Skip to main content
Innovation Zero 2023
The challenges of a new event
19 July 2023

This year saw Innovation Zero, the clean tech congress chaired by the Rt Hon. Dr Liam Fox MP, become the first new show to launch in our Olmpia Grand hall in a few years.

The events industry has faced several challenges since the pandemic and this internation and high-profile event posed a range of hurdles to plan for to ensure a great launch.

The show was a great success and will return next spring for its second year, on April 30 and May 1.

We caught up with our Event Manager Beth Kelly, who led on the event from venue’s side, to learn more about the challenges such a brand-new event can bring and how her experience as an event organiser for eighteen years prior to joining Olympia London helped the show to launch.

The importance of a venue when choosing a new event’s location:

"For an event this size, the venue is incredibly important to event organisers launching a new show. Innovation Zero chose Olympia London for this event due to its history and our Grand Plan.

I was an event organiser for eighteen years and I have noticed a lot of change regarding sustainability since I started in the industry. Everybody has had to change and adapt the way that they work and it has made a huge difference to the way things are run. A historic venue like ours with an emphasis on sustainability made us the perfect choice for this client.

It was a conference-heavy show, with a lot of theatres, which traditionally would bring with it a lot of printed signage and additional waste. With the event all about sustainability, and the organisers got creative with the temporary theatres and minimised waste with additional digital LED screens."

The challenges of a new event and the benefits of experience:

"When you are launching an event, you want to make everything as easy as possible. You want to go to a venue you know you can trust. From my point of view it is nice to be able to help the event organisers from the other side now because I know how they feel. I understand where they might be coming from in the process and my role is to do everything I can to take that stress away of a launch.

The first show I did at Olympia was ten years ago so I know a lot of the team prior to joining and I know a lot of the contractors that we work with here too.

Maxine Smith, Operations Manager at Showsmith Operations, I have known for years. These connections really help you work together."

Beth Kelly and Maxine Smith
Beth Kelly and Maxine Smith

Working together to find the right solutions for security:

"The event was endorsed by the Prime Minister and there were a number of high-profile speakers in the content programme, including the Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, which meant additional security considerations.

We operated stop-and-searches during event's build, which is not something that we would ordinarily do. We also increased security during the show days, including extra explosive detection dogs. We worked closely with the organiser to put these measures in place because collaborative planning is so important for events like this.

The Innovation Zero team were very happy with how the show went. They were delighted with the venue and we were thrilled to be able to help them. We can’t wait for next year’s event already."

Olympia London also supported Innovation Zero's launch in a number of additional ways across different facets designed to focus on the longer term development of the show. The teams worked together on a three-year plan of growth and also provided marketing and PR support to promote the inaugural event.

Everybody at the venue is excited for the future of the show and look forward to working with the Innovation Zero team again next spring.