Meet The Creator: Russell Allen, Fruitful Team Events
29 October 2019 / Meet the Creator /
Including a creative team event within your business time at The Grove makes it more enjoyable and exciting, supporting your overall objectives to team-build, entertain and reward. What’s more, spending time outdoors makes the most of our idyllic setting… there are 300 acres of countryside to play with. It feels like a real escape from the office.
Our key partner in delivering creative team events is Fruitful. We caught up with their founder, Russell Allen, who shared some fascinating insights and secrets of success.
Fruitful and The Grove have been partnering together since the hotel opened. Tell us why you love working with The Grove?
We’re such a good fit – we’re both innovators. The Grove re-set the country house hotel experience when they opened. For the first time they brought large events out of London by creating a unique and inspirational setting, and they constantly improve and innovate today. What they do is more conducive to modern meetings. It’s exactly the same approach as we take in team events, which is why the partnership works so well. Clients get a fresh, exciting and memorable result, whatever the activity is.
Can you share some examples of the kind of thing you do at The Grove?
Everything we do is authentic, honest and real, using people who are artisans in what they do. We create very high quality experiences. We can turn your team into an orchestra in 40 minutes flat, playing violins and violas. We can take your team through a dynamic survival skills session featuring Tim Treloar. Tim is ex marines, a marathon competer, Everest summiter and adventure TV consultant, so your team learns first hand about the priorities of survival including sourcing water, creating fire and building shelter. We run a huge variety of creative events, including a murder mystery called The Nightie Before Christmas.
A very cool innovation we’re bringing out is a large format business game called Tribe, which has been developed for a leading IT company and was driven by the need for teams to explore the nuances of team cultures in a company. By playing Tribe, people learn to recognise subtle nuances and variations within team cultures – literally tribes – and discover the difference that understanding has in making the whole workplace a happier, more productive and satisfying place.
Do you have any top tips about creating events?
It works best when a client is outcome-focused so we can make the right recommendations based on what they need. Do you want to entertain clients, help the team bond or just have fun, for example? It’s also important to have realistic goals. You’re not going to resolve complex team issues in two hours, but activities do help.
One of the key benefits is how a special event transforms the way people perceive and talk about their whole time with your company at The Grove. When executives give up two hours of valuable time for an activity and they enjoy a unique experience that affects them in an emotive, personal way, it has what we call “pubability” factor – the story someone is proud to tell their mates in the pub the following weekend.
What changes have you seen in the events sector in the last 10 to 5 years?
The noughties was all about setting time aside to do something with your colleagues and try something new – a new skill or trying something you wouldn’t normally do. Or, to a point, you could put a couple of grand behind a bar, but now that just wouldn’t happen. That budget is now funnelled into a creative experience which will be remembered longer than a hangover! Younger executives are more health conscious and work harder – it’s not uncommon for meetings to start at 8am and go through to 6pm. So people are doing fewer events but they want more out of them – a money-can’t-buy experience. Something with that “pubability factor” which they can’t wait to talk about down the pub at the weekend.
What’s your own background?
I started off in theatre school, had a formal career in marketing, went off to travel, came back and worked in film, then moved into events. I’m an entrepreneur and I love to take risks and face my fears, as fear is such a thrilling emotion, don’t you think? But I don’t do this with my clients! I never take people too far out of their comfort zone, it’s just about looking beyond your own normal horizons in a safe, comfortable but exciting way.
Favourite event you ran at The Grove?
Taking international senior team leaders from 20 different countries and creating a live orchestra using violins and violas in 40 minutes.