johan johansson five star day:
“WE’RE FACING A REVOLUTION IN DEVELOPING MEETINGS”
N O 1 DECEMBER 2008 €15 / 150 SEK YOUR FIRST MEETINGS MANAGEMENT MAGAZINE!
challenge thought patterns mind check psychological meetings creativity the hidden agenda kellerman
Welcome to meeting dest
Year after year, the smartest people in the world (yes, really) meet up in Stockholm. Admittedly, the prospect of collecting a Nobel Medal from the hands of His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf might have something to do with it. But then again, the Nobel Laureates are far from alone in finding Stockholm the perfect place for memorable meetings.
the perfect tination Mix one third architecture with one third green areas and one third sparkling blue water. What you end up with is – Stockholm. Built on 14 islands around one of Europe’s best-preserved mediaeval city centres, Stockholm is a sight to behold, positioned perfectly right where lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea. The capital of Scandinavia is known for its beauty, its clean air and water and its near-spotless finish. This is the result of the environment always being an important priority for Stockholm, and the region’s long-standing leader-
ship in pioneering environmental solutions. European Cities Monitor ranks Stockholm as the best capital city in terms of freedom from pollution and Stockholm’s emerging clean tech industry is well on its way to booming. Stockholm is the perfect place to go for businesses serious about Corporate Social Responsibility, sustainability and minimising environmental impact. Not to mention a breath of fresh air (literally) for people who have grown weary of overcrowded metropolitan areas elsewhere.
photo: nicho södling
Keeping it cool – Stockholm style When the Stockholm Waterfront is completed in 2010, Stockholm will receive a new and exciting congress hall. Among a whole host of innovative ecofeatures, is a system for cooling the property with the help of water from the nearby Klara canal.
The leading international meeting destination Stockholm can no longer lay claim to be a treasure waiting to be discovered. On the contrary, the number of visitors is increasing every year and Stockholm is fast becoming the top-of-mind name when it comes to well-organised, professionally executed and memorable meetings, congresses and incentive trips. A high standard of service, flexibility and technology pervades throughout Stockholm and the city is perfectly geared to handling meetings of all sizes. How many destinations can boast
6,000 hotel rooms within a five-minute walk of the central station? With a further 5,000 available within the city limits, just a short ride away by frequent and reliable public transport. And they all live up to the high standards visitors have come to expect from Sweden. A new global trendsetter In the words of Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft: “If you’re curious about new trends, just come and take a look at Sweden.” The Swedes’ reputation as early adopters has not gone unnoticed by the most trend sensitive global
photo: nicho södling
brands, and has turned Stockholm into the world’s favourite testing ground for new products. This development has slowly but surely made the pressure to come up with ever more trendy and stylish goods and services unrelenting in Stockholm. The result? Well, lets just say that if you love shopping, you’ll love Stockholm. The city offers more than 3,600 department stores, shops and boutiques – many of which are among the most extravagantly designed anywhere.
photo: clArion hotel sign
photo: White Arkitekter AB/JArl Asset MAnAgeMent AB
Scandinavia at its finest The brand new and spectacular Clarion Hotel Sign offers 558 double rooms furnished with Scandinavian design icons – right in downtown Stockholm.
Looking for the latest fashion? Or for that perfect gift? In Stockholm it’s all within walking distance.
Memories for life Having an archipelago of some 24,000 islands and skerries on your doorstep, not to mention vast tracts of unspoilt nature, makes for some spectacular adventure possibilities. And there’s nothing like a little adventure to make a trip truly unforgettable. How about navigating forest terrain and experiencing the beauty of cross-country racing just a short hop from the city? For even more highspeed thrills we recommend a ride in a hovercraft or a rigid inflatable speedboat, which is sure to take your breath away. Or perhaps you prefer to set sail? There are many ways to navigate the archipelago, either on your own or in guided groups. Choose from a range of vessels, from small sailboats to topsail schooners and yachts, or hire a kayak, a canoe or even a seaplane. You can hire a whole island exclusively for you and your group and get there by light aircraft, helicopter or boat – guaranteed to be a memorable
experience. Vaxholm, an 18th-century fortress, is another exciting venue for parties and receptions. If you prefer to stay on the water, sit back and enjoy the scenery on a leisurely lunch or evening cruise aboard a vintage steamer. In wintertime, nothing beats a day of long-distance ice skating on the mirror-smooth ice covering much of the archipelago. Easy to reach. So much harder to leave Getting to Stockholm is very convenient. Stockholm-Arlanda Airport – a thoroughly modern facility situated a mere 40 km north of the city centre – is within a few hours’ flight of most European cities. A high-speed train linking the city with the airport whisks you into downtown Stockholm a mere 20 minutes after touchdown. Once in town, almost everything is within easy reach in what has to be one of Europe’s most compact and cosiest capital cities. It’s safe and easy to get
Someone once called Stockholm the city where everyone can walk on water.
around, and most of the meeting facilities, hotels, cultural attractions, shops and restaurants (some 1500) are within 10-20 minutes’ walk of each other. Excellent value for money One of the few things that haven’t been on the up for Stockholm and Sweden over the past decade is the local currency, the Swedish crown. A weak crown is good news for overseas visitors though, making Stockholm a place where most things are reasonably priced. In a recent (March 2008) cost of living survey by Mercer, Stockholm got an index of 95.2, which is on par with Warsaw (95) and significantly cheaper than e g Moscow (142.2), London (125), Oslo (118.3) and Copenhagen (117.2). We’re here for you Stockholm Visitors Board is here to make things easier for you. We provide a free-of-charge service offering all the support you need to plan a successful meeting. If you want to know more about Stockholm and why people can’t help falling in love with it, send us a mail or give us a call – it could the beginning of a great relationship.
photo: henrik trygg
For Corperate Meetings: Meet Stockholm Tel +46 8 508 28 554 www.meetstockholm.se For Association Meetings: Congress Stockholm Tel + 46 8 508 28 553 www.congresstockholm.se
photo: chad ehlers
An outing in the picturesque Stockholm archipelago is one little adventure that you and your travel partners will never forget.
Jönköping - where meetings are made easy.
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Jönköping - where meetings are made easy. With our experience and skills in meetings and events, our great knowledge of the local hospitality industry, you are in safe hands when you schedule your meetings in Jönköping. One contact is all you need!
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Welcome! Convention Bureau +46 36 10 71 71 firstname.lastname@example.org www.jonkoping.se/conventionbureau
Together we create suc Elmia Meetings is everything you could wish for when you start thinking about arranging or taking part in a meeting, trade fair, conference, congress, corporate event or even a festival. At Elmia you have thousands of square metres at your disposal. Our team is a close-knit one and offers a high level of expertise. Through an open dialogue with you we create the shared confidence on which successful collaborations are built. Together we dare to think progressively and find different ways of creating successful meetings. To ensure success we use a tried and tested method. To this we can add 30 years of experience in the industry, a geographical location that’s hard to beat, and last but not least a quite unique infrastructure in Jönköping, Sweden. This gives us high hotel capacity, a wide range of peripheral activities and convenient transport options. We are fully equipped to meet your needs, whether your meeting involves two people or two thousand.
You choose the size – we impose no limits With a conference area that can hold over 2,000 people, exhibition space, conference rooms and general areas exceeding 30,000 square metres and more than 300,000 square metres of outdoor space, we see no limits to what we can achieve together.
We look forward to seeing you at Elmia!
Dreamhack – the world’s biggest LAN party – 5,000 computer experts online. One of our more spectacular events.
A well-executed meeting – large or small – effectively strengthens your brand.
Elmiaâ€™s restaurants jointly have capacity for 3,000 people.
Please contact us for further information: +46 (0)36-15 20 00 email@example.com www.elmia.se/meetings
Top-class entertainment. Dancing or a concert? You decide, weâ€™ll arrange it.
vinter. Foto Fredrik Broman.
In Luleå, we see life on the bright side - day and night! Visit us at www.luleacvb.se
The meetings of Swedish Lapland.
The average population density in Europe is 118 people per square kilometre. In Lapland it’s two. This creates meetings between people that are sought after and appreciated. There are many meeting places; choose from sociable and relaxed communication in unique surroundings, or modern conference facilities with the latest technology. Combine your next conference with memorable activities. Experience the fantastic archepelago or play golf with the midnight sun as your companion. Whatever your requirements, we promise that a meeting in Swedish Lapland will be something special. www.swedishlapland.com
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LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE EDITOR IN CHIEF
Atti Soenarso firstname.lastname@example.org
JOHAN JOHANSSON ENCOURAGES US TO
MEETING WITH MEANING.
DALSTRÖM SPEAKS OF
TEN TIPS FOR
Roger Kellerman email@example.com ART DIRECTOR
R. Kellerman www.rkellerman.com
challenge our thought patterns? meeting people?
Dennis Brice firstname.lastname@example.org WRITERS
Kevin Cottam, Tomas Dalström, Fredrik Emdén, Hans Gordon, Per Hörberg, Roger Kellerman, Jan Rollof, Atti Soenarso PHOTOGRAPHER
Sara Appelgren EDITORIAL RAYS OF SUNSHINE
Bimo Soenarso, Bess, Trolla, Rufus Wainwright
the myth of total presence? new ways of working? Take a break with Cottam?
Trydells Tryckeri, Laholm, Sweden EDITORIAL OFFICE
Meetings International PO Box 224 SE-271 25 Ystad Sweden Editorial Office + 46 8 612 42 20 Commercial Office: + 46 612 42 96 Fax: + 46 8 612 42 80 email@example.com
CSR in practice? creativity?
the significance of colours?
Koala Publishing AB firstname.lastname@example.org www.koalapublishing.se BUY MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL AT
email@example.com Single copies SEK 150, €15. Postage not included. FONTS
Chronicle Text, KNOCKOUT, Didot, all by Hoefler + Frefre-Jones. PAPER
hidden agendas? green meetings?
Munken Lynx 240 gr / 100 gr by Arctic Paper. We do not take responsibility for non-ordered material. Meetings International is stored electronically and is normally made available on the internet. Reservations against this policy must be made in advance. The reprinting of articles and other material, whole or in part, is forbidden without prior consent of the publishers. Quotes, on the other hand, are encouraged as long as the source is named. The Swedish Audit Bureau of Circulations. Member of the International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Circulations, IFABC. Meetings International is a member of MPI and SITE.
2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
meet in Copenhagen
Why not enjoy your meeting in Copenhagen? · Copenhagen is among the 10 most popular convention destinations in the world · Copenhagen is Northern Europe’s main traffic hub and has Europe’s fastest and cheapest airport-to-city-centre rail link · Copenhagen has the highest concentration of Michelin star restaurants in Scandinavia and you can get a good night’s sleep in one of Copenhagen’s 17,000 hotel rooms
Free help to arrange meetings and inCentives? We can assist you with arranging your next international meeting in Copenhagen. Let us help you search for: · Hotel rooms · Relevant event facilities · Professional event organisers It is easy and transparent and you receive three comparable proposals. All free of charge. Contact our Leads Management at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +45 3325 7400.
EDITORIAL | 15
his is no ordinary meeting
magazine. Our purpose is to help you improve your leadership skills one meeting at a time. The Swedish edition of Meetings International has been published for five years, a small language in a sizeable country with few inhabitants. We intend to change this by turning upside down much of the popular wisdom about meeting management. What we do know is that we are the world’s only meeting management magazine, and we now want to share our mindset with a larger and international readership. We target buyers and planners at management level. We do not write about hotels and other
hardware but the content, the software. Neither do we write about destinations, unless it is a supplement written in our own special way. We also have the ambition of bringing the meeting and event industry into the spotlight of politicians. We do not intend to teach you how to arrange good meetings, only you know how to do that. We can, however, give you an idea of the latest innovations to assist you in producing the very best meetings and events. We sometimes write about pedagogical methods, the growth of professional facilitators, exciting innovators, people who dare to be pioneering. We promote the meeting as a strategic management tool for creating better companies, for progress and for increasing profitability, and we meet the people who have succeeded. They do not necessarily need to be involved in the meeting and event industry, they can just as easily be brain researchers, light and sound technicians, interior designers, musicians, set designers or aid workers. We also strive to form a link between you and global cutting edge expertise in creating professional meetings, not only in the future but in the here and now. We are not afraid of challenging; we all need a
challenge in order to progress. We are probably not in agreement with you over how to create better meetings or their evaluation method, and you might well question the people we choose to write about in the magazine. Our view is that we cannot always share the same opinion. Our opinions will always differ. Isadora Duncan, a pioneer of modern dance, is one of our inspirers. She become world famous for her innovative and challenging dance numbers, but also dedicated many years of her life to educating children. Her ambition was not primarily to teach children to dance, but to show them that they could learn to dance. We are the same: We do not primarily want to teach our readers how to create good meetings, but through our message show that it is possible. Our magazine is not the bearer of all truths. It conveys thoughts. It is up to you to reflect, and it is up to you to interpret the content. π
Swedish-Indonesian atti soenarso has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. She has worked for Scandinavia’s largest daily newspaper, was TV4’s first travel editor, has written for many Swedish travel magazines and has had several international clients. She has travelled the length and breadth of the world and written about destinations, people and meetings.
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Atti Soenarso PHOTOS
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JOHAN JOHANSSON | 19
We live in a world without physical limitations, where a simple click opens the door to all the world’s knowledge. A world in which we are continuously bombarded with new impressions and ideas. Where we leap between our various roles and virtual identities to inquisitively investigate the new and exciting opportunities. Where nothing is impossible and everything centres on me and my needs. However, we have a dream that meetings can and will engage their participants. That meetings can influence the future. That the meeting is the ultimate way to communicate your message, put across a feeling and exert your opinion. There are, however, problems. Research shows that meetings do not work as well as they could. Up to 70 per cent of all meetings are, in the worst cases, completely contra productive. To reach out with our hope of creating better and more professional meetings we have to rethink. Johan Johansson is creative director at Five Star Day in Malmö, Sweden. He previously worked for Future Lab, a Swedish advertising agency that focuses on market communication and branding, where he had the same role and worked with their concept Future Design Days for almost ten years. In 2004, Future Design Days won the world’s best meeting award at the Grand Prix EIBTM Event Awards in Barcelona. Earlier in the autumn Johan Johansson lectured in Oslo for the Choice Hotels’ management and guests under the heading of Next Generation Meetings. The hotel chain is the largest in Scandinavia with over 160 hotels. Johan Johansson told the meeting that a month later they would not remember more than one per cent of what he was speaking about. “How much fun is that?”
“There’s a misconception that confidence in us is created by what we say. We think if we say good things, you will put your trust in that. But we people don’t work that way. How I say something is three times more important than what I say. A good rhythm and a good style is six times more important than what I say and in which context I say it if you are to believe me. My hairstyle and garments are also more important than what I say. That I have a good announcer, that there are good things around me, that somebody tells a good story about me before I begin. All this is has more significance that what I actually say. Doesn’t that feel awful?” “The failure risk is so high that you who are listening miss 90 per cent of what I say already from the beginning due to what’s known as selective perception. Should we focus on the ten per cent or take the other 90 per cent seriously and make them good, or even fantastic?” Johan Johansson says that understanding how we absorb information is even more difficult. Our brain is a super computer that registers information the whole time. We absorb an incredible amount of messages and consume ten million bits a second. We think it is our eyes and ears that take in everything. “But it appears to be our tactile sense, our second most important sense, which ensures that we can absorb facts. After which comes the ear, nose, odours and finally taste. When awake we consume more than eleven million bits every second. Despite thinking we are rather intelligent, we only manage to absorb 16-40 bits a second, the rest fills up the subconscious and becomes what we call our gut feeling. Should we work with the 16-40 bits or tackle the whole? Eighty per cent of all the decisions we make, we decide upon 2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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â€œHow I say something is three times more important
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JOHAN JOHANSSON | 21
than what I say.”
within twelve seconds. We trust all information that enters our bodies without knowing it.” “We are 98 per cent identical with our closest relatives genetically, that is to say chimpanzees. We must respect that when we hold our meetings. Stop talking and get to work. We must also understand who we are talking to. I’ve learned that from the thousands of people I have in my closest network. The time is ripe for dialogue and interaction and it is, or should be, the end of the meeting as a channel for one-way communication.” According to Johan Johansson it is high time to get used to an influx of new specialist competences if we are to engage with our message. Welcome interaction designers, stylists, anthropologists and set designers! Welcome to a new world of discoveries. The future (read already here) requires innovative and engaging meetings. Meetings with a clear aim and which are built around the demanding and ever-changing demands of a new generation of decision-makers. We do not talk of the future, it is already here. “We’re facing a revolution with regard to general experiences, a revolution that’s driven by the demands of a new generation of decision-makers. The term meetings is dying out, it’s over-utilised and archaic. We’re now entering a time of interaction and participation, along with a deep insight into what participants really need. Stimulating all the senses through unexpected and innovative solutions is the next step. Everything is linked together, and in one vibrating interface between the physical and virtual worlds new and engaging meeting forms will emerge. It’s time to take a whole new grip, without physical limitations. It’s high time to launch gatherings.” Johan Johansson explains than
in a, to all appearances, empty cube, your abilities will be put to the ultimate test. Here, meetings participants will create their own conditions for their meeting. Imagination and creativity will be engaged from the very outset. With three walls consisting of frosted glass surfaces, the wide awake participant will rapidly find the first piece of the puzzle, a multi-coloured cube furthest up on one wall that is solid and appears to consist of peculiar soft blocks. When the first cube has been taken down and investigated, the rest are soon torn from the wall to form the set and the infrastructure for the day’s first meeting. Inside, all the materials are selected with the greatest care. The floor is an innovation in itself; both hard and soft but always pleasantly warm. The technology is invisibly embedded in the naked surfaces and with a simple hand movement the floor is activated to become a digital playing ground for focused development and total participation. Should inspiration and updated information be required, the frosted glass walls become giant interactive screens navigated by eyetracking and simple hand movements. Here the meeting never stands still, new forms and formations emerge at a rapid pace at the same time as the conditions change. We gather in intimate discussions, but turn just as quickly out again to get the very latest insight. Here it is possible to browse through all the world’s information without filters, chat in real time with colleagues from other parts of the world or just change the view from a deep blue ocean to a deep green rainforest. It is we who decide with a whole new meeting format that does everything to open up our sleepy senses. According to Johan Johansson we are facing whole new groupings of people who want to take part in 2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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“… between the physical and virtual worlds new and engaging meeting forms will emerge.”
changing our meetings. Some of the groups we already know about include: 1. Alpha females. Key words: Aesthetic/Empathic/Flow/Dialogue. They have other ways of meeting than alpha males have had. Here, participation rules. They do not ask for meetings unless everybody attends. They do not believe in the concept of only one person leadMEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
ing us in the right direction. They know that companies function better when everybody takes part. 2. X Groups. Key words: Passiondriven/Connected/Less Authority/40 30 20//Work to Live/Studios/Home work. A passion-driven target group that is online the whole time. They always want to have fun. Guys as well as gals.
3. New puritans. Key words: Challenge Growth/New Values/New Hopes/Transparency/Ethics/ Less Materials/Think Ahead. This is about seeing new decors, new forms of meeting with new people. 4. Neo Greens. Key words: Personal & Environmental/Quality/Design-driven/Awareness/Organic. They put much greater demands on the fashion industry. The
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message is simple: do not poison the land and our co-workers. The food we eat should not be filled with meaningless and all too often hazardous additives. Merchants of the world, to arms. A brigade of stylish, eco-aware customers is massing at the gates. And they are ready to spend. 5. Rainbow Youth. Key words: Harley riding grandmas/Value for Time/ Experience-driven/Third Age Sex/Live to Spend. Every second counts. These people want new exciting experiences every minute of the day. 6. Rolodex teens. Key words: Mashup Music/Recycling Trends/ Super Adaptive/ Chop & Change/ Extreme Inside/No revolution/ Just Individualisation. How do get them to create meetings for us? By giving them everything they want. All information is available from us. You already know when, where, how, who and why. This will be a fastidious generation of decision-makers that will we try to redeem. What are the important landmarks? “We who’re from the MTV gene ration say it’s a question of time. Every second of a meeting is vital. We should perhaps glance at the games industry to see how they entice new players. They know that each player can only be on top for four minutes. Is this something we must learn or should we continue with the 45-60-minute sessions eight hours a day?” One thing that Johan Johansson underlines is the need for better focus. The brand of the meeting organiser must also be more visible. As a participant you should feel the DNA from the sender behind the MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
meeting, who ensures that it feels, smells and tastes. At best, meetings are also intelligent entertainment. Here it is possible to see some exciting progress underway. Two worlds become one, that is to say meetings with technology, meetings with the virtual world. Perhaps you should take a break here in the middle of the article and do something completely different? Listen to your favourite music, it only takes a minute or two. Maybe you cannot absorb the content if you do not read the text in one go? Maybe you should fill your lungs with oxygen, take a few dance steps? Take the time to reflect over what you have read so far? Johan Johansson does not hold back on the fact that the meeting industry is the most anti-technology industry that he has ever come into contact with. It is time to find new influences. “Random International is a good example. Check them out. They launched Fiat in London and used magic to attract large crowds. Illusions and lighting technology filled us with wonder and stimulated in a way like never before. Challenging is perhaps the correct word. The limits are within ourselves. Technology = trust. And the key words are interactive, immersive, integrated, illusion, embedded ubiquitous.” That a new world needs new types of meetings is obvious for Johan Johansson, and many agree with him. But how do you approach it? Johan Johansson reacts lightening quick: “1. Break the box, tear down the walls, let the world in. Let the world into your meeting room. 2. Tickle my imagination, let me participate. Let everybody take part. Let our senses be activated. Embraced by impressions. Fragrance, emotion and even more impressions. 3. A 360 experience for all senses.” He returns to the word meetings
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“Break the box, tear down the walls, let the world in. Let the world into your meeting room.”
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“This is the meeting of the future and it’s cool.” having already been fully utilised, and explains that everybody takes part in a gathering, and there is an objective. We should be able to move in time and room to the environments we need. “Why can’t we be in the places we want? Talk with the people we want to? Why do we not stimulate meetings participants to create their own meetings? Unite around issues in which everybody takes part? If we want to create an atmosphere that we need, then let us do that. It’s not all about being involved from the MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
outset and influencing everything from start to finish. Do we want a picture of a deep ocean on the wall? Fine, we’ll fix it. Maybe we want a 1970s New York skyline wallpaper, but for real. Fine, we’ll arrange everything. Away with all the tired rooms that affect the way we think. They create a conformity that makes our meetings square. Away!” “And please, use the new digital technology! Invite who you want to your meeting and do it live. Suddenly we can create exactly what we believe will stimulate our meetings
and our participants. This is the meeting of the future and it’s cool.” How do we get there? “You have to dare, dare, dare! We must not be afraid. At Future Design Days a few years ago we had punk legend Malcolm McLaren as speaker. He was the manager, myth and legend behind Sex Pistols. Malcolm McLaren was magnificent. Even when we fail, he said, we should do it with style. ”You can’t just fail. You have to learn Magnificent Failure. The most flamboyant failure of them all!” π
An island in the middle of the Baltic Sea, but only a 40-minute flight from Stockholm, or a 3-hour ferry journey from the Swedish mainland. Gotland is close. Both to get to and to be on. Yet so exotic that it is hard to believe you are in Sweden. Sufficiently far away to preserve all that is genuine. It has been called a different country, and it is certainly different. Everything feels simple and natural. A venue for creative, exclusive and successful meetings.
The Gotland experience… The unique environment is already discernable on approaching Gotland. Dramatic cliffs and mile-long sandy beaches meet the sea, which is sometimes stormy, sometimes as smooth as glass. The island has an inherent tranquillity regardless of the weather, and you leave all the stress behind you. The barren, eroded and simple are overwhelming. The senses open for new impressions. In such beauty and tranquillity, far removed from the city roar, it is easy to get the inspiration and energy for new ideas and concepts. Once on land you are struck by the stunning light and the Gotlandic colours: the white limestone, the bright red poppy fields, roads bordered by viper’s bugloss and rare orchids, and the sleek green ivy twining up the old ruins and Visby’s impressive ring wall. Gotlandic nature is singular, remarkable and varied. From the sea cliffs, limestone pillars and beaches, to the large wooded areas and moors in the middle of the island. A round trip of Gotland offers endless surprises and you have a constant feeling of discovering something new, something that is your own private experience. Allow yourself to be drawn in and captivated. Even the seasons make Gotland a multifaceted island. The difference between enjoying a beach on a hot summers’ day in July and walking along it in a howling storm creates dynamics. Extremities fascinate and inspire.
Gotland is a very inspirational place, which is clear to see in the cultural offering. Artists, craftspeople, designers, musicians, and others with free and creative lifestyles have all found their way to the island. There is a high level of activity among Gotlanders in general, who are aware and proud of their cultural roots in theChannel English Bronze Age, Viking Period and Middle Ages. FRANCE
Gulf of Bothnia
â€?On Gotland we are experts in activities, entertainment and surrounding events. From intense motoring activities to lyrical moments at sunset. From famous artists to local talent. History, culture and nature, secrets and adventures.â€?
A successful meeting requires more than just good conference premises and functioning logistics. Very few destinations offer such a large variation of quality experiences like Gotland. A broad offering. On Gotland we are experts in activities, entertainment and surrounding events. From intense motoring activities to lyrical moments at sunset. From famous artists to local talent. History, culture and nature, secrets and adventures. Gotland is the ultimate island of discovery with something for everyone, whether that be adventure or dinner in a 13th century ruin. You get help to create a lasting impression through experiences that fortify your brand and guarantee a memorable meeting. In 1995 the Hanseatic town of Visby was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list. What makes Gotland unique is the 3.6 km long ring wall surrounding the old town, the well-preserved street plan, the church ruins and the medieval storehouses. But do not be fooled by the ring wall, stepped gables, roses and narrow alleyways, Visby is a modern town with an excellent offering of hotels, restaurants, meeting premises and shopping. Visby caters for all sorts of meetings, from smaller conferences to large congresses. The town is changing, building and progressing as it has always done, albeit with a certain amount of care, but time does not stand still, it just feels that way. Under the surface it is simmering, but there is a piece of history behind every house corner.
Meetings on Gotland... Gotland has a wealth of experience from managing meetings. The Almedalen politics week, when Sweden’s leading politicians gather in Visby, is a good example of a large annual event. The Gotland visitor industry welcomes 800,000 visitors, which guarantees experience and know-how which, in combination with the island’s geographical location, also vouches for high security. Since time immemorial Gotland has been a meeting place for people seeking new routes. In April 2007, Gotland’s meeting tradition was further bolstered by the opening of a unique meeting arena, Wisby Strand Congress & Event, beautifully located in central Visby with the Baltic Sea as its closest neighbour. Wisby Strand is close to everything: 500 metres to the ferry terminal, 4km to the airport, and a 10-minute walk to most hotels in Visby. Wisby Strand is an extremely flexible meeting location with 13 different meeting rooms, the capacity for up to 1,000 participants and an exhibition area of just over 2,000 sq m. Gotland, the natural place for meetings; between people, between concepts, between cultures. Between sea and land, between now and the future. Large events and small. Possessed by the meeting, inspired by the meeting. The solution is within us.
Gotland Convention Bureau is a non-profit organisation that acts as coordinator between you and your congress arranger/meeting planner and other local players. We sluice you smoothly through to the very best and most suitable providers. We make it simple for you. We offer your company or organisation cost-free advice and support to arrange a successful large meeting on Gotland. Website www.gotlandconvention.se Email email@example.com Phone +46 498 20 17 09/10 The Wisby Strand Congress & Event arena offers 15 superb, well-fitted rooms with excellent acoustics, ventilation and technological equipment, a 2,000 sq m exhibition area with direct access from the rooms, and a restaurant that smoothly adapts to customer requirements. Wisby Strand has the capacity for meetings for 4 to 1,000 people. Website www.wisbystrand.se Email firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +46 498 65 11 00 goGotland is an arranger and a portal of discoveries and activities on Gotland. goGotland follows you all the way from concept to implementation and follow up of your event. goGotland gives you access to the islandâ€™s entire offering of activities, excursions and entertainment. Website www.gogotland.se Email email@example.com Phone: +46 498 21 33 33
”In April 2007, Gotland’s meeting tradition was further bolstered by the opening of a unique meeting arena, Wisby Strand Congress & Event, beautifully located in central Visby with the Baltic Sea as its closest neighbour.”
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“The ‘total’ man is a man whose mental and physical activities form a whole during his lifetime. He does not know the distinction between work and enjoyment. He does not know the dichotomy of town and country created by the division of labour … and he will no longer have to confine himself to only one occupation.” excerpt from late Professor Marek Fritzhand’s writings on Marx’s Ideal of Man
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PSYCHOLOGICAL MEETINGS: Meeting people as a psychologist I now and
then try my best to understand what is going on inside other peoples’ minds. How are they constructing and forming their thoughts? Where do their ideas come from? How are they transforming their mental activities to their behaviour? In order to find the answer I have to conduct a deep interview. Normally there is nothing peculiar
about deep interviews. They could be regarded as serious conversations about quite common human experiences and habits. I ask my curious questions, inviting the other to share his or her thoughts with me. Some of my questions are of course not that easy to quickly respond to. For example: “Could you elaborate on the concept ‘outlook on man’? Could you give me some
examples on your thoughts about man and if your thoughts have undergone any changes from earlier times to the present time?” Questions like these are like a key in the door. The door slowly opens, just a bit, but with space enough to get glimpses of values for an interesting continuation of my work. So, what kind of answers do I get? Different ones from different
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people, but as most of the people I meet live in the Western world they have been raised within the Jewish-Christian cultural spiritual movements. This quite often leads to rather simple and straight replies, such as “Oh, I look upon people as basically very kind-hearted. People are very nice if you just treat them nicely. And I think that a lot of people can create wonders, really!” “Have you always thought that way?” “No, I don’t think so. When I was very young I met a few who were really nasty or just stupid, but nowadays I think that they probably came from poor homes and problem families.” “So your idea is that most people, or all people, are fair and kind if you just treat them in a way that they appreciate?” “Exactly. Do you agree?” Well, do I? And if I do, shall I confirm that I share the other person’s ideas? That depends on the purpose of my investigation. Mostly I want the other to show me his or her cards, while keeping my own close to my chest. But in this text I can afford to be more open. So my answer would be: “No, I certainly do not agree. All people are not kind-hearted and there are lots of people who are not susceptible to nice behaviour from others.” Meeting people. What kind of people? Who are all those people that I see every day, especially on my trips to and from my office, or in the conference or meeting rooms, or during my holiday travels. Who are they? What is going on in their minds? What are their plans for their next steps in life? What do they want, and what don’t they want? All those questions are raised from my interest in humans as biological, psychological, social and, not MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
“Homo Sapiens = The knowing human?
least, political creatures. By political I mean that we are all formed and transformed within our present streams of politically directed influences. They form the overall existing cultural values of today and we are the recipients of all those streams, often without even knowing about it. But during certain circumstances there will suddenly appear islands of resistance, new visions being brought forward, and changes will come. New political systems on the stage, new transformations of our minds resulting in new, bigger or smaller behaviour changes. The society you live in today is certainly not the same as it was some thirty to forty years ago. Society is a dynamic force, always influencing its people – and vice versa. Society is a very complex organisation and so is the individual. Trying to describe the outlook on man is thus not a simple task. How would I reply to the questions that I sometimes pose to other people? How about my own outlook on man? I will try to give a brief outline of my own thoughts surrounding this issue. The single man is not strong.
In recent decades there has been an increase of the general value of highlighting the individual. This has enforced internal mental constructions about the speciality of the single man, the individual person. We “bake off” humans from a recipe, primarily based upon the reminiscence of the American Dream, a cup of the concept Personal Integrity, another cup of the phrase “The Individual’s Civil Liberties”, and a spoon of selected psychological theories of human developmental stages. All these ingredients are mixed together, and the result will mostly become... a mess. The single individual is just as strong as the range of our imaginations. In sudden new and unexpected situations the individual reaches his breaking point much sooner than a group of people. But all of us have our breaking points. Personal feelings of confidence and security are relative. Everything that we describe in terms of basic trust, good emotional balance, stability and so forth could very well become visible in some situations, but could also vanish completely with the wind in other situations.
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Well, not exactly.”
Each individual is always mirroring and reflecting his significant surroundings. With very, very few exceptions we are all formed, not only by society itself, but even more by our close relations to those people that have meant, and still mean, a lot to us. Significant important persons are generally the Father, the Mother, the Siblings, the Close Relatives, the Close Friends, The Spouse, the Important Teacher, and the Important Boss. We are in fact always acting out most of all those fields of relationships that all those significant persons have helped us create. The more united and simplified all those people and their relationships to each other have seemed to us, the more confidence and trust in life it has created. But at the same time, life could appear as rather superficial and very easy, not letting you see all the dangers and threats that also exist. Homo Sapiens = The knowing human? Well, not exactly. Most
humans are unaware of many of their own driving forces and the consequences of their actions. For different reasons we try to avoid a deeper self-insight. This was stated by Friedrich Nietzsche and has since been confirmed by several other scientists. Basically it means that you can never rely on statements about oneself that are now and then proclaimed by certain persons. The sentence “I know myself better than anyone else” is mostly to be regarded as an expression of a wish or a hope, but it is not certain that it is true. It is probably not true at all. Humans are products of the present politically formed culture. This has already been said above. All of us are forced into the melting pot of all invitations of how to be, how to react, how to think, which is taught to us by schools and workplaces, by most of the nuclear families and of course by the mass media; newspapers, radio, TV and the internet. Well, on the web there are of course voices, texts and pictures that sometimes call for something completely different, but as this is quickly diagnosed as abnormal there will only appear a few that really do deviate from the course of normality. The special critical thinking that is a necessity for scientists and a few other professionals is hard to find among the commoners. The ordinary people will always become streamlined and follow the ideas of the time. Humans are not able to perform everything they want to perform, no matter how they try. This is a myth saying that we could do anything we want if we really go for it. Basically we are biological animals who have been provided with certain possibili-
ties, and we differ a lot from man to man. There are very few people who could learn and train to jump over two meters and twenty centimetres, and there are very few who could run 100 metres under ten seconds. There are very few smartallecs like Albert Einstein and Stephen W. Hawking, but there are on the other hand lots and lots of people who still firmly believe that God created planet Earth in seven days some 5,800 years ago. No, it is not possible to become whatever you want. There are biologically determined limits and barriers that are not possible to pass, physically and/or intellectually. Most humans are trained to act as social competitors. At least at present. Our main cultures around the globe are active members of the global competition market, which means that most of us will be taught and trained to seduce or manipulate others in order to gain favours for ourselves. It is an old fight for survival going on out there. The individual looks out for any openings and roads that hopefully will lead to even more comfort, power and glory. We form our strategies for how to behave on the market. We will act softly when this is wished for, and we try to act convincingly when this seems to be more suitable. In this way we are trained to act. Some are more honestly open than others, but not always. Based upon all these outlooks on man I have to state that most people are not to be trusted until they have shown, over and over again, that they have a heart of gold and are able to resist all the crazy temptations of our time. π
hans gordon, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Authorised Psychologist, specialised in Aviation Psychology. Authorised psychotherapist, since 1987 running Gordon Consulting Ltd. Has for decades been engaged by airline companies, among them SAS and Thai Airways International. 2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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a great success since february, all 160 Choice
Hotels Scandinavia have served an ecological breakfast. The hotel chain can now offer an ecological alternative in eleven product categories. In six months the hotels have served three million cups of ecological coffee, close on a half million ecological eggs and around 90,000 litres of ecological milk. The only thing standing in the way of progress is the lack of produce. “Within three years, 50 per cent of all the food we serve will be ecological, guests we always have an ecological alternative,” says Riita Östberg, Marketing Manager at Choice. “We strive to be the hotel chain with the greatest social responsibility.” Choice has purchased ecological products to the tune of more than SEK 10 million. On average, ecological produce is 25 per cent more expensive than conventional. For example, ecological juice is around 58 per cent more expensive than regular juice and ecological eggs around 73 per cent. In addition, ecological produce is seldom suitable for catering as it normally comes in smaller consumer packaging. π
“Change is disturbing when it is done to us, exhilarating when it is done by us.” rosabeth moss kanter She holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School, where she specializes in strategy, innovation, and leadership for change.
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TEXT Fredrik EmdÃ©n PHOTOS Sara Appelgren
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Fredrik EmdÃ©n PHOTOS
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“Hello, and welcome to the meeting. A practical detail before we begin, please turn on your mobile phones. If any of you have a cute ringtone that you think we ought to hear then leave the sound on. Feel free to use your computers during the meeting. Thank you very much. We can now begin, unless somebody has an objection?” get use to it in that case, because
this could be the introduction from a meeting based on Svenska Möten’s new Online meeting model, which is available to all their members. As the name implies, the Online model entails participants being able to search for information, fetch material and communicate with other people during the course of a meeting using their own choice of information technology. It is not limited to the content of the meeting either, but gives participants the opportunity to email and blog on completely different subjects than that being discussed at the meeting. The founder of the meeting model, researcher and consultant Richard Gatarski, has run into many disciples of meeting discipline who regard it as disrespectful not to listen to the person speaking at a meeting. “It depends on how you look at it. Ten years ago I always began meetings by opening my laptop and writing. People looked askance at me. But nobody reacts if I sit and write with paper and pen because we’re used to it.” With this model Richard Gatarski challenges the myth of the importance of total mental presence during a meeting in the physical space. Many strive to ensure that meeting participants are as active as possible, that they do not just sit and cost a lot of money with their skills and ideas
falling by the wayside. Online offers the complete opposite. Or? “You could call it an alternative strategy. Sometimes it’s futile, particularly at longer meetings, to expect everybody to be on top of things and be physically and mentally present the whole time. It’s an impossible scenario. It’s better to relax. Having all these people here is expensive, but not to worry, all those not present at the moment are doing other valuable things instead.” Richard Gatarski singles out a meeting technique that has developed in the past ten years. “Today during breaks people make phone calls. Ten years ago they mingled and spoke to each other. Nowadays people use the break to fix all the things they haven’t had time to do. So it’s a great opportunity to send all those emails during the meeting so you can talk to each other during the break.” What effect could Online have on a meeting? “Satisfied participants, more effective meetings. Imagine a workgroup of seven deciding on an issue then going online for a quarter of an hour. They check all the things they have to do and then link up again without anybody having left the room.” We meet during a break at an IT conference in the heart of Stockholm. On the way I text Richard Gatarski to see if he practices what 2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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he preaches. He does. A minute or so later I get a reply straight from the ongoing meeting, which appears to give Richard Gatarski plenty of legroom to converse with the outside world. “A couple of times at least during the meeting I’ve had the ‘I’ve heard this before, I could be doing MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
something more constructive’ feeling. I can then send some emails, blog or read a paper,” he says. “I was at another meeting yesterday that had no wireless network. It was very frustrating because I wanted to blog about the meeting to avoid doing it later. I wrote it on my laptop instead with the intention of sending later,
but I still haven’t had time.” The new technology and wireless internet has greatly improved Richard Gatarski’s meeting habits. “I attend more meetings now. I’m here today, for example, because I know I can do other things as well. I’ve sat through so many meetings thinking this is just not for me. After a few such meetings you begin to cut down on attending because you don’t want to continue in that vein. I now feel the opposite. It could be interesting, I’ll go along and see. Otherwise I could always do something else,” he continues. Prior to a meeting, the functionary should always resolve the issue of how the online connection can best serve the meeting’s goals and objectives. The main aim is not only to allow participants to be online. There are no specific rules for how the technology should be utilised during a meeting, but Richard Gatarski has set a level: participants could be encouraged to take a more active part if required. Or the functionary could make it clear that ‘everything does not appeal to everybody, use your time to do something else if you so wish’. The new meeting model puts demands on the meeting functionary. “Previously, functionaries assumed they had a good idea of who was actively present at a meeting. It’s common knowledge that people relax and stop taking an active part in a meeting if it’s not interesting. But it’s not possible to see when we’re thinking of something else. Nowadays it’s more obvious because we look down as we use the keyboard. But that doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of presence. “Young people of today are genuine multitaskers who can do several things at once. I’ve tried it on my 12-year-old son. Sometimes I get the impression that he’s not listening
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when he actually is. I’m the same when I’m using my laptop at a meeting. I know that I hear what’s being said, but others don’t realise that and give me a surly look.” Food for thought: do not assume that people are absent just because they appear to be doing something else. Or for that matter that they do not hear just because they are writing. Is it possible to train multitasking? “Quite a lot of people text messages while listening, it’s not at all unusual. But writing notes on the computer while listening is a good thing to train. It’s difficult at first, but I can now write, think, converse and listen simultaneously. I couldn’t from the beginning.” How long will we have to put up with the surly looks? “It’ll probably take up to five years before it’s an accepted custom, but quite a few organisations have already adopted it. In my experience, increasingly more people are using computers during meetings.” Who is guiding the process? “We who want to utilise the new possibilities. If people do it and think it’s worthwhile then it’ll become standard procedure. The price of equipment also plays a large part. Ten years ago laptops were very expensive.” Richard Gatarski recalls an incident from when he was a conference announcer. After an appearance he received a message from a colleague in the audience telling him his microphone was still on. “I’d been half whispering to the person next to me. All the sound had gone out. If I’d not been online it could have proved really embarrassing.” Which tools should one use? “The ones you already have is the simplest solution. Your mobile and laptop. It’s a personal thing, conMEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
“Today during breaks people make phone calls. Ten years ago they mingled and spoke to each other.”
nected people connect as they wish. If somebody wants to blog or even podcast it’s up to them. There already exists a meeting concept based on participants being connected to a system that facilitates discussion and question-asking. It’s a closed system. That model is more expensive and requires more structure than mine. My model is more individual. Set it free, encourage people to test it and see what happens. The premises must naturally provide a
mobile network and internet.” Many conference facilities, whose technology Richard Gatarski regards as being sub-standard, choose not to provide wireless internet for security reasons. “Hole in head,” says Richard Gatarski, who mumbles at having to log on with a username and password in the meeting hall we find ourselves in. “I can access the internet on my mobile phone. Of course they can fix it if they really want to.” π
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she mentions the street again.
That is where it all happens. It is on the street that people meet, trends are born and consumer patterns are woven. It is on the street that authenticity and opinions are found. Shari Swan returns to it the whole time. But the knowledge and ideas of street people are seldom on the agenda when marketing managers, brand strategists and directors meet in modern boardrooms high up in their office complexes to make decisions about a product or concept. Shari Swan has herself sat high above the heads of consumers and made decisions surrounding brands like Mexx and Reebok. Then she MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
started listening to the corridor talk in her hometown university in Amsterdam, where she taught, and realised that students had a completely different view of brands than the companies themselves. For a year she tried to work out how to get these two worlds to meet, to find the shortest route from the street to the boardroom. It resulted in Streative Branding, which she founded in 2004. The word Streative is made up of strategic and creative, which is precisely how the company works. Using strategy and creativity, it provides customised solutions that enable its clients to broaden their perspective in their market segment. Streative
Branding conducts trend analyses, and advises its clients as to the best way of keeping one step ahead of the pack. One of the ideas that Shari Swan had was that of using â€œmolesâ€? throughout the world to pick up on the latest street trends. Today the company has an intricate network for finding the streams and trends of tomorrow. Around the world, in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and even Stockholm, there are paid moles who listen to the latest talk, check out the latest trends and fathom out how consumer patterns are developing. The moles normally work as artists, photographers, designers or in a creative occupation where they
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have the nose for trends. Streative lets them test client concepts or products in reality and asks them to interview people in their respective networks, to then report back to the client. This enables the client to not only see how the product is used, but also how it is evaluated by those who Streative regard as the cream of the creative crop, the people on the street. The company puts a great deal of time, effort and creativity in presenting its ferreted information to its clients. Working in this way, it is not possible to present a trend survey with a bunch of A4s and a PowerPoint-presentation. Instead, the company’s trend reports take on
the shape of a luxury lifestyle magazine. With their love of compounding words they call these reports molezines, or simply magazines. Using colour, shape and design, the company strives to create a feel for the findings and the direction in which the client should take, not just present the information. The same goes for the verbal presentation of the material and how it should be used. The client’s meeting room is not good enough. Instead, they are invited to a Streative Salon Session, where the moles’ work is presented in a creative way. Shari Swan speaks of achieving “mental defragmentation” among meeting participants, and, although
declaring that meetings are not the main forte of her company, she spends months planning them. “Creating meetings is not our forte, we work with trend analyses and design. Our meetings are just a channel, a way to tell a story. But we really like telling stories, and this recurs in all aspects of an event.” Shari Swan arrives almost directly from Miami, where she held a lecture at the Future Trend Conference. She had just popped off to Amsterdam to change her bag. She is now sitting in the lounge of Future Design Days at Stockholm International Fairs, where, in about 4 hours, she will be holding a lecture entitled Dare to Share. 2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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She calls autumn the season of travel and meetings. She is a popular lecturer, which is mainly due to the company’s unique working method, but also thanks to her moles providing her with the very latest information on the trends to come. “It seems like you only need to attend one conference for all the others to form a queue,” she says. Shari Swan’s knowledge is not only in demand at design conferences. The company works with brands like Nike, Estée Lauder, Bacardi and Akzo Nobel. Shari Swan emphasises the importance of design for her lectures and uses a lot of visual aids to get her message across. “I usually do something we call “downloading”, where I unpack a suitcase on stage. It goes quickly and I try to show as much information as possible in a short time, which is also a form of mental defragmentation. People should go away thinking wow, we should do that! I try to create a feeling of urgency through provocation. I sometimes say very extreme things, but it’s just a way of shaking people up and saying come on, there are new ways of doing this.” Are you a provocative person? “I would say so, yes. You have to be if you want to make a difference. And I’m a change agent. I think that when you work for a large company it’s difficult to get information from the street that’s authentic and reliable and then make something good out of it. We talk of looking sideways, which entails telling Nike that Reebok is not their real competitor. If women choose to improve their bodies with plastic surgery instead of working out, then Botox and cosmetic operations are your competitors. They must understand that. It doesn’t necessarily mean that all women do plastic surgery, but they have to understand that this is the message being put across to women. Nike have MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
to be prepared for that and consider how they put across their own message.” Streative Branding tries to convince its clients to change their mass communication to customised solutions, in much the same way as their own working method varies from client to client. Their ‘molezine’ reports hardly have the same template, and are only drawn up in a few copies. “You know yourselves what a magazine costs to produce… This is much more expensive. In addition, it’s customised and directed at design and creativity and contains views on customer behaviour, along with strategies.” Regardless of how much she denies working with meetings, Shari Swan has become an expert at arranging creative meetings. All the work that the company puts into its surveys leads to a Streative Salon Session. “We put months into planning our salon sessions. We have to find the right partners, the right event organisers and production planners who understand the concept. We really want to guarantee that these meetings are something people look forward to attending.” These Salon Sessions, which are occasionally held in public and thus are a think tank for innovators and business leaders, radiate exclusivity and trendiness. All participants receive a small bound book with Streative Salon Sessions printed in gold on the cover and which contains quotes and small illustrations, and space to write own thoughts and illustrations. “Furthermore, all our meetings have a theme and individual invitation cards. We try to create an interesting environment in which to tell our story,” says Shari Swan, who thinks it sounds better to say they create connections rather than
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“Seeing a CEO sitting on the floor with a paint box is not only amusing, it’s also effective.”
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meetings. “Authentic connection to consumers and to the street and reality,” she says. When perfume producer Estée Lauder asked ‘what is happening in the retail trade’, Streative contacted all their moles who then went out and analysed the market. The questions consisted of what Estée Lauder needed to understand with regard to what people and the consumer say about their products, and how the world regard their service levels within the retail trade. The survey resulted in a wish list of items that Streative felt their client should change in their organisation. Because this particular survey was chiefly about design in a store environment as well as in the home, the project’s salon session took place in a real home. The designers made the house look like a store. It was arranged as a studio designed on site in the house to adapt with the report’s concept and theme. Representatives of the client were flown in from all over the world and the evening before the meeting were invited to wine-tasting on a yacht. At the ensuing meeting the participants discussed food, tastes, fragrances, sensuality, retailing, home decor and the trends within these environments. “This is mental defragmentation; taking these people out of their offices and creating an environment where anything is possible. It breathes life into creative thinking and concept forming. Everybody had sat on a plane, we sent them these beautiful invitation cards, we brought in guest lecturers, I lecture, we bring in artists and designers and we promote creativity and say “if you’re going to put effort into store design then do it in a beautiful way.” This is a concept that has been drawn up by designers on how the product can be packaged or bottled,
and sold in unique ways.” “When you supply this information you have to do it in an atmosphere that enhances the chances of understanding the trend. Most commonly it’s in an office or a boardroom where the phone rings and the secretary knocks on the door. This interrupts the concentration levels.” During a project with spririts manufacturer Bacardi, Streative tested aromas and tastes in marketplaces in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Korea. The presentation was located in an environment easily associated with a muddy marketplace in Asia. Bottles were fetched from all
skincare expert Jo Malone we had the company’s own fragrant candles placed everywhere in the building where the meeting took place. We wanted to create a fragrance of lime, basil and mandarin so that people would walk straight into Jo Malone’s characteristic fragrances. The meeting was about creating together; creating together with customers, but also creating in business. So we began by getting the participants to create their own breakfasts. There was fruit everywhere they could use to make smoothies. In the afternoon we held a Moroccan tea ceremony with a Moroccon expert who taught
“Creating meetings is not our forte, we work with trend analyses and design. Our meetings are just a channel, a way to tell a story.”
over the world for the participants to taste. “Doing it in an office wouldn’t have given the participants anything worth remembering. We wanted to create memorable meetings where people could absorb the content of our survey.” What is the most important tool in these meetings? You talk a lot about the milieu, put a lot of time into visual effects and you bring in artists. And of course your own lecturers. Which is the most important? “Sometimes it’s taste. I like to use the five senses. It could be about the food being served, it could be the aroma. When we worked with
them how to blend tea. “We also use PowerPoint presentations, films, actors, sometimes even artists to help paint a concept instead of using the traditional brainstorm. When we create a meeting we try to find something that stimulates all five senses.” A project with network provider UPC went under the name of Home. Streative wanted to show how the significance of the home has changed and that people use their homes in whole new ways with technology providing a completely new experience. Home is no longer a family sitting around a table or watching TV. “We flew lots of people from different parts of the world to Paris 2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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where we arranged a trend round tour so they could see the new products that people have in their homes and the design trends to show how the world has changed. It’s now something quite different,” says Shari Swan. When the group assembled at the hotel on the first evening they were met with “okay, return to your rooms and pack your things, we’re going on a small trip”. “This is where mental defragmentation comes in again. Some were extremely angry; some had just left their clothes to be laundered. They thought they were going to live at the hotel for three days and wondered what was going on.”
take part, but after a few began they soon fell into line. And the remarkable thing is, those who are most negative at the beginning are usually those who get most involved in the end. As soon as they drop their manager masks everything changes and that’s when the fun starts. Putting them in such an environment helps them think in new ways, they modify their old thinking patterns. Seeing a CEO sitting on the floor with a paint box is not only amusing, it’s also effective. They actually created their coming advertising campaign there on the floor.” When Shari Swan holds her lecture the following day at Future Design Days it is clear to see she is
“This is mental defragmentation; taking these people out of their offices and creating an environment where anything is possible.”
But they packed their bags and boarded a bus that took them to a Chateau. They ended up in a cosy environment with an open fire and live music. Shari Swan lectured on trends and then they all sat on the floor together with artists. “They were given the task of drawing what they had heard and transform it into applicable concepts for their company. It got them to think in another way, to brainstorm in a new way. It’s also a teambuilding exercise, but mainly to stimulate creativity and flow. That kind of environment is extremely creative. Far from home and with unabated focus on the task at hand there are few complaints. The conditions for a creative meeting were optimal there. “Of course there were some guys with an attitude who didn’t want to
saving the best for her salon sessions. This is a conventional lecture straight out of the manual, illustrated with images. But the audience listen attentively anyway as she talks about her moles and the trends and consumer patterns just around the corner. They prove to be well suited to the subject of the conference, Dare to Share. Consumers of tomorrow will sit at their computers sharing knowledge, experiences and products. She only touches on the Streative Salon Session very briefly at question time after the lecture. But she underlines its significance. “With the help of artists we strive to show how trends function out in the field. And when the customers themselves take part in the work they see that it not only happens in our reports, but in real time.” π 2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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canadian kevin cottam
reinvents his life every tenth year and has lived and worked in 13 towns and on three continents. He works as a motivator, speaker, facilitator and executive coach for the European commission in Brussels and several north American companies and organisations. Kevin Cottam is also a wellknown choreographer and trainer in the world of figure skating, and is currently working as producer and choreographer for the 2008 Holiday on Ice Show. Intermission is the first chapter of Kevin Cottam’s book Mothers pearls: 27 short autobiographical chapters of aha moments of realization. Read more about Kevin Cottam: www.aspire4excellence.com and www.motherspearlsbook.com
1st Pearl: Curiosity Oyster: Grampian Mountains, Australia I recall, long ago, saying to myself: I want to find my soul My spirit.
when i was nineteen years old,
I travelled to Australia, “Oz,” to teach figure skating. Australia and figure skating may seem an unlikely match, and while it was not a great place for the sport, it was the beginning of a long journey called life. There, I experienced a “call to action,” what American scholar Joseph Campbell would consider part of the mythical hero’s journey. I didn’t realize it at the time, but over the years I have come to know the importance of that moment. For some time before that call,
I had been itching to leave my home in Canada and travel. There was a discomfort, a restlessness inside me. A yearning voice kept gently speaking to me. I wanted quit my training as a competitive skater to explore the world, as so many kids my age did. At that time, it was common to graduate from high school, grab a backpack, and take off. That was my call as well. My journey began down under in Oz. It was the first time I had been so far away from my family and I only knew two Canadian skating coaches there. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions—I was happy at first with this new experience, but there were still lonely and disenchanted times. In Oz, found a place to stay in a charming rooming house by the sea on Ackland Street in St Kilda, just outside of the city of Melbourne. There were several nurses staying there from different parts of the world. One of them astutely felt it her duty to speak to me about culture shock, another taught me Buddhist ways and traditions, another about Christianity, and one even gave me cooking lessons. I was intrigued by the stories of these well-travelled women whose purpose in life was humanity with a capital “H.” I wondered if I would experience the stages of culture shock that they described. The first stage is when all is new and you love the place. The second stage is when a ferocious loneliness settles in and reality hits you to the very core with a voice inside saying, I miss home, family, friends, and familiarity. You begin to find fault in everything
and everyone. It is a time to bolt. Then, during the third stage everything is beginning to be okay as your surroundings become more familiar. The final stage is when you become well adjusted and all is cool with the place and culture. This is when the staying power settles into the soul. Attaining this final stage takes a minimum of a year or even more, depending on your personality and support systems. What were my support systems during these early stages? My father always said that if I got into trouble or felt lonely or lost I could always go to the church. My mother disagreed with this way of being because she felt that I should only rely on myself for support. A short distance from the rooming house was a lovely Anglican church. I met the rector, Reverend Phil, who was a delight. I immediately took a liking to him and his family and they took me under their wings. He suggested I become confirmed in the Anglican Church. I had not been confirmed as a child, and through our discussions, I felt compelled to finish this part of my life’s journey. Reverend Phil guided me through my studies and soon I was confirmed and received my gift, a confirmation cross. I was very happy. Looking back on this experience, I sense now that this was the beginning of me being a born-again Christian. It seems unbelievable to me today, but at that time I was going through stage two of culture shock, so it was probably the best thing that could have happened. My mother had great concerns with me as I wrote home about God, Jesus, and
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the doctrine. My father, on the other hand, was supportive. They held two very different perspectives of the world. One day, Reverend Phil suggested I get involved with a youth group. I did so and made some absolutely great friends and had a lot of fun participating with the singing groups, picnics, and spiritual sessions. It was a superb time that helped me through this very lonely stage of my life. In the summer, I went with the church group to a camp in the Grampian Mountains in western Victoria for ten days. The Austra-
eucalyptus trees towering over us. Two nights before we were to leave the camp, I had heard from others that the last spiritual session would be the “big one.” But no one would tell me what it would be about. My curiosity was piqued, what was the big secret? The leader of our tent took us in his VW bus and drove into the pitch-black and starry night. There must have been about six to eight of us crowded into the van. He began with the talk. It was about sex. Yes, sex, and how incorrect and sinful it was before marriage. Casual sex was just not
Yes, I said, I had made love to a number of women and thought there was nothing wrong with it. I felt it to be a natural extension of our nature, our being, and our evolution. Being married was not a licence for me to then partake of the fruit that life was already presenting to me. I felt when I had made love it was coming from my heart and not from my lustful desires of a youthful teenager. Well, apparently I was wrong in their eyes and I could feel the tension change from everyone in the van. I could sense the heat rising. It was ready to take off. I felt
“Life is without Meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.” joseph campbell
lian wilderness was magnificent. I felt like I was engaging directly with the land and the spirits. At the camp, I met many new and cheery soulful people from all over the state of Victoria. The location was stunning, and I continued to learn about the countryside, the vegetation, nature, and the great outback. Our days were filled with hiking, playing games, swimming, singing, cooking, and lots of laughter. The evenings were spent in spiritual discussion. We even went on a three-day bush walk over the New Year’s holiday. We dodged poisonous snakes, woke up to the yelling of the kookaburras, and saw a few kangaroos, all with the majestic
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right, even with your loved one. He also spoke about the correctness of heterosexuality and the opposition to homosexuality. I recall being taken aback at the forcefulness of this discussion. It just seemed so contrary to all other teachings on kindness, giving from the heart, and seeing all as a reflection of oneself. I remember he began the talk by asking us about our thoughts on premarital sex and if we had made love already. A couple were too shy to say anything and I sensed they had already had premarital sex, but denied it. Others had not had sexual intercourse and said so. When it came to me, I just told the truth.
at the time I was made to feel like a true sinner. I was appalled at what I instantly perceived as hypocrisy. I was doing no harm to anyone, I was telling the truth, I was honest, and that, obviously, was just as punishable. I was told there was scripture that identified my actions as sinful and improper. I remember my stubbornness, but I eventually succumbed to their suggestions and said I would consider the scripture, even though I was doubtful I would change my ways. It was strange how I felt about their reaction. I suddenly felt something just didn’t fit inside of my being. I felt isolated and alone
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for the rest of the trip. I felt a little like I had reverted back into stage two of culture shock. I was in a state of confusion, unhappiness, and, yet again, loneliness. The next day, I was sitting on the lakeside beach and my leader came to me with scripture to show me where it spoke about acts of the flesh and marriage. I realized he was trying to convince me that my beliefs, which I sensed from my heart, were wrong, fundamentally wrong, although I was not judging him or the others for their beliefs. Something triggered inside of me. It was not just this discussion, but I realized that there seemed to be so much doctrine that just didn’t make sense for me. Perhaps I was beginning to see a bigger picture of the world. Was I getting an actual taste of what growing up and culture shock were truly about? I then felt as if I had gone into a time warp; everything went into slow motion. I looked around and saw such wonderful people and I was curious about what were they were really thinking. Were they really honest with their beliefs, values, and actions? And, in fact, was I? I sensed I needed to follow all of them or none of them. I sensed a deeper calling that said this has been wonderful experience, but now I need to discover on my own. This was the kick-start of something greater. It was my “call to action.” I wanted to know the diverse possibilities of life. I wanted to really learn and discover how the lives of other people ticked in the world. The time in the Grampians was still fruitful for me. My bush walk through valleys and up the moun-
tains also gave me time to ponder and expand my ideas. I reflected that the loneliness of stage-two culture shock is actually the valley of learning. We need to rest and savour this valley of learning, and use this opportunity to be curious. From there, we can emerge as stronger people who are able to proceed back up the mountain, to stages three and four. After all these years, I see that this period in my life in Oz was more than just culture shock of moving to a place, but a shock to my inner journey as well. Those nurses were catalysts to change that I would not be aware of for many years to come. These situations redirected my conceptualization of the world and people. It was a tremendous learning experience. My father and mother were both correct in their advice to me during this time in Australia; they simply held different points of view. I am thankful for this experience that taught me about the bigger picture of culture shock and where it was leading me. It shocked me into full action. I never made it to stage four in Oz. Unfortunately, my experience down under ended a year before its time when my father suddenly died of a heart attack. When it happened, my mother said, “Don’t come home yet, but continue to travel and experience life for a little longer.” I did just that. This was the beginning of another part of my journey. In fact, in the traditional sense of the hero’s journey, this was also part of my call to action, and the rest that followed has all been learning. This is when growth began. This is when the seeds began to open.
This is when the river really began to flow. This is where choice comes in. Get curious. After saying my thanks and goodbyes to my friends and Christian brothers and sisters in Oz, I heard this voice inside saying, I want to find my soul, My true soul, My spirit. That is my quest in life. The mountain is high, The valley is low Shaped to support you Like a cradle. Learning takes place there And you take a step, two steps, three Out of the valley And gleefully rising Up the mountain with Power, strength And a chest full of air That sends you into flight. The call to action has been heard and Accepted with fullness of the heart. I want to find my soul, My true soul, My spirit. Discovery When was your “call to action”? Are you curious about life? How important is it for you to be curious in life? What would this curiosity do or give to you? Take a moment to contemplate your curiosities in your life and how you manifest this in your daily activities. Maybe it is time to shock yourself with your wisdom and take action on this shimmering pearl. π
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BUSINESS MEETINGS MANAGEMENT dalarna university in Swe-
den offers a Masters in Business Meetings Management (BMM) 60 points. The programme comprises of four theoretical and one applied course. The theoretical parts covers everything relating to management concepts surrounding business meetings. The applied part gives students the chance to put their freshly learned theoretical knowledge into practice back at their companies and organisations. Sustainability issues are a recurring theme. All teaching is in English. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
On completing the course the student shall: – have the capacity to identify and improve the efficiency of their business meetings and meetingsrelated travel, through, among other things, increased interactivity between participants. – be able to draw up strategies and guidelines for corporate management relating to these issues. – be able to purchase meetings and travel services.
– be able to purchase IT-based systems and understand how they are integrated with the business process. – have the capacity to draw up procedures for meetings and business travel, and be able to implement them in their business organisation. – be able to formulate a research problem and communicate it both verbally and in writing at a high level. π
THE PLACE TO MEET IN SCANDINAVIA Stockholm International Fairs is the leading organiser of fairs and meetings in the Baltic Sea Region. We manage 60 industry-leading exhibitions as well as around 100 national and international congresses, conferences and events annually. Every year we welcome 10,000 exhibitors, 1.5 million visitors and more than 8,000 journalists from all over the world. Welcome to Stockholm International Fairs! www.stockholmsmassan.se
CREATING PERFECT MEETINGS
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Fredrik EmdÃ©n PHOTOS
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when communications and
event company Inspiration in Stockholm talks about ‘meetings with meaning’, there is a double message. On the one hand, their meetings and events are carefully prepared and well thought-out so as to be experienced as serious and meaningful. The company begins advanced planning up to a year ahead of its projects. On the other hand, meetings with meaning also means that, from a social perspective, their input is full of good activities that satisfy the needs of the participants while promoting the client’s brand. When companies take the responsibility to become engaged in social issues it goes by the name of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). “The effect of CSR is fairly straightforward; it‘s gratifying for those who perform it. In addition, we get an understanding of the destination we are at and of issues that might otherwise fall by the wayside. In a marketing sense, it helps us feel part of a good team, which everybody appreciates,” explains Jonas Bodin, CEO of Inspiration, a company founded in 1999 by former footballers Jonas Bodin, Anders Limpar and Tomas Antonelius. “I have always been involved in the meetings industry in one form or another. I’m not one for making things more difficult than they need
to be. I want to do things my way and we started doing that in 1999. The aim was to make things run as smoothly as possible,” continues Jonas Bodin, who has played football at the top level for Brommapojkarna and the Greek club Kalamata. Inspiration makes a point of not having a specific niche, but sees itself as a broad-based and long-term partner for its clients. “We spend a long time with the client to assist them with everything they may need, even during periods that are not very profitable or when projects are very complex. We work long-term rather than for a niche market, which means that we don’t actually specialize in anything. We arrange what our clients want. We’re project leaders and we like logistics. That’s our foundation.” This entails the company being involved in everything from administration to speech training and film production. Any knowledge that is not in-house is soon picked up from the outside. A large proportion of the clients, 93 per cent, are returning customers. The company has a workforce of 14, an annual turnover of SEK 50 million and implement around 140 projects a year. This autumn Inspiration opened an office in Norway. Another will open in Finland after New Year and in Denmark later in the spring.
“Many of our clients work with the Nordic and Baltic regions, so we help them on the Nordic level to arrange homogeneous events, but with a local touch.” Events and meetings with CSR activities have been part of the company’s offering for a year. Ideas floated include planting trees in the Canary Islands and building a school in Senegal, but they could just as well stay put in Sweden. CSR is a global concept. “At the moment we’re looking at the possibility of building a school in Senegal on behalf of a client, but we’re still in two minds as to whether to go through with it. We’re ready and the school’s ready, but the client has a training programme to get through. But if a window opens, we’ll do it.” “It’s important to not go and see people in misery because it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Rather like shanty town tourism in South Africa, and that’s not pleasant.” But an activity does not need to be based on the other side of the world to incorporate CSR thinking. “Actually, we can be anywhere. In Stockholm we know, for example, that the City Mission needs new park benches, which our clients can build over a pre-dinner drink and canapés.” At almost all meetings there is an
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intermission where the programme is interrupted for activities between two parts of the programme or while waiting for dinner. “Today such activities are commonplace on all educational courses and are not to be belittled because many times they fit in. Instead of building a soapbox car that you ride around the corner and throw on the tip, you could build that bench and give the money to the City Mission or the Red Cross.” But it could just as easily be about supporting a local association or sporting event. “If you have a meeting, say in the Närke area, you can contact a sports club there and let them manage the activity. Thank them for their time by paying them a small allowance. It’s not high-pressure marketing, but it creates a positive feeling for everyone involved and they will talk about it.” Jonas Bodin has no way of knowing exactly what a good meeting signifies for a client. According to their own measurements, CSR activities are generally seen as positive and contribute to the feeling of a good and positive meeting. “Yes, we get those signals. But I’ve also seen that it bolsters the group in a deeper sense than if it were done through games. An activity becomes a social process and the group gels, which is difficult to measure.” Is the commitment already there or are you referring to what the client can achieve? “Initially the commitment is all ours. It’s not in the client’s mindset when we sit down to discuss the content of a meeting.” How do clients react when you tell them about CSR? “Positively. They say, ‘Of course we’ll do something like that.’ But a lot has to come together for it to be good. It must be perceived as MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
good. It can’t be mediocre, in which case it’s better to opt out. None of those we work with, such as the Red Cross, Save the Children or the City Mission, want disruption in their activities. What we want to do should fit very well, both into their schedule and with what we do, which makes it difficult for them to implement on their own.” How do you find projects? “A number of the companies we work with have a CSR policy or give money to some cause. We have an affinity to such organizations, because they have an interest in or passion for something. It need not be humanitarian; it could be an environmental action. I like to fish, so we can help clean up the Baltic Sea. We can find something that the client is interested in. But it comes down to their involvement forming a foundation, otherwise we can’t do much.” “On the environmental side, most companies have someone they collaborate with. We only look to give them a idea if they have nothing themselves. It’s best to use what the client already has in the way of established contacts and so on so that they feel at home. But they don’t think about ideas they could use in an event. Most have some idea, but it’s not firm in their minds.” So you bring the ideas to light? “Yes, basically.” According to Jonas Bodin, CSR is in its infancy in the meetings industry but is not just a trend. In just a few years this type of activity will have multiplied tenfold. Many parameters will become mandatory and clients will not hesitate. His communications and event company has already integrated CSR as a natural part of their operations, despite it not being a niche product. They have, for instance, had surplus sent food to the City Mission. “We work with companies that
have large marketing departments or distributors who are very familiar with events. They’ve done quite a lot and ask us to look at things they’ve not done before, which suits them to the ground just because they haven’t done it before. Nothing surprises them anymore.” If you look at the other elements of a meeting, not just the activities, how great an interest is there in working according to the CSR concept? “Not so great, I would say. However, I believe that HR may play a more important role in the marketing of the company than at present. Companies in the same industry and roughly the same size estimate the same budget to advertise themselves. But a workforce as a positive messenger is an untapped source. The impact of this has not been measured. We are moving towards more humane business. It doesn’t stand in the way of the decisions to be made.” Are you trying to influence clients to act CSR-friendly in other parts of the meeting? “To some extent, where it works, but then there’s the logistics to consider. Making a meeting all environmentally-friendly is complex and there’s a risk for the final outcome being the same anyway. If, for example, fifty clients travel by car to a meeting at an environmentallyfriendly plant, emissions from the cars are likely to eradicate any environmental benefits. It’s not then worth much, who thinks about that?” Is there an awareness among clients to bring these issues to the surface? “No, I don’t think so. There should be, but at the same time I don’t think it’s something one should brag about. It’ll soon be a natural thing. Two things are important at the moment: presenting a good quarterly report and being good by
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considering the environment. But the majority of companies will soon be onboard and we will then find something else to enter on the quarterly report. One can only hope that the environmental issue is so deeply rooted by then that it’s an integral part of all operations.” What will the market look like in five years with CSR integrated into events? “I would think that most large companies have tested it. Some are actively working with it, but all have tried it. And then you can estimate yourself how much money has been brought in for good things.” Have you estimated how much money you have made through good things? “No, no.” Why not? “It’s not our money. We can plant the idea, but it’s the client who chooses to put their money there. Moreover, only a small percentage of our projects have the explicit mandate to support CSR from start to finish. However, we have the opportunity during a project to spice it up with a CSR event. We will gladly come up with ideas for the client. We like good things. But there’s no money in it for us. So we have no goal there.” But it makes you competitive. “A short while, maybe. But it doesn’t affect our daily business of bringing in projects. It shows creative heights or willingness to go beyond the usual track. We do not want a niche as the best event agency.” Will we see the fair trade event agency? “No, I don’t think so. However, it’s as important to us as anything else as a requirement of how to act. We will definitely be on the good side. If we can rise to something right, it’s great.” π
“Making a meeting all environmentally-friendly is complex and there’s a risk for the final outcome being the same anyway.”
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Skåne Once upon a time there was a meeting planner who had heard that in the southern province of Sweden there was a treasure chest, the contents of which had long been kept a secret. So the planner was taken by surprise when she was unexpectedly invited to a round tour of the closed province, where she was met by a broad offering of golf courses and stately homes all packaged in a varied landscape with sea on three sides. The climate was also mild, distances short, the meeting season long and the cuisine came from local produce. At last, thought the meeting planner. It remains to be seen whether there is sufficient knowledge among the companies there to contribute to raising the quality, content, learning skills, outcome and long-term copenhagen planning of our meetings. Perhaps malmö there is also a meeting strategy? Resolutely she picked up the telephone...
Golf meetings Skåne golf is now going international. Packaged with start times, travel, accommodation and food — and easy to book for travel agencies, meeting planners and private golfers alike. Many of the region’s best golf courses take part in the project, likewise 25 of Skåne’s best restaurants, many with hotel and overnight accommodation. The entire project is quality assured. The following criteria must be met: A minimum full length 18-hole course with par 70 or more of a high standard, training possibilities in the shape of a putting green and a driving range, balls of a certain quality, changing rooms for women and men, reception with English-speaking staff, fully licensed restaurant open until 8pm, nearby meeting facilities for at least ten people, PGA instructors available for coaching, English website.
Skåne tastes Give your meeting participants a taste of Skåne, a culinary experience to fuel their taste buds, and your meeting. You will get all the help you need from Culinary Skåne, a project embracing 25 restaurants throughout Skåne. The aim of the project it to preserve and develop Skåne food, and provide non-Scanians with inspiration and culinary delights. Just consider the raw produce thriving in the Skåne soil: potatoes, asparagus, cep, corn chicken, tomatoes, root crops, herbs, game such as deer and wild duck, fruit and berries… to name but a few. See the restaurants at www.skanskamatupplevelser.com
Malmö The new Malmö is renowned for its sustainable urban development and as a Fair Trade City. The next goal must be a Clean Tech City, a town with a unique environmental technology profile in which economic, social and ecological sustainability collaborate. Multicultural Malmö = design, there are many who say that. The Turning Torso landmark in the new Western Docks district is one of Europe’s most notable buildings. At the summit are several floors designed for the more exclusive meeting. The town also has a history, with stunning medieval buildings and a street culture beyond comparison in the rest of Scandinavia.
Arenas Malmö Arena [www.malmoarena.com] has the aim of becoming the region’s best and most popular venue for fairs, conventions, seminars, courses, conferences, product launches, etc. The arena has all the prerequisites for providing customised solutions in a broad offering of events. It has 30 sq m lodges for small groups, 70 sq m for slightly larger groups, and congress facilities for 3,000 people. The arena’s inner area is 3,300 sq m and the entire building is 51,000 sq m large with six floors above ground and two below. In addition, and as an extra plus when choosing a venue for your company event, it has a catering capacity for everything from small orders to the largest banquet in the region. Next year sees the opening of Malmö FF’s new football stadium and the meeting arena Swedbank Arena. Following this, Malmö will be getting a new congress hall incorporating several hotels and in just a few years it will boast a new trade fair facility. The town is already equipped for all types of meetings: corporate meetings, association meetings, and, not least, large events. It will host the 2011 Handball World Championships, the 2013 Ice Hockey World Championships, the under 21 European football Championships, and a host of other events.
Easy to get to Malmö is just a bridge span, that is to say 12 minutes, from Copenhagen Airport. From other parts of Skåne and the rest of Sweden it is easily reached by rail, air or road. If you arrive by ferry from Germany or Poland, the Europe roads are well signposted and Malmö is no more than a 45-minute journey. If you arrive at Copenhagen Airport, the easiest way is to take the Öresund train over the Öresund Bridge to the heart of Malmö. If you arrive at Malmö Airport, airport coaches run frequently between the airport and the heart of Malmö. The close vicinity to Copenhagen Airport and Malmö Airport, and the vital Öresund Bridge link, speak for themselves: Getting here couldn’t be easier!
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every meeting should be a good meeting,
be it an information meeting, decision meeting or any other type of meeting. But what does a good meeting mean? The obvious answer is good results. Good meetings solve their task and deliver good results, which is the reason for assembling people in the first place. Examples of desired results include information efficiently conveyed, good decisions made, or new plans developed. Good results are necessary but may not be sufficient, particularly in the long term. The process for producing them should also be good. Participants should feel that the meeting itself was worth the time and effort. It should be perceived as valuable, stimulating, and fun. People should leave the meeting with new energy and insight. Knowledge has been shared, participants have been seen, and ideas, initiatives and opinions listened to. Competences and skills have been put to good use. The process has been fair. Good, fair, and energetic processes motivate people to also make the next meeting a good one in a positive and continuous spiral. Meetings differ with regard to task, participants, and context. Therefore, delivery and outputs from meetings also varies, not least over time. In contrast, the culture is long term, and will influence how valuable and effective meetings are in the long run, and as a tool in daily practice. Meeting culture is
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more than just a central part of organizational culture; it also contributes to the culture. If the meeting culture is characterized by a consistent focus on improvement and innovation as well as respect for creativity and personal skill; if collaboration, knowledge sharing and constructive interaction are emphasized – then this will spread to other activities outside of meetings. Creative meetings. Creative meetings – ah, the energy, the excitement, the joy that these words convey! But what are creative meetings? Why are they important? And how do meetings become creative? Let us discuss these basic questions one by one. But first a few words on terminology. The heading of this article is Creative Meetings. Some readers may think that terms such as effective meetings, or innovative meetings, or productive meetings may be more appealing. The designation creative can sometimes, by some people and in some contexts, be regarded as something that can be done during leisure time, or when everything that “really needs to be done” is done. However I will not abandon the term Creative for several reasons. The first is that creative meetings are productive, innovative and effective. Second, innovation starts with creative ideas (that are then refined, tested, developed and eventually implemented) and innovation is critical for success – hence creative meetings are a very core priority, not an optional side activity. Third, meetings are critical for motivation, culture and sharing of knowledge. What, Why and How
My definition is that something new is created during the meeting, MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
something that did not exist before the meeting. It may be an idea, a new hypothesis, and a novel solution to a problem. It may also be an interpretation, procedure, or strategic decision. The second aspect is that “The new” is created, developed and materialized through interaction between people. Creative meetings are special. In creative meetings people are willing to contribute with their unique ideas and opinions, motivated to share knowledge and listen to the views and initiatives of others, and are committed to build and develop in interaction with other people. Therefore, aiming at creative meetings, rather than “just” good meetings, reflects an enhanced ambition. Yes, such meetings are special – and are therefore valuable.
Studies have shown that innovation is consistently included as one of the top priorities of companies throughout the world. Creativity has a direct relationship to innovation, not only for generating original ideas, but also for developing and materializing novel solutions and initiatives to concrete innovation. Creative meetings are a central and core aspect in organizational life; they are not something odd, extra, or fun that may happen when “everything else” is done. A good meeting culture is also important for image and brand. To be known and respected as an organization for good, creative and effective meetings is not a trivial aspect; on the contrary, it is of huge importance for: · attracting and developing new talent and competences · relationships with customers, contractors, and owners · partners
Considering the emergence and use of new concepts of innovation and development, such as open innovation, and the role of businessto-business-transactions, meeting culture and quality will be increasingly important. Good and creative meetings are also important for motivating and
CREATIVITY | 83
energizing people in an organization. Further, good meetings show, in concrete practice, the value of good leadership.
Inviting the right people. Having the “right” participants is of paramount importance. It is the ideas, energy,
and competence of people that make a meeting exceptional. Without the right people, the task will not be solved in a good way and the meeting will not deliver expected results. But which people should be invited? If possible, representation of specific functions or organizational units should not be the only criteria, and
perhaps not even the main criteria. It may be necessary to secure representation to some extent, but important aspects to consider are: · who likes to contribute, discuss, interact, build and improve? · which people have the creative and interactive mind set? 2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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are just as important in selecting a short list for further evaluation, refinement, and testing. Also, creative meetings should include, and actively build, a clear link to action. In the long term, having only feel-good meetings, without concrete action and results, is not sufficient.
The overlap between good results and good process is a synergetic area, highly dynamic. Context, leadership, and culture constitute the basis and framework for meetings.
· who is good at challenging ideas, statements and assumptions, without focus on personal issues? The number of participants. There should be enough people. Two or three people may work efficiently but not necessarily effectively. There needs to be enough people so that objections and alternative views can be expressed. Also, with too few people at hand, the diversity in terms of attitude, personality, talent, and experience may not be sufficient. In my experience, somewhere around seven to eleven people tend to be a good group size. A larger number of people may translate to even more ideas, solutions and attitudes at hand — a broad and hopefully diverse palette — but larger groups often require more structure and effort. For example, by breaking up in smaller workgroups, which then reassemble and discuss in the larger group.
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
Interaction and collaboration. Interaction is the purpose of a meeting, the very reason for calling people to a venue. Therefore interaction should be encouraged, facilitated and supported – and factors that hinder interaction should be reduced. One example is limiting one-way communication. It may be necessary to communicate facts, give an overview of an opportunity or a problem, or provide context to a task – but such presentations should not occupy all or most of the time. There must be time for discussion and true interaction. Understanding dynamics and processes. Creative processes usually encompass divergent phases where ideas spin out in every possible and impossible direction but also convergent processes, where ideas are sorted, compared, and ranked. The divergent processes are often fun and energetic but convergent phases
Use of creative techniques. In my experience, creative techniques are not used as much as they ought to be. Such techniques are fun to use, they lead to results, and make the task easier, both for the meeting leader and the participants – a true win-win situation. It is advisable to learn a few techniques really well, and gain experience from them. In particular, it is valuable to find out which techniques that work well for different tasks, groups, and contexts. Discussing a “working contract”. Many meetings are part of long-term work, for project groups, functional units, or collaborative undertakings. For such reoccurring meetings it may be beneficial to discuss a “contract” for how to work. It should preferably be done early. The goal is to define and agree on working principles that will make the participants want to contribute and collaborate, and feel stimulated to produce good results, while feeling at ease and enjoying the processes. To describe behaviours that are not acceptable may be tough but also very valuable. Later on, it may be easier to refer to the agreements made in a less personal and more neutral way. Discussing working principles may be valuable also for one-off meetings and could well improve the chances of the meeting leading to something more; a good first-time meeting may be the start of a long-term collaboration.
GÖTEBORG Just around the corner Göteborg, on the Swedish west coast, is a buzzing city hosting major international meetings, events and concerts. Home to Scandinavia’s largest all-inclusive convention centre, as well as world-renowned trademarks, cuttingedge industries, universities and award-winning chefs. Everything is within walking distance and the captivating archipelago is only a tram ride away. In the past Göteborg has hosted several large congresses and examples of upcoming congresses are the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology as well as the International Symposium on Air-Breathing Engines that are already on the agenda for 2009, 2010 and 2014, respectively. Take your meeting to a city where professionalism, quality and pleasure come as a standard. Direct flights connecting from more than 50 European destinations
8,600 hotel rooms in central city
”Göteborg is the event capital of Europe” Professor Donald Getz, Event Management & Event Tourism, University of Calgary, Canada
”Göteborg is probably the city in Sweden that has the best ability to welcome major international arrangements and to do this with such generosity that also the visitors feel at home.”
Wide range of conference venues with a capacity between 200 - 9,000
Göran Persson, former Prime Minister of Sweden
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Strong joint commitment between authorities and the business community to support major events ”Among the 10 most attractive destinations in the world.” The Independent, UK
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Meeting dynamics. A meeting represents a potential, in terms of the creativity, skill, and experience of the participants. That potential should be realized as fully as possible. In order to do so, people must be motivated to contribute, and feel free to debate. Hence, meeting dynamics have a crucial role. One central principle is that the inherent value and quality of ideas and opinion is what counts, not the position or rank of those who deliver them. The communication in creative meetings should be horizontally oriented rather than vertically when ideas and opinions are expressed, received, and discussed. Hierarchy or inappropriate use of power must
not hinder interaction and collaborative initiatives. A climate of trust and good leadership are key factors in this context.
learning experiences and a vital part of skills enhancement. The role of meeting facilitation is increasingly recognized.
Meeting facilitation. As discussed above, good results obtained through good processes are the hallmarks of good meetings. To achieve these goals, understanding of group dynamics and professional use of creative techniques are of special value. An experienced facilitator can assure structure and focus on tasks, while securing space for creative latitude and flexibility. That is not only a recipe for good results but also to make meetings fun and energetic and enhancing their value as
The culture-bearing role of meetings. Last but not least, I would like to again emphasize the culturebearing role of creative meetings, because of the value in long term perspective, for image and brand, and for energizing and motivating people. Also, because the right culture is conducive to good, original and innovative results. Ď€ I would like to thank Michael Sefcik for his kind help and valuable comments.
jan rollof has written several books on creativity, and also a book about effective meetings. He is associate professor, University of Lund, Lund, Sweden.
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
Does this sound familiar? You need to put on an unforgettable conference, but there’s a tight schedule, little free time and everything has to go like clockwork. Estonia is still a relatively undiscovered country, at least as far as the international travel market is concerned. That means you’ll be giving conference goers their first glimpse of an exotic, new destination that’s chock full of surprises, from the historic, fairytale charm of Tallinn’s Old Town to the natural beauty of the country’s primeval forests and rugged seacoast. Thanks again to Estonia’s small size, there are possibilities that just don’t exist in most Western European countries. How about holding a gathering in 13th century monastery, or playing soldier in an abandoned Soviet military base? Do you want to have your conference in the national opera house? Just make the booking! There are also some unforgettable places to unwind. Restaurants cover the whole spectrum, from elaborate, Medieval-style to folksy Russian to cutting-edge fusion. You can even find a beer hall built into an old gunpowder cellar. And health-minded visitors can pick from the many newly-built spas around the country – they offer casual massage and beauty treatments as well as full packages with room and board. Finally, those who want to escape civilization will be happy to know that once you get just a few kilometers outside Tallinn, you can be utterly alone, with just the trees and birds for company. A more peaceful setting is hard to find in today’s Europe.
In a case like this, smaller really is better. Small means quick transfers and personalized service. Small means your event won’t get swallowed in the crowd. Estonia is the ultimate boutique destination – a cutting-edge European country, packed with history, where everything you need is within easy reach. After breezing through the airport, your group can be in the heart of Medieval Tallinn in the blink of an eye, while the other two main conference towns – the university-oriented Tartu and beachside Pärnu – are an easy two-hour bus ride away. Better still, the cities themselves are compact and walkable, so instead of navigating subways or sitting in traffic, your participants can be using their time discussing, sightseeing and shopping. That’s why Estonia is your small and easy destination. It’s intimate, it’s efficient and most importantly, it’s hassle-free.
Small & Easy means … Compact cities Estonian cities have small, compact centres. That means the interesting sights, restaurants, cafés, shops and day spas are all within easy walking distance. You can pamper your delegates without the headache of organizing transfer buses or taxis.
Population: 1.36 million
Area: 45.000 km2
Capital: Tallinn (403.000)
EU Member since 2004
Schengen Country since 2007
Currency: Eesti kroon
1 EUR = 15,65 EEK (fixed)
small & easy Central hotels Modern business hotels are also clustered right in the downtown areas, conveniently close to meeting spots and restaurants. There are plenty of options in the 3–5 star range, so there’s something for everyone to choose.
Quick getaways Nature areas in Estonia are never far away, no matter where you are. If you want to escape civilization and hold an incentive program in the middle of the forest, you can be there in as little as ten minutes.
Connected delegates Free wireless internet is available in nearly all hotel rooms, not to mention at the airport and in restaurants, pubs and cafés throughout the cities. Delegates can check e-mail and stay in touch wherever they are. Just turn on your laptop! Estonia is one of the most wired-up – and wireless – places on the planet. This is, after all, where Skype was invented, where E-government made its worldwide debut and where pretty much everybody pays for their parking via mobile phone.
Getting here is a snap Most major European cities are less than two hours away by air. Once here, delegates arriving from inside the Schengen zone won’t even have to bother with passport or customs checks. After breezing through Tallinn’s compact airport – revamped in 2008 – they can be in the city centre in just ten minutes. The latest information on flights and airline companies can be found at www.tallinn-airport.ee. Estonian Air, Estonia’s national airline, provides direct air links between Tallinn and destinations throughout Europe, and in cooperation with its international partners it serves more than 100 cities worldwide. For information and reservations visit www.estonian-air.com.
Hassle-free borders Estonia is part of the Schengen visa zone, so most delegates won’t have to bother with customs or passport checks when arriving and departing. Accessible locations Thanks to Estonia’s small size, organizers can cut through bureaucracy and hold events in some unusual and historic places. All doors are open, from old churches, to castles to former military sites. Want to book a 13th century monastery? How about a Baroque palace?
Enterprise Estonia, Estonian Tourist Board Liivalaia 13/15, 1011 Tallinn, Estonia Tel +372 627 9770, Fax +372 627 9701 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.visitestonia.com
Estonian Convention Bureau Viru 19, 1148 Tallinn, Estonia Tel +372 645 0086, Fax +372 645 0057 E-mail: email@example.com, www.ecb.ee
meetings · incentives · conferences · events · congresses · exhibitions · special interest groups Åre +46 647 106 90 +46 702 34 92 40 Stockholm +46 8 501 650 97 +46 706 09 33 98 GöteborG +46 706 00 90 22
travel 路 transfers 路 activities 路 entertainment 路 dining
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MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
Tomas Dalstrรถm PHOTOS
2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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MIND CHECK | 97
the meeting industry can-
not afford to rest on its laurels in mediocrity, it has to niche itself and focus on excellence. These are the words of Karl Ryberg, psychologist and architect, and specialist in how colours affect us. He runs a company in Stockholm called Monocrom that provides a colour consultancy service to the industrial, media and fashion sectors. In what ways can sellers and buyers of meetings benefit from knowing how the brain functions? “Choosing a room with the right colour scheme will enhance creativity, competitive spirit, swiftness, inner security, and much more. Wrong colours will do the opposite.” Could you be more explicit? “It’s a tale of two extremities. For example, the Lego head office in Denmark decided to use the Lego colours of red, blue, white, yellow, etc. But it was too overwhelming for their employees who couldn’t work
there. Red causes muscular contraction and a faster heart rate. On the other side of the scale is white, white and white. I was engaged by a company that wanted a makeover of their workplace. Sick leave was very high due to the almost completely white colour scheme. When the white was complemented with a few bright colours, the sick leave fell appreciably.” The standard decor in an advertising agency is white walls, white furniture, and in the meeting room a white superellipse table with white Myran chairs. Would the people there be more creative with brighter colours? “Yes, but they have to know what they’re doing. Maximum and optimum are not the same things. A maximum of base colours is not optimal. And minimum and optimum are not the same things either. The agency’s minimal colour scheme is not optimal for the brain. It’s always about a reasonable use of colours.”
It sounds like the difference between a grey November day and a sunny day in July. “It’s really that simple. Colours are visual vitamins, and sunlight is the best light we have. In November we need colour and light. Depressions increase at that time. Nature’s green foliage, particularly in spring, helps us to feel at ease. Why do colours have such significance for us people? “If the brain doesn’t receive colour and light it becomes depressed. This especially concerns the old reptile brain, which is the body’s largest hormone producer. It houses the pituitary gland, which affects the biological clock, appetite, sleep patterns, and a host of other functions. Colour and light are vital in this process.” Colour and light? “That which we perceive as colour is actually reflected light, thus the importance of choosing the right lighting. Cheap lighting gives washy
“The rebirth of colours could be seen as a reaction to minimalism.” 2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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colours. A certain amount of light is required, and of quality to bring the best out of the colours. It’s the luminance behind the colour that gives its effect. Light sends impulses via the eye to the hypothalamus and pineal gland to get the various hormonic systems working.” How does my brain react when I enter a small meeting room or a large congress hall? “The first thing your brain registers is light or darkness. We’re drawn to reasonable amounts of light, after which the brain looks for colours. Next comes gestalting. Here the brain registers faces, skin, objects, text and images, in that order. We notice living things quicker; people and plants before, for example, fixtures.” Which colours do we react quickest too? “Red is the colour of blood. We register red in 2/100ths of a second and violet in 6/100ths. The larger the wavelength, the quicker the brain reacts.” And the brain takes 25/100ths of a second to register three words in this text. “They’re rapid processes and the brain quickly forms a notion as to whether it’s good or bad, pleasant or dreadful, indifferent or a total bore. It’s not certain that those sitting in a meeting room know why they feel negative vibes. It’s normally subconscious. But a good communicator would know what to do to create the optimal conditions for a meeting.” Do you see a person who sales or buys meetings as a communicator? “Yes, what otherwise? Their work is solely to create communication. I lecture a great deal and sit in a lot of meetings. It’s almost depressing to see the limited knowledge of the effect of colours on meetings participants.” In the previous Swedish edition of Meetings International, AcoustiMEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
“Red is the colour of blood.
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We register red in 2/100ths of a second and violet in 6/100ths.”
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“Nature’s green foliage, particularly in spring, helps us to feel at ease.”
cian Lennart Tunemalm said that acoustics are not seen so are therewith not important. But one forgets that communication is auditory to the highest degree. Why do so many find it difficult to emanate from the brain? “I often meet this resistance in the companies and advertising agencies I work with. But when I sit down and discuss it with them face to face they usually understand how important it is.” What do you say? “That colour and light underpin different behaviours. We are more verbal in yellow rooms; yellow makes us alert and attentive and we think more clearly. Green signals health and relaxation; it’s used by wellness companies and is the colour of the Swedish chemist’s logo. Green can be used in a reception or to create a more informal atmosphere. Blue is the colour of night; a time-out colour that signals rest. Blue has impacted the entire relax industry. It’s also the most popular colour in the world.” I have heard that orange is good for creativity. “It is, but orange walls are too heavy. You get the Lego effect that I mentioned earlier. Use different enhancers instead, like cushions, a single armchair or fabrics. Lime is a colour that really peps up. It’s my favourite colour; it gives the feeling of spring having arrived.” How come lime green is so popular in hotel rooms and meeting rooms, and who decided that? “Trendsetters meet to decide the latest colours in order to ensure that everybody in the business has a chance to prepare. Lime green broke through in 1997. Before that the name lime green didn’t exist in Swedish. We said lindblom green, pea green or poison green. Pre1997, lime logos were unheard of, today it’s in the logos of quite a few 2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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“Orange is taken by the Netherlands football team and Ireland’s Protestants.”
well-known brands. You can also see cycle messengers and joggers in lime green.” What other trends are there? “The rebirth of colours could be seen as a reaction to minimalism. Turquoise, violet, orange and lime have become our new trendy colours.” Which colours do we look at intuitively? “Red, blue, green and yellow; loud colours attract most looks. Orange, violet, turquoise and lime attract fewer looks. But it’s also about the feelings that colours provoke. Today’s trendy colours are fresh and have a positive radiation.” MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
What role have colours played in the survival of the human race? “When the first people looked for something edible, their brains searched for colours and shapes. Their eyes were drawn to loud colours and they navigated towards them. But not all colours were loud of course. There was a background colour that probably consisted of greyish slate and stone. The brain works best when there are contrasts. Colours have also played a part in the survival of plants. From the beginning plants had no flowers. They were green, and to entice insects they developed petals in various
shapes and colours. They had to advertise in order to propagate, so you could say that flowers were the world’s first logotypes.” Do women and men have the same colour vision? “No, women can see ten million colours, men one million. This originates from the male of the species once having hunted at night. The darkness gave them protection and their prey was easier to catch as they slept. Males slept during the day while the females were out in the sun developing their colour vision.” There are also cultural differences. In parts of Indonesia, yellow is the
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104 | MIND CHECK
colour of mourning. An international congress in Sweden with delegates from Indonesia could therewith pose a problem. ”Mexicans would also react to the yellow. In Muslim countries blue is the colour of mourning. Our cultural codes clash, which is something we should consider.” How should I act as a meeting planner? “You must be historically and culturally aware. Colours provoke feelings, usually on a subconscious level. Look upon it as archaeological: at the bottom is our reptile brain followed by national culture, fashion and trends. Our old colours are loaded with symbolism. They’re associated with political parties, religious groups, liberation movements and terrorist groups, etc. It’s no coincidence that the UN flag is sky blue and white and their tanks harmless white. Lime and other fashionable colours could offer a solution to this problem, even if orange is taken by the Netherlands football team and Ireland’s Protestants.” You are a trained architect. What is the awareness of the influence of colour among your colleagues? “Poor. Building projects hardly ever employ a specialist on the effect of colour on the human brain. Their colour schemes centre around design. But we all have the same brain that is activated by colours.” In the meeting industry we talk about market shares and attracting large congresses to Sweden. How should those who succeed reason? “Colours are a natural part of our lives and they affect us whether we like it or not, and in all contexts. A modern company cannot afford to neglect that. The meeting industry cannot afford to rest on its laurels in mediocrity, it has to niche itself and focus on excellence.” π
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
tomas dalström is an author, journalist, lecturer and innovator. His works include a popular book on writing texts, which communicates on the brain’s terms. The reading process and the brain is the starting point in his business activities.
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106 | RADAR
WHAT’S ON, Barbara Jamison, AT VISIT LONDON ...
… four years before the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games get underway? “Although I have been working in the UK Destination Management and Events industry for a number of years my passion and love for my “home” City never diminishes,” says Barbara Jamison, director of Business Tourism at the Visit London organisation, which is now entering an exciting phase. How does an organisation like yours tackle such a large event and how can you utilise it to increase business tourism? “Like any organisation you can’t do everything alone, working in partnership is the key to success. Visit London is the official tourism agency for the City of London part funded by the Mayor’s office/London Development Agency. The rest of our funding comes from the private sector, our one thousand partners and major stakeholders, (sic!). We have to be truly focused and have a vision and strategic objectives. Our vision is to be a world-class organisation MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
recognised for innovation and effectiveness, which delivers sustained and sustainable economic benefit to London. Our Events for London team also has a clearly defined vision. To be the world’s most exciting major events destination, a destination that creates, develops and attracts world-class major events for the benefit of London’s residents, businesses and visitors.” What are your strategic objectives? “To develop London as a competitive and dynamic brand. To increase innovative access to information on London, in particular via digital technology. To improve a Business and Convention Bureau offering and Events for London Function. To maximise the economic and cultural benefits of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to the tourism industry the city as a whole.” What is Visit London? “Part of an Events for London Steering Group led by the Mayor of London, working with the LDA, Metropolitan Police, London 2012, the emergency services and Transport for London. We have identified and are bidding for major events from now until 2012. Most recent success includes the 2007 and 2008 NFL at Wembley Stadium with incremental economic benefit of 20 million plus media benefit for the last game, and Twenty20 World Cup Cricket watched by a world audience of 400 million.” How will the London Olympics be different? “We will create a completely green event and provide city wide celebrations linked to cultural events and celebrations. There will be easy access to the stadiums and 43 countries will compete, each with a
home crowd of their own nationality living in London. Hotels will open in the next few years with a total of 10,120 bedrooms, including the Plaza Westminster Bridge in 2010 with 930 rooms and conference facilities for 1,000. The Olympics will be easily accessible from most European countries with five international airports and two Eurostar train destinations. Legacy for Londoners largest European park will be created.” How does the financial crisis affect things? “In these worrying economic times London is an ideal destination as it’s open for business. Delegates do not need to have expensive events organised for them throughout their stay. No matter where they are they can walk out of their hotel or conference venue and have 20 different activities on their doorstep for all individual tastes and budgets. All our museums and galleries are free. 30 percent of the city is green with fabulous parks/riverside and canal walks. There are 4,000 restaurants and bars and countless theatres and music venues. Visit London operates a free event enquiry service and can match venues to client events. Nearly every venue in city can be used in some way and for all budgets.” “London’s countryside and the Thames Valley 20 minutes from Heathrow is packed with beautiful Manor Houses/Spa Hotels, Championship Golf Courses where you can learn how to play polo, visit film locations, make your own film at Pinewood Studios, place a bet at Ascot, or even sponsor a greyhound at Wimbledon. We can fit a programme to your budget, tailor it to the client’s brief and make sure it is a resounding success and, above all, fun,” says Barbara Jamison. π
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THE HIDDEN AGENDA | 109
many companies have a management
team that is rewarded at the individual level. Salary and bonuses are governed primarily by how profitably they are managing their own responsibilities. The president often consults the management team to address key issues that affect the entire company. This includes information from the various departments, but the purpose of a management team would nevertheless be to manage the whole operation. This is also how information is shared, for everyone to be aware of the most important things going on in various parts of the company. Against this background it is distressing to repeatedly experience the leaderâ€™s agenda for the meeting in competition with the personal agendas of all the other participants. If the meeting has ten participants there will be eleven parallel agendas itemized. Eleven? Yes, even the meeting leader often has a
personal agenda beyond the official one. Do bonuses depend on all this? No, the phenomenon of hidden agendas is just as strong in knowledgeintensive organizations that are partnerowned. In most law firms, headhunting firms and consultancies, the bulk of the bonus is based on the whole companyâ€™s performance and not on individual efforts. The more internationally successful the business, the more likely there is such a procedure defined. But the meeting is still burdened with as many agendas as there are participants, plus the official agenda. Some technology companies have meetings that more resemble a wartime command centre than a management or project team meeting. Two or three people talk loudly on cell phones with a supplier, customer or wife. Two or three others manage their email. Some are texting. Some talk at one end of the ta-
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110 | THE HIDDEN AGENDA
ble, some at the other. Of course the meeting leader behaves in the same way and acts in the manner most appropriate for the moment. Sometimes a voice is raised to draw attention to a single question. The result is that the people talking on their cell phones leave the room and the others raise their eyes for a moment before returning to their emails, text messages or conversations with others in the room. Perhaps the leader tries again and manages to bring the meeting to order, until one of the cell phone talkers comes back into the room and proudly announces a secured order. This triggers applause and congratulations for a prey conquered. In a way the command centre meeting culture is more comfortable than many other meetings, because it is open to different agendas existing simultaneously at the meeting. It is unfortunate when people pretend to be on board during the meeting itself and then do the contrary when they are back in their own sphere of activity. If that culture spreads, hidden agendas become standard operating procedure at all meetings. Do we want it like this? Yes, it would seem so, because it is unusual for a leader to take control of it. They continue to hold “pretend” meetings, to play the game by speaking tactically about the important issues such as technology, sales, budgets, costs, and various financial ratios. But few management teams discuss the essentials; that which brings sustainable profitability through happy employees and customers. Hidden agendas flourish as long as the meeting takes place at a superficial level and one does not
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
really need to “log in” at the meeting. A meeting can take place on four different levels of conversation. 0. Conventional Level Social interaction around harmless questions. 1. Factual Level Exchange of information concerning technology, figures and PowerPoint presentations. 2. Emotional Level Discussion addressing the essentials 3. Integrated Level Open and integrated communication of facts and feelings When the meeting is held at the factual or conventional level participants sometimes address different matters. But it is expressed in another manner, such as a clenched fist in a pocket, or irritated thoughts about someone who is talking too much. When we pretend that a meeting between people (technicians are also people) can be held only on the factual and conventional level, then we immediately invite the hidden agenda, because level 2 makes itself felt in the worst way as emotionalism, now and then breaking up the meeting in the form of intense debates, taking time and effort away from the meeting. The word debate comes from Greek and means a short and good “smack down”. The French word “debatre” means war. The irony is that many (subconsciously) want to avoid this by “sticking to the facts”. But as long as we are human we have feelings, and suppressed
“A hidden agenda can by definition be said to apply during a meeting where people are not fully present.”
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emotions often lead to emotionality and wars of words. It is this suppressed energy that participants at a bad meeting use constructively by having another meeting, by calling, texting or emailing a customer, or speaking with a colleague about something else. Frustration becomes energy for a good cause. But they do not participate with their full attention at a meeting considered important enough to gather busy people. What does one do about this? Good meetings hold the participants’ attention at the integrated level. They are all fully involved simply because the meeting is perceived to be meaningful and significant. When facts and emotions work together we become strong and energetic as people. Facts give substance and security in the form of a feeling that it will work. The sense of involvement and meaning motivates us. The road to the integrated level is reached most quickly by appealing directly to the emotions. The meeting leader who is able to set the tone for the meeting on the emotional level quickly reaches the integrated level. Facts are simple in context and can be handled easily and comfortably. The trick is to show emotion without being emotional. Yes, that may not sound difficult. But why then does it not happen so often? To understand the difference between “an emotion” and “emotional”, it is often a good idea to look
at how the language is structured. In the present tense, something that is going on now, one can say, “to know” but not “to emotional”. In English one says “to feel”, but not “to emotion”. A feeling is therefore linked to the present and is shown right now. Emotional behaviour is old, displaced emotions linked to past events in one’s life, which sometimes come to light. Against this background it is only a conscious and present person who can lead a meeting without a hidden agenda. The leader’s authenticity raises the participants’ authenticity. Managers and project leaders usually have many thoughts in their head during a meeting: How does it work? I wonder how Peter is doing at home sick? Why aren’t they fully listening to me now? How can I now direct this issue so that they say yes? The participants are aware of this and it legitimizes their own sub-activities at the meeting. A hidden agenda can by definition be said to apply during a meeting where people are not fully present. It can apply both in private life as well as in the workplace. People’s thoughts are elsewhere, distracted, a little scattered and a bit stressed. Concern for their own projects, discomfort when confronted with an authoritarian colleague, problems at home, dreams of summer or daydreams about sex. It is up to us to use our intellect to lead the room by behaving properly, saying important and relevant things. When intellect
is reversed — emotionalism — one must respond to an inner force field and not show what one really thinks. An interesting meeting in private life or at work is about the same thing; that those who meet, meet in real life. We do this only when we are fully present and can show our feelings while talking about something. Eye contact is relaxed and natural. Those who are speaking can look each other in the eye without it feeling odd, and their body language is open. And we listen to each other without anxiously needing to be heard. A management team that works at the qualified level is abundantly rewarded in the form of good results. Each individual also receives a gift in the form of meaningfulness and energy replenishment. When the company has a single agenda for their meetings, energies are directed to a singular focus. A management team that suddenly begins working together as a whole will find that the entire organization soon does the same. And don’t forget that both sub-optimization and optimization begin and end with you. If you are completely unaware of your own behaviour, it is likely that you also send contradictory signals and even have a hidden agenda yourself. When you see more of your own patterns of behaviour, you will see more of your signals system. This can help “keep you on the path”, by keeping a clear line in your leadership. Show the way for others and stick to it. Expect the others to do the same. π
per hörberg, behavioural scientist who has been a manager at Ikea and in the Swedish Armed Forces. Author and coach. Leader, facilitator and consultant to all types of meetings. Runs Wellnessguide.se and the Yasuragi Academy in Stockholm. 2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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Meeting Architecture Meeting Architecture by Maarten Vanneste is perhaps the most significant book ever written about the meetings and events industry and history could prove it to be the turning point for the profession of planning meetings and events. The author is the self-made owner of Abbit Meeting Support, which looks like an AV production company, but offers its customers a deeper understanding of meeting objectives and how to reach them, with or without the AV. Having started a career in the service of meetings as great tools for education, motivation and networking, Maarten Vanneste was puzzeled, to say the least, when he attended his first meetings industry exhibition in 1998 and found only venues and hospitality related services, nothing to do with the content side of meetings. Little has changed during the past ten years. The focus of meeting and event planners is still on the hospitality and satisfaction of attendees, meeting owners spend their budgets on impressive stage shows and famous motivational speakers without connecting all the effort and expenditure to the real objectives, the behavioural changes of participants which will create value for the meeting owners and provide the return on investment. A study of event industry magazines in 2006 showed that 98.5 per cent of the advertisers were
destinations and venues, no industry has developed to provide meetings with content. We have the shell, but no-one has yet put the pearl inside it, is Vannesteâ€™s analogy, to call it the meetings and events industry is like the steel industry calling itself the automotive industry. To help planners develop meeting content, Vanneste offers the Meeting Support Matrix and the Meeting Content Matrix. The objectives of meetings usually have something to do with education, networking and motivation and the most suitable meeting concept may be developed by considering conceptual, human, artistic, technical and technological tools and how they may be deployed before, during and after the meeting. He then shows how the ROI Methodology of Jack Phillips and the ROI Institute provides the conceptual framework for how the achievement of different objectives provides the return on investment for stakeholders. When building a small warehouse, any manager would recognize the need for an architect as well as a project manager and a construction site manager. When spending the same amount of money on a customer event, none of the same attention is paid to purpose and design and the manager is not held responsible for results far below what could have been achieved. But the poor manager who needs a meeting or event, the budget owner, has nowhere to turn for help and support in devel-
oping the objectives, content and format and to evaluate afterwards if the objectives were met. Maarten Vanneste calls this missing profession the meeting architect. Rather than defining the meeting designer or meeting planner into this role, he wants a completely new professional title to emphasize that this is a new role and not just a tweaking of things as they are. This line of reasoning makes sense and even though it sounds a bit strange at first, we will get used to the meeting architect and learn to know how he is to put the pearl in the shell. The profession of meeting architecture draws on many existing professions such as education, psychology, sociology, business management, marketing, finance, procurement, project management and others in order to provide the holistic view of meetings and events and the contribution they can make to achieving business objectives. Having explained in this well written and easy flowing book the need for the meeting architect, a manifesto for a new profession as he calls it, Vanneste passes the challenge on to associations, corporations and universities to further define the role and body of knowledge of the meeting architect and to develop the curriculum for the university degrees required to make it a professional reality. After reading the book I have no doubt, there is only one way forward. Ď€
dr elling hamso, Managing Partner of European Event ROI Institute providing consulting and training services in 15 European countries. Provides training and education of meeting planners in event evaluation, procurement, risk management, project management, technology and new generation meetings. Ph.D. in supplier customer relationship strategies from Manchester University MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
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118 | SPREAD THE MESSAGE
NATURE'S 10 best tips TEXT
Atti Soenarso PHOTO
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To suddenly become green in your meeting concept is not as easy as it sounds. Here follows ten simple tips to help you become more environmentally friendly. What is obvious for you is not necessarily obvious for others. 1. Draw up an environmental policy for the meeting and ensure that those who implement it understand what it entails. They should be on the same level at least, and preferably enhance your goals. 2. Use paperless technology. Use new technological media to cut down on paper consumption. Create a meeting website where people can register and receive answers electronically. Your sponsors could also be included as advertisers. 3. Hold the meeting in a geographical location that is close for the majority of people taking part. Hire local speakers and use environment means of transport. Choose a town in which most of the participants live. The hotel or conference facilities should be near the airport for those who have to fly to the meeting. If you are using several hotels, choose
hotels that are close to each other, preferably within walking distance. 4. Practice the three Rs, Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Practice. These seem simple routines, and they are if you ensure that the three Rs are implemented. Recycle paper, plastic and glass. 5. Ensure that those who organise your food and drink at the meeting have good purchasing procedures that include taking care of packaging and glass, who wash up environmentally, and who ensure that salt, pepper, sugar, cream and other table produce is purchased in catering size packaging. 6. In the same way, ensure that your hotel and conference provider has a good environmental policy for taking care of their towels and packing their soap and shampoo in the guest rooms, etc. Small
details which, when multiplied by the factor that you rent 200 rooms for three nights, could be quite comprehensive. Then multiply by 365 days and ten and 20 years. Even a small hotel suddenly becomes a large consumer. 7. Eat green. Try to get as many as possible to eat vegetarian and use local produce as far as possible. 8. Use vegetarian ink and recyclable paper for all material you have to print during the meeting. Use both sides of the paper. 9. Save energy. Find out whether the hotel/conference facility has an environmental policy that includes low energy light bulbs. Ensure that the air conditioning and lights are off when nobodyâ€™s using the room. 10. Spread the message! Tell your meeting participants, speakers and local media about your environmental policy during the meeting. You will be surprised how environmental efforts pay off. It also catches on. When your participants notice how serious you are they pass the ideas on. Ď€
2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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conducts research into the meetings industry lund university’s Campus
Helsingborg in southern Sweden has begun collaborating with Helsingborg/Helsingör on a fiveyear research project. The aim is to compile knowl-
edge of, and investigate the interest in, the formation of a competitive network across the borders of both towns. During the year the project will bring together various players currently acting within the meet-
ings industry to pursue a dialogue surrounding a regional network. Through meetings, workshops and interviews the group will investigate the possibilities of, and obstacles facing, possible collaboration. Many destinations focus on developing business tourism as it is a niche that usually generates good returns. But the competition between European and international destinations that target conferences, congresses and other business meetings has become significantly tougher. Attracting business tourists requires attractive and top quality business meetings, well-functioning infrastructures and sophisticated marketing. For a destination to be able to offer this it requires a strong regional network of companies and organisations, and an active regional destination marketing organisation. Together they can strive to build a strong brand of destinations with the meetings industry in focus. “The research project aims at investigating how such a network can be formed and legitimised, and how players can jointly develop meetings products and a strong brand,” explains Doctor of Economics Mia Larson, who is leading the project together with Doctor of Philosophy Szilvia Gyimothy. Both work on the Service Management Programme at Lund University’s Campus Helsingborg. Five destinations in Europe will be studied and compared. Helsingborg/Helsingör, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Vienna plus another town that has not yet been named. Players within the destinations will be identified and investigated through focus groups, personal interviews, workshops and participatory observation. The project should be completed in the latter half of 2009. π 2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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a way of communicating MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
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award winning Future Design
Days in Stockholm. On the 2nd of February 2009 you will get the chance to meet some of the most talked about pioneers and provocateurs of today’s lighting design scene: The veteran Ingo Maurer and the innovative heirs – Paul Cocksedge and Moritz Waldemeyer. Let there be light – business of the future in a novel shine.
Come 2009, and the light bulb will have been around for an amazing 130 years. And surely Thomas Alva Edison’s simple solution for converting electricity into light can take the credit for many of the amenities and success stories of modern civilisation. For what indeed would the age we live in be without unlimited access to abundant, albeit artificial, daylight around the clock?
”However, in the very near future, lighting as we see it will change radically,” says Christian Alçenius, CEO of Future Lab, the company behind Future Design Days. ”The development of diodes, for instance, is on the eve of a breakthrough. And although a sales boom is still years away, the new already available technology is affecting everything from modern vehicle manufacture 2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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to architecture, traffic systems and home electronics. Lighting is not just a matter of lux, whether switched on or switched off. Lighting has become a way of communicating – to convey feelings or bring feelings to life – as has been proved in leading-edge textile research and the most progressive expressions of architecture.” Will Future Design Days Light Now be an event solely dedicated to designers and architects? ”No, it is aimed at anyone and everyone who wants to be at the forefront when it comes to future business opportunities and the monumental changes in a number of areas that the explosive development in the lighting field will bring about. The event will provide professionals who never or only rarely meet one another with an opportunity to make unique contacts and, in turn, prepare the ground for further business. So, a CEO will derive as much benefit as a student, but also marketing manager or marketer, product developer, product manager, working with brands and communication and meeting designers.” ”Future Design Days is a process that is intended to capture complicated contexts – and present them in a form that is both understandable and inspiring.” ”For us design is about thinking in terms of people’s needs, what life itself demands from these things,” says Christian Alçenius. ”If we think in this way, we end up a long way from the posh shop street. Instead, we come closer to a view of those things about us that have to do with business ideas, the drive, in fact, to run a business or a brand. Future Design Days is a thought-provoking meeting place for designers, business leaders and decision-makers, who share these ideas.”
Which are the key issues as you see it? ”Which are the new business opportunities? Which are the most commercially viable areas of application? Which success stories can we learn from? Who is controlling developments? Which innovations may we expect within the next five to ten years? What challenges are we facing?”
Why should I attend? ”Improve your ability to forecast trends and tendencies. Get insight into future business opportunities. How do you create an innovation and bring it into business – learn from the best. Establish valuable contacts outside your own profession,” says Christian Alçenius. π
2008 No 1 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
126 | KELLERMAN
A BUYERS’ and MEETING PLANNERS’ magazine
hy does a swedish meetings
management magazine suddenly decide to go international? Partly because many people around the world have been so positive towards the Swedish edition of Meetings International and have asked why, as the only magazine in the world that writes what we write about, we don’t make the magazine international. So, we’re now bringing things to a head and we have a goal: to change the world. We have published Meetings International magazine in Sweden for five years, but have 25 years’ experience of publishing in the meetings and events industry. We have collaborated with Paul Flackett and the EIBTM Trade Fair since 1987, the year before it was launched. We have collaborated with MPI for just as long and were part of
launching MPI Chapter Sweden, and also played a major part in launching MPI Chapter Norway and MPI Chapter Finland. We have learned a great deal about the international meetings industry through the members of SITE, ICCA, IAPCO, AIPC and, more recently, DMAI. We have followed the progress of MCI from the outset; we monitor Congrex and educate young students in Sweden who go on to achieve success in the international meetings and events industry. We have the lofty ambition of becoming the world’s best trade magazine with regard to meetings content, meetings models and methods, meetings architecture and design, and everything relating to ROI meetings and meetings management. But, above all else, we are a buyers’ and meeting planners’ magazine. We will write about and present the people who plan meetings and who are the economic backbone of the meetings industry, we will reward good ideas and put the spotlight firmly on the role models, the people who truly deserve the attention. Our first edition that you are now holding in your hands is, through necessity, Scandinavian in perspec-
tive. This is not down to laziness but because we regard Scandinavia as being the very best in the meetings and events industry in relation to meetings content and the research and development of meetings pedagogies. It is also home to young events companies who, in just a few years, have established themselves as cutting-edge innovators and implementers of corporate meetings, also on the global stage. We intend to spread throughout the world and in the large global corporations. We are expanding our networks in Asia, the Middle East, South America, North America, and, of course, Europe to which we belong. We will be at the forefront of the global meetings and events industry wherever that might be. Future issues are important, but we live here and now and too many meetings are badly planned, poorly implemented and never evaluated. We aim to change that! π
roger kellerman is a publisher, business intelligence analyst, trend creator, educator and networker. He has more than 25 years’ experience of the global meeting industry.
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 1 2008
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