We struggled at first to determine an appropriate structure for the event that would engage all people present—including students AND industry professionals—but also allow us to maintain a dynamic structure since we didn't know ahead of time who would show up.
After much contemplation and intense internet searching, we settled on an approach borrowed from the education world called the "four corner debate" in which participants take a stand on each debate topic by standing in one of four corners: strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree. The structure worked wonderfully, and our three debate topics were all split right down the middle, making for excellent discussion among the group.
Considering the high levels of engagement and suitability for groups of different sizes and makeups, we're considering making this debate an annual event. As for now, I think it's safe to say we're all excited to see how the trends and topics we discussed play out in 2017.