Energy Systems Catapult – Official launch

Understanding their needs

Thwaites has been working with the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC), since April 2015. The ESC is one of eleven Catapults, set up by Innovate UK as part of the Government’s long term business growth strategy.

As part of our ongoing work, we were tasked with developing and delivering the ESC’s major launch to engage key audiences – the industry, academia and government. The objectives of the launch were to describe the challenge that the ESC has been established to tackle; to present a whole energy system approach to tackling this challenge; to celebrate the past and to mark the present and to set out the ESC’s vision for the future.

We had just over eight weeks to deliver the launch event, meaning that we had to work professionally, speedily and coherently as this was the ESC’s first opportunity to showcase itself to the industry, to government and to partners and stakeholders.

Unravelling their complexity

For the launch to be a success we were tasked with managing the whole event from planning at the start to gaining post-event feedback.

Working seamlessly with the small in-house communications team, we quickly established a task and finish group with key senior members of the ESC, which met weekly. Our thinking was to keep the team engaged and to enable them to have ownership of their launch event.

Our team was tasked with planning, arranging and managing the launch event from start to finish, which included liaison with the venue in London, providing support for invitations, working with partners to develop an exhibition area at the event including the design and production of bespoke exhibition stands, coordinating the 300 delegates on the day, developing the collateral for dressing and branding the venue in conjunction with a graphic designer, organising the design and print of supporting literature for the event, sourcing and securing key speakers, organising filming for the event, social media strategy in the run up and on the day, recording the sessions for circulation across the industry and media engagement before, during and after the launch.

I, and my colleagues, really do see the team at Thwaites as an integral part of the Energy Systems Catapult… and, even though we were working to a tight timeline, I had no doubt that the event would be a success. The team are able to think and operate strategically, but are also not afraid to get their hands dirty, which is a real bonus to us as a new organisation.

Paul Jordan, Head of Strategy Development and Business Planning, Energy Systems Catapult

Captivating their audience

We worked with the ESC to develop the agenda for the day, with a focus on maintaining the attention of delegates, and ensured we delivered against the objectives of the event. For example, one session focused on the five-year delivery plan (the vision), a further session assessed how the ESC was planning to tackle the challenge facing the industry and another highlighted the ESC’s work on a major industry wide project (the past and present). As part of the overall communications activity for the launch event, Thwaites also planned and delivered a comprehensive media plan to connect with the media and the industry. Our role including providing event management support on the day itself and ensuring that the event ran smoothly and to time.

Delegate feedback was gathered in the form of vox-pops on the day, which were used after the launch in social media and on the ESC website. The 300 delegates were also sent an electronic feedback form following the event. The feedback has been very positive.