ASAE’s Xperience Design Project Emphasized Importance to Engage, Acquire Members and Sponsors for Events

April 23, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC – ASAE hosted its Xperience Design Project (XDP), April 19-20, at the Gaylord National® Resort & Convention Center. The two-day event drew 1,512 association professionals and industry partners. They co-created strategies, ideas, and solutions on how to engage attendees through gamification, drive attendance at meetings, and create meaningful partnerships with industry suppliers.

“Throughout the event, association professionals and industry partners created new ideas they could apply to a future event. The three areas we focused on this year impact our industry, and we wanted to provide an opportunity for our participants to find solutions,” said John H. Graham, IV, FASAE, CAE, President and CEO of ASAE.

During the Lab, attendees were led by XDP host and core faculty Lisa Kay Solomon, author, speaker, and chair of transformational practices at Singularity University, and each zone was led by prominent industry leaders.

  • Attendee Acquisition: Don Neal, Founder & CEO, 360 Live Media
  • Business Partnerships: David Peckinpaugh, President, Maritz Global Events
  • Content Gamification: Karl Kapp, EdD, Director, Institute for Interactive Technologies at Bloomsburg University

Between zone rotations in The Lab, attendees heard Pop-Up Talks from violinist and composer Kai Kight and social roboticist Heather Knight, PhD. On Thursday evening, participants and guests networked at Connections, an exclusive experience at MGM National Harbor. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts was the featured entertainment. 

On the second day, participants began with LabX and saw Rattletree perform on stage. Dan Klein, professor at Stanford University, discussed how mistakes provide valuable feedback. If one idea doesn’t work, move onto the next one because it could be transformational.

Throughout the afternoon, participants took park in the Business Exchange, one-on-one meeting appointments between association executives and industry partners, and Idea Accelerators, 45-minute talks. 

The Idea Accelerators focused on inspiring new approaches and developing competencies related to innovative events. Topics ranged from navigating ambiguity to leadership and importance of communication to how the right meeting space creates a positive experience. 

This year’s speakers included:

  • Steve Battista, Branding Expert and Storyteller, Former SVP of Brand for Under Armour
  • Tom Condon, Creative Director, Steelcase Event Experiences
  • Richard Culatta, CEO, International Society for Technology in Education
  • Brett Culp, Filmmaker
  • Michael Dominguez, Chief Sales Officer, MGM Resorts International
  • Dorothy Jones, Founder & CEO, J Star Marketing
  • Dan Klein, Professor, Stanford University
  • Heather Knight, PhD
  • Siri Lindley, Triathlon coach and world champion
  • Erica Qualls-Battey, General Manager, Atlanta Marriott Marquis 

At the closing experience, David Kwong, an illusionist, puzzle expert, and author of Spellbound, discussed the seven principles of illusion and how it can be used to gain influence, audiences’ attention, and success.

Next year’s date is April 11-12, 2019.

ASAE thanks the following Alliance Partners for their continued support of the association community:

Strategic Partners
Atlanta CVB
Business Events Canada
Choose Chicago
Experience Columbus 
Community Brands
Naylor Association Solutions
Visit San Jose

Corporate Partners
Visit Baltimore
Destination Cleveland
DelCor Technology Solutions
Visit Dallas 
Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB 
Visit Fort Worth
Louisville CVB 
Mexico Tourism Board 
Visit Omaha 
Visit Salt Lake

Event Partners
Advanced Solutions International
The Broadmoor 
Dubai Association Centre
Higher Logic
Johnson Lambert LLP and Vault Consulting 
Korea Tourism Organization 

Media Contact: Sabrina Kidwai, APR, CAE,, 202-557-1066.

About ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership 
ASAE is a membership organization of more than 40,000 association executives and industry partners representing more than 7,200 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world. With support of the ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession, and provides resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. For more information about ASAE, visit