Session Formats

The I4C Conference will be held in a full virtual format spread over 5 days. It will be a “rolling” virtual event, inclusive of all regions and across all time zones distributed via a global webcast and dedicated conference virtual platform. The conference program will be globally and regionally curated, with opportunities for each region to join plenary and parallel sessions taking place in 5 different time zones. I4C sessions and the conference outcomes will be “knowledge generating”, making use of innovation methodologies in creative sessions, and recognizing the knowledge contributions of all participants. The following formats do not form an exhaustive list - other innovative formats will be considered. Find out more about the various session formats below:


Plenaries will focus on major conference themes. They will consist of a mix of live and recorded contributions with a panel discussion and audience contributions. Plenaries will take place across a range of timezones, with all being recorded and available to view for those that were unable to see them live. Each timezone will have the opportunity to host a live plenary.

Parallel sessions

Parallel sessions will also be organised along the major themes of the conference. Parallel sessions will involve a mix of contributions from diverse groups and interests. While most will include a mix of global and regional perspectives, some will be organised purely with a regional focus to allow for regional interaction and agenda-setting.

There is an option for submitters to curate an entire session along the following formats. Please note, you will be expected to organise all the speakers, activities and presentations within your session.

  • Panels (1-1.5 hours)
  • Training (1.5 hour)
  • Workshop (1.5 hour)
  • Other as determined

Alternatively, it is possible to submit an individual presentation which the organising team will group with other presentations, according to similarity.

Audience engagement and time for Q&As must be built into all conference sessions.

Innovation showcase space

The innovation showcase space is a place where participants can learn about different methodologies and approaches to promoting innovative practices in their organisations, as well as practical examples of how other organisations have used them to promote climate action in cities.

Two types of innovation showcase sessions will be on offer:

Innovation showcase: Collaborative masterclasses (20 min)

Local governments, organisations and initiatives can showcase their particular innovative practice or approach (20 min presentation). Entire sessions will be dedicated to 1-3 showcases grouped according to similarity.

Innovation showcase: Methodology training (1.5 hours)

These training sessions will support participants to learn more from experts in innovation methodology and process. Each session will focus on one innovation methodology, offering an introduction to it, a practical example of how it has been applied to deliver diverse (not just technology-based) climate action in cities, and an interactive/co-created training process. The list of innovation methodologies that will be offered may include all or some of the following:

  • Challenge driven innovation
  • Foresight work/scenario planning
  • Experimentation/living labs
  • Innovation labs
  • Accelerators
  • Design thinking
  • Multi-level perspective (Various tools)

The library space

The library space is where project partners will make new programme announcements, launch knowledge products such as books and reports, and display posters.

Cinema space

The virtual cinema space is a place where conference partners and contributors can showcase their visual and audio content; available on demand. In addition, the cinema space will contain a TED-talk style set of short provocations (max 3-5 minutes). Accessible at any time, these will contain bold ideas or practical experiences, told in story form, that encourage participants. A message board will accompany the short talks for people to post reactions and spark discussions.

Regional Mayoral receptions

Mayoral receptions will take place in each region at the beginning and end of the conference and offer an opportunity for high-level political engagement in conference themes and agenda-setting. This will be set in a format to encourage networking amongst participants online. This format will provide space for people to introduce themselves and find collaborators or connections across their region or across regions.

Artistic performance

Artistic performances and cultural showcases will be integrated into conference sessions to ensure maximum exposure.