Innovations Challenge Brings Fresh Ideas to DECA Associations

During the Association Management Conference in Atlanta, Ga., this past August, several associations brought their best and brightest ideas to the table during the 2013 Innovations Challenge during the Innovations Fest.

The Innovations Challenge consisted of six associations presenting their most creative idea to the attendees of #DECAAMC. Then, the attendees voted for their favorite innovation based on the description, use, impact and uniqueness and creativity.

The six associations that participated this year were:

  • Oleg Shvets shared how Arizona DECA utilized technology to develop nametags with a QR code for each attendee at their association conferences. Workshop facilitators used designated iTouch devices to scan members’ nametags and create a digital record of who attended each workshop, how long they stayed and whether or not they left during the session. Chapter advisors could then receive detailed reports of which sessions their members attended and finally have a tool to keep their members accountable.
  • Lynore Levenhagen presented on Florida DECA’s “8 is Great for Our State” membership recruitment campaign. This campaign encouraged Florida DECA’s 100 chapters to recruit at least eight new members, totaling 800 new members for the association. For every level of membership increase, a chapter would be put into a drawing for a $100 DECA Image gift card. This realistic and easily attainable goal drove chapters across the association to reach for eight and helped Florida DECA achieve a 14.3% membership increase in just five years.
  • Jackie Schiller used Minnesota DECA’s innovative social media engagement campaign for her Innovation Challenge entry. In order to better engage members attending the 2013 State Career Development Conference, Minnesota DECA used a combination of social media competitions, digital storytelling and interactive apps to bring its conference to a whole new level. Live tweeting, custom graphics, DECA after dark challenges on Twitter and social media postcards were just a few techniques used to create an entirely new atmosphere for this conference.
  • Linda Krehbiel of Missouri DECA shared how her association used a new state conference registration process and tabulation system that integrated the membership system and Scantrons to create a streamlined registration process as well as create transcripts for competitors. This allowed chapter advisors to have a solid “proof of learning” transcript to take back to administrators to prove a mastery of oral and written concepts. This also allowed for members to see areas of strength and where they needed improvement, which was extremely helpful for those advancing to the International Career Development Conference.
  • Julie Lowe shared how Texas DECA began implementing a state-wide community service project each year that would focus on each city that hosted a state conference. In 2012, Texas DECA raised $9,500 for the Stingray habitat in Corpus Christie, and in 2013 they donated teddy bears to Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christie. For 2014, Texas DECA plans to fundraise for 3,000 new hats for the Dallas Children’s Hospital. Having a state-wide community service project not only gets all of Texas DECA’s chapters involved in one common cause, but promotes DECA across the entire state, reaching more people than ever imaginable.
  • Tim Fandek shared Wisconsin DECA’s experience of revitalizing their fall conference with a Sports & Entertainment Marketing conference. Faced with the previously cancelling the entire event because of a lack of interested participants, Wisconsin DECA knew it had to make some changes. So, they went back to the drawing board and created a conference that was an engaging and intriguing can’t-miss event. Wisconsin’s premier sporting event and sports marketing professionals spoke to students about the opportunities available in the industry and turned this once cancelled event into one that exceeded expectations.

The competition was tough, but after the votes were tallied, Oleg Shvets was announced the winner of this year’s Innovations Challenge.

DECA would like to thank all the participants of this year’s Innovations Challenge for sharing the many ways their association is making it count this year!

Follow Janelle on Twitter @jjscudderdeca

Categories: Conference Highlights, Reviews