The Innovation Awards
Oliver Stahmann in Lima
2018 Honorable Mention:
Jean Miguel Darde and Jean-Étienne Fauroux in Abidjan
Innovation is a key element in keeping members active and engaged in their community. When you’re attending a masquerade ball one month and superhero theme party the next, it’s hard to resist showing up to see what’s in store! When making their selection, the Global Awards jury placed special consideration on Ambassadors who think “outside the box” when designing and implementing InterNations Events.
The strongest nominees for this award focused on unique locations around the city or organized theme events that always include an element of surprise for our members. We enjoyed following up on our most innovative events, such as a Night at the Museum in Cascais, a Caribbean Night in Abidjan, and a Stampede Night in Calgary dedicated to Western wear and cowboy-themed icebreaker games.
Why He Won
The winning team hails from Lima, and one of our jury members says it best:
“Oliver has been an Ambassador in Lima for many years and has helped the community grow to what it is today. This has a lot to do with the events he is organizing. Together with his Co-Ambassadors, Karen and Olivier, he has become more and more creative over the years. Only this year the team has organized so many innovative, diverse events in well-known venues, clubs, and newly opened bars and their continuous goal to offer our members the best experience has brought the community to the next level. And just a tip: if you ever look for a creative new icebreaker game — just get in touch with Oliver, he has developed so many over time and some of them can be found in our InterNations Game Book!”
Interview with the Winner
What is an example of one of your most innovative ideas or events?
Oliver: It has always been very important for me, Karen, and Olivier to do different events every week. But we never wanted to repeat something, so we’ve always been trying to create new things and new ideas to keep it entertaining and to attract different people. This year, we were suddenly approached by a famous music club in town that had an open spot on a Saturday night which they wanted to fill. They were thinking about a typical networking event or maybe just a simple get-together. But when I saw the stage and all the instruments and when I heard the great acoustics there, I thought it would be a waste not to do something related to music at this place. Immediately, a vision of an expat talent night popped up in my head. And the name for it was almost certain: it had to be the eXpat-Factor!
But the biggest challenge was that we only had ten days of time to organize it! And, of course, there was no budget! Still, we found six amazing musicians from all over the world that were willing to perform as well as a jury with some prominent people from the music business. The event became a big success, with American singer Chip Alexander winning. His price: A solo concert at the same location!
Other great events we did this year were for example a Madonna Birthday Party, a Wintertime Party with German Glühwein, a rum-tasting night with Cuban live music, lots of speed networking, a British music night, a 90s Videos Party, a Blind-tasting Wine & Cheese Event, and many others. Our annual Halloween events — where InterNations became AlienNations (2015), MonsterNations (2016), CreepNations (2017), and this year ZombieNations for just one night are also great fun.
Another innovative part of the events are the icebreakers — which I am constantly creating anew — to make it easier for people to meet each other and engage in interesting conversations. Sometimes they are small and simple, but sometimes we let our members work for them.
How do you overcome the challenges in searching for innovative event themes?
Oliver: I am a writer and an artist and, in general, all of my work has to do with creativity. It is not really a challenge, it is rather the aim to share my ideas with the rest of the community and to create entertaining, different, fun events with the great InterNations atmosphere and concept.
How do you manage to still have low entrance fees, but at the same time offer a lot of benefits at each event?
Oliver: Over the years, we have learned to make the most out of the small budget we are operating with. We always have to see what options a location offers us. For example, we cannot do a dance event if the location does not already have a sound system. We have to avoid costs, which is not always easy. But our events, and InterNations, itself have become a well-respected institution in Lima and that makes it much easier for us to organize things.
Congratulations to Oliver, 2018’s winner of the Innovation Awards.
About the Winner:
Oliver Stahmann has been an Ambassador for InterNations since 2011. He is a German writer and photographer who has been living in Lima and Peru since the end of 2008. He is always looking for opportunities for photography exhibitions all over the world — no matter where in the world!