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Top Five Takeaways from WXO Summit

Top Five Takeaways from WXO Summit

Where attendees lead the experiential revolution.
An air of anticipation filled the room as the lights dimmed in the nightclub-turned-conference venue.

The 2024 World Experience Organization (WXO) Summit was about to begin, and the organizers promised an immersive experience like no other. The audience fell silent as the first notes of the violin filled the space. What followed was a soundscape of music, storytelling, and sound effects designed to transport attendees out of their heads and into a shared sensory journey. It was a bold way to start a day that would be anything but ordinary. 

WXO Summit, held at Brooklyn’s House of Yes, brought together thought leaders, innovators, and practitioners from the world of experience design. The summit’s second year pulled in an unexpectedly large turnout and delivered a hyper-engaging, career-transforming experience. 

Here are the top five takeaways from this year’s WXO Summit, as shared by Opus Agency’s Mia Rovegno, Group Creative Director, and Kylee Reardon, Global Accounts Director.

1. Unconference: Democratizing Knowledge

The summit broke away from traditional conference norms, adopting a creative, grassroots approach. The event featured a unique "Unconference" segment where attendees could spontaneously sign up (physically, on a whiteboard) to lead sessions on topics they were passionate about, turning many into impromptu speakers. This encouraged participation and allowed for a diverse range of subjects, promoting a sense of ownership and engagement among the audience.

Mia signed up to lead an impromptu Unconference session with Google Cloud’s Mallory Schlossberg. Aptly titled “Let’s Talk About Giving Participants the Wheel Without Letting Them Crash the Car,” their casual conversation explored curating attendee agency in event experience, sparking interesting new ideas around safety and “controlled chaos.”

"Unconference" sign-up board
Google Cloud’s Mallory Schlossberg leading an Unconference session

2. New Blueprints for Experiential Excellence

Another pivotal session, “Cracking the X Stack,” outlined the essential elements for creating successful experiences. This blueprint emphasized the importance of balancing marketing, operations, creativity, intellectual property, real estate, and capital to achieve experiential excellence. The session embodied the collaborative spirit of the summit, where different sectors and disciplines came together to push the boundaries of what is possible in experience design.

Kylee adds, “Sessions like these shaped the summit into an incubator of emerging best practices, resources, active collaboration, and ideation to expand our industry’s thinking and bring more elevated experiences into people’s lives.”

"Cracking the X-Stack" panelists
"Cracking the X-Stack" value drivers

3. Co-Creation and Community

Co-creation and community are the bread and butter of WXO Summit, transforming it into a platform for conversations and collaborative learning rather than a traditional, passive conference. This ethos was reflected in the summit’s structure and content, aiming to model new ways of forming community and creating more impactful experiences. 

Mia summed it up perfectly: “WXO provides a container for these conversations to happen. Yes, there are panels and experts, but there are also workshops, campfires, and experimental socials that empower attendees—experts in the industry—to share. This shifts the event model from a one-to-many learning approach to a truly co-created experience where attendees lead the experience revolution.”

"The Venue Dating Game" participants on-stage
Attendees participate a community-building exercise

4. Experience Safari

WXO invited attendees to participate in an “Experience Safari,” i.e., a curated selection of New York’s most exciting experiences to enjoy amongst new friends. Participants ventured out to different immersive events around the city, including SUMMIT at One Vanderbilt and the Museum of Ice Cream.

Organizers encouraged attendees to share feedback—the good, bad, and ugly—of what they saw and the techniques and venues they might use in their work. “This initiative exposed attendees to a diverse range of experiences, enabling a broader understanding and appreciation of different event formats and their impacts,” shares Kylee. “Hearing live feedback from industry colleagues enriched the collective learning and discussions at the summit.”

SUMMIT at One Vanderbilt
Museum of Ice Cream

5. Courageous Creativity

Several key trends emerged from the summit that will influence our future. These included the integration of AI and gamification, creating spaces of inclusion and belonging, and embracing failure as part of the creative process. The "attendee as protagonist" concept was a recurring theme, emphasizing the importance of designing experiences that allow participants to actively engage and transform through their involvement.

“This participatory lens cultivates a culture of courageous creativity and innovative collaboration that steers away from fear-based, limited thinking about what’s possible in the experiences we create, produce, manage, and fund,” shares Mia. “WXO encourages attendees to create impact through making connections that allow us to collectively envision a more inclusive world together.”

Attendees celebrating at the Closing Social

Big Idea

The 2024 WXO Summit spotlighted the creativity and community within the experience design industry. Unconventional, unconferency, and uber creative, the summit may not be for everyone. But if you’re the type of person who likes taking bold risks, eagerly awaits the unexpected, and enjoys making connections in interesting, authentic ways, it’s the experience for you.

Watch this space to see how WXO continues to define the future of experience.

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