The CallidusCloud Challenge: Create an Experience to Inspire Adults and Children Alike!
When Your Theme Is "Innovation and Exploration," the Sky Is the Limit... And there's no better venue than the California Academy of Sciences. What other location offers an aquarium, tidepools, a rainforest and a planetarium? Those created the perfect foundation for us to build an interactive, awe-inspiring event for 500 adults and 200 kids.
When CallidusCloud asked us in late November to partner with them on their annual company party, Experience Design Account Exec Rachel Quinlan and Production Services Manager Karen Waldmann knew we'd have to hustle. We had approximately six weeks to fully plan the January event, and they fell smack in the middle of the holidays. As if that time of year isn't stressful already. But at Team Entire, we pride ourselves on keeping calm and carrying on under pressure!
Fortunately, in addition to the amazing interactive exhibits on site, the venue offered tables, chairs, mics and a sound system, so we were able to bite right into the catering. La Bonne Cuisine's creative proposal fit right in with the client's playful theme. At the Paint-A-Plate station, guests would be invited to "paint" their plates with sauces to enhance the flavor of the kebab main course. The Mac-N-Cheese Action Zone would feature cavatappi corkscrew pasta and a toppings bar. We could practically picture the adults tempted to cut that line! The biggest wow factor? A liquid nitrogen dessert bar, where each serving of ice cream would be flash frozen to order.
After a walk-through of the California Academy of Sciences, we put together a continuous flow of entertainment and experiences, all related to innovation and exploration. On the big night, CallidusCloud's employees and their families were first greeted outside by LED Poi Spinners and Butterflies and inside by DJ King Most, killing it in the African Hall. It was hard to choose what to do first—visit the tidepools, the face-painting booth (a huge hit with the kids) or the photo booth? Adults could grab self-serve cocktails as they entered the aquarium through the rainforest or tried to figure out how roaming magician Dan Chan did his tricks. No guest wanted to miss one of the three 30-minute shows in the Morris Planetarium.
As anticipated, the liquid nitrogen ice cream station where guests could choose their own toppings was a favorite with all ages. Even though it looked like everything was totally chill and perfectly orchestrated, we did face one big hurdle behind the scenes in planning the event. Because of the holidays, we were still struggling to confirm final floor plans for the food stations until the day of the party. But Karen was able to troubleshoot on site and adjust tables, chairs and talent performance spaces at the last minute. "I was lucky to have enough team members there to help with other pieces, so I could focus solely on this component," she says. The lesson? On a tight schedule, it's even more important that everyone stick to it.
In the end, we achieved everything we set out to. The best part? Hearing guest after guest saying, "This event is amazing!" We're already thinking about ways to top it next year!