats of the conference entirely online.

Using a variety of digital spaces, ranging from Mighty Networks as the main community hub to private Zoom rooms, Miro boards, Discord servers and Whatsapp groups, more than 400 people from 52 countries participated in the main conference, workshop sessions, distributed breakfasts and evening activities such as Zoom Karaoke.

The entire program was co-created together with IAM’s global community, allowing anyone to host their own sessions and contribute their ideas.

IAM Weekend 2020 gave its community a sense of connection, solidarity and hope in an unforeseen time of crisis. It set the bar for many other virtual conferences to follow that year and has contributed to the birth of The Billion Seconds Institute – a remote, subscription-based collective learning network for addressing the environmental emergency.


The Billion Seconds Institute


Zossener Str. 41
10961 Berlin
Management Board: Severin Matusek
Court of Registration: Amtsgericht Charlottenburg HRB 195395 B

VAT ID: DE317741247

Last updated: May 14, 2024 ■ 17:35pm