« In recent weeks, our country has faced the spread of the Covid-19 virus, which has infected several thousand of our citizens […]. From Monday until further notice, nurseries, schools, colleges, high schools and universities will be closed […] These words of Emmanuel Macron on March 12, 2020 that everyone remembers, and supplemented 3 days later with the announcement of the first confinement, sounded the beginning of a long period of uncertainty for the world of culture and the event. All gatherings of people were banned for 3 months and were not described as “necessary” at the time. Unpacking, cultural and professional events remained, until very recently, prohibited face-to-face across the country.
The ecosystem of Grenoble is a region rich in knowledge and a very strong scientific culture that allows it to shine at the international level. Until 2020, several events for all audiences are organized each year by the territory’s communication and event professionals. And, of course, all this had to be postponed, canceled, postponed again, and finally canceled …
As part of my Master 2 research thesis for Communications Culture and Technology Scientists at Grenoble Alpes University under the direction of Marie-Christine Bordeaux, I was interested in how communications and events professionals from the Grenoble ecosystem adapt their events, whether they are for all audiences such as Parvis des Sciences or professionals such as Business Tourism Workshop, while meeting the restrictions of health restrictions.
In order to conduct this repertoire of good practices regarding the adaptation of communications and events, I interviewed 11 professionals from research organizations (CEA, GIANT, Inria, EMBL, MINATEC, ESRF), the company (Schneider Electric) and the local authority (Bureau des Congrès de Grenoble). These interviews taught me that, when I was surprised, event professionals had no choice but to digitize their events. For some, the organization was in full swing and they had no choice but to resort to cancellation. Digital was therefore the only means, while respecting health constraints, to continue responding to the communication challenges affecting innovation actors in Grenoble, specifically the dissemination of science to the general public and the promotion of scientific knowledge in the Grenoble region. .
For some, the health crisis has been a reason to question the communication strategy pursued thus far. This unprecedented situation also allowed them to break out of their professional comfort zone and dare to enter into new partnerships, new collaborations, or even new formats.
Hybridization of events, or the coupling of a face-to-face event with an online broadcast, appears to be the trend towards the end of the crisis. However, there are limits to the use of digital technology, which cannot replace face-to-face communication with regard to human relations and informal exchanges. It still makes it possible to meet the needs in terms of efficiency and profitability. Of course, this latest resort to digitization and hybridization is simultaneously giving rise to new challenges in terms of communications and events.
As I understand, this thesis is a kind of benchmark for the various communication actions that have been implemented over the past year within the innovation ecosystem of Grenoble. My aim through this research work has been to bring together and synthesize different ideas/innovations in the field of communication so as to serve as an inspiration to all involved.
Thanks to Léa Pelosi (GIANT), Julie Spinelli (Les Midis MINATEC), Gilles Simon & Débora Gallée (CEA Tech Showroom), Delphine Chenevier (ESRF), Janine Claro Cramer (Schneider Electric), Pauline Tardy-Galliard (Inria), Catherine Ogier Falzon & Nadège Canton (CEA Leti) and Amadou Rouillon (Grenoble Conference Office) for their contribution to this thesis.