Hosting a Bright Ideas event

Bright Ideas events

Bright Ideas events are a great way to generate discussion about challenges and opportunities faced by people and countries across the Commonwealth and the innovations young people are bringing to fruition.

We hosted the first Bright Ideas event in London in March 2015, as part of celebrations for our annual Commonwealth Day. Speakers included the winners of the Commonwealth Youth Awards 2015, who showcased their own Bright Ideas. You can watch all the Bright Ideas to date at

Live talks from young speakers are the focal point of any Bright Ideas talk or event, but otherwise what happens is up to you – each event can have its own structure and personality. Events can last an hour or extend to a full day and can include as many attendees as you wish to invite (or can safely fit in the venue!).

We will put your Bright Ideas talk online, in video or as a podcast, on the site, and promote it to a global audience, including leaders of Commonwealth countries.

Hosting a Bright Ideas event

When thinking about organising a Bright Ideas event, you should consider the resources available. You can host a standalone Bright Ideas talk, or event featuring one or more inspirational speakers, or you can integrate a Bright Ideas presentation into an already established event – it’s up to you.

Bright Ideas talks can be hosted by an individual or organisation, but each event must have a Master of Ceremonies aged between 15 and 29, who is responsible for introducing the speakers and chairing any subsequent discussion. Each speaker, also aged 15-29, will showcase their Bright Idea – which addresses a particular social, political or economic challenge or opportunity.

While the Commonwealth Secretariat would like to hear about your Bright Ideas event, it is important for you to ‘own’ it yourself – so, independent planning, organisation, coordination. Have a clear idea of the audience you expect.

This is important so the speaker can tailor their presentation to, and connect with, the audience. It’s important to keep people engaged while making the event relevant, accessible, inclusive and enjoyable – think about what people will get out of it. Please note that hosting a Bright Ideas event is optional; it will not affect your eligibility to be in the running to attend the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Forum.


A suite of helpful products is available to assist with hosting your Bright Ideas event. These include:

Making your event cost-effective

Seek help from your friends and organisation, use existing networks and make contact with other groups to find out what resources might be available. It is worth doing some research to see if other Bright Ideas or relevant community events are planned in your area and see if you can join in.

Ask around to see if community groups or organisations might be able to host your event, or provide a venue and equipment such as tables, chairs, sound equipment, projectors and screens. Make the most of online social networks to gain free publicity, find ideas and generate interest.


With your audience in mind, choose your location. Bright Ideas events can take place in homes, workplaces, schools, universities, at a function or public space.

Choose a stage or area where the speaker is able to move around naturally and the audience is not sitting too far away from the speaking area. University, corporate and community auditoriums tend to work best; most of these will have some built-in infrastructure.

Ideally, the venue should have:
• Ability to project slideshows and videos
• Easy access to the stage – keep in mind the talk will need to be recorded.
• Location for food and beverages (if you are planning to provide food)
• Conveniently located bathrooms

It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct permissions to host your Bright Ideas event in whichever venue you choose.

Co-hosting with another event

You could co-host or piggyback your Bright Ideas talk as part of an existing event. In this way you can promote your inspiring idea or activity to a broader audience, and your talk can add value to an existing event. Youth forums, employment workshops, conferences, award ceremonies and community events could in some way include a Bright Ideas talk to inspire others to think about ways of improving their community.

Key international days, such as World Environment Day or International Youth Day, provide an opportunity to host an event showcasing ideas about helping the environment or young people, for example. There may already be planned events taking place in your local community on these key international days where you can participate in and host your own Bright Ideas talk.

Sponsorship guidelines

You might choose to find a sponsor for your Bright Ideas event, to assist with the event organisation or underwrite some of the costs. One sponsor is probably easier than multiple sponsors, and we recommend that you seek a sponsor in your local community first – particularly an organisation committed to supporting young people.

It is also worth familiarising yourself with Commonwealth values, such as peace, democracy, freedom and equality. Any organisation whose own values or actions conflict with Commonwealth values, or which could be perceived as detrimental to young people, must not be a Bright Ideas sponsor. In particular, you must not approach tobacco, alcohol or weapons companies.

Bright Ideas from a Young Commonwealth is a non-commercial initiative, so funds should only go to covering the cost of the event itself. To get the most benefit from your sponsorship, we recommend that you look for in-kind sponsors who can help meet your venue, catering and audiovisual needs.

Sponsorship rules:
• Sponsors do not feature in Bright Ideas videos.
• Sponsors do not have editorial control or veto power over the choice of speaker or the content of a presentation.
• All communications with sponsors should make clear that the event is a Bright Ideas event.

Event programme

Here are some helpful hints and ideas for your Bright Ideas event programme:
• The Master of Ceremonies (aged 15-29) should keep introductions short.
• Speakers should stay on time – a Bright Ideas presentation should be no longer than seven (7) minutes.
• Consider including a Q&A session, a panel discussion or another activity after the talk to keep the audience engaged on the topic.
• Avoid the use of a podium, which puts a barrier between the audience and the speaker.
• If you are hosting several talks, consider providing breaks between sessions so your audience can think and discuss the idea among themselves.

Communicating about your Bright Ideas event

Good publicity is necessary to run a successful event or engage an audience online. Publicise your event or activity in advance with simple, attention-grabbing text and Bright Ideas imagery available from the resources kit at

Try to summarise your Bright Idea in one sentence – think about it as a headline. It is important to explain what the event is about clearly in all communication with speakers and attendees. This will set the tone and expectations for your event and avoid any confusion.

Social media

Social media is a great place to start for free advertising. You can set up an event page and promote your event on Facebook. Other options are noticeboards, local papers and community centres.

When using social media to engage your future audience:
• Be clear about the date and time of the event
• Announce speakers/venues as you confirm them, and post any photos you have of them.
• Post information about you, the host (if you are different from the speaker)
• Use the hashtag #CWBrightIdeas in all social media communications about your event, so you can track the Bright Ideas conversation.

Related hashtags include:
#Commonwealth #YoungCommonwealth #YouthTalks
#YouthEngage #CreativeYouth #YouthIdeas

We encourage social media users to be part of the Bright Ideas conversation about inspiring ideas in the Commonwealth that affect positive social change.

Media guidelines

Consider inviting local journalists to your event to gain extra publicity – they will be attracted if your event or activity stands out or relates to issues recently covered in the news. Organise photos and/or video of the event.