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ISSN 1651-9663

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PHOTO: RICHARD RYAN

Welcome to Stockholm – the Capital of Scandinavia


Islands in the stream Stockholm is situated on fourteen islands where the blue waters of the Baltic meet lake Mälaren, resulting in a very compact city where everything is within easy reach.

If you want to do business in Scandinavia, there is no better place to start than in Stockholm. Located right at the heart of the region, Stockholm is Scandinavia’s epicentre for business, meetings and culture.


On the waterfront When the Stockholm Waterfront is completed in 2011, Stockholm will receive a new and exciting congress hall, accommodating up to 3,000 delegates.

A leading international meeting destination Scandinavia’s economic powerhouse, Stockholm is the largest business and consumer market in the Nordic and Baltic Sea region. Based on innovation and fuelled by high technology, the region’s economy boasts one of the world’s most prominent ICT clusters, one of Europe’s largest life sciences clusters and fast growing cleantech and fashion industries – to name but a few. Add the fact that Northern Europe’s financial centre is located here and you quickly realise that Stockholm is the natural first stepping-stone for anyone who wishes to enter the Scandinavian and Baltic market. In fact, two thirds of all Fortune 100 companies with Scandinavian head offices have chosen to base themselves in Stockholm. World-class infrastructure You can get to and from Europe’s major cities by air in less than three hours from any of Stockholm’s five airports. Six major seaports, high-speed trains to Sweden’s larger cities, and very good regional and local public transportation offer excellent conditions for doing business. High value lifestyle… According to a recent international comparison study1, Stockholm ranks as one of the top metropolitan cities for quality of life. Perhaps no wonder, since the Stockholm region combines a unique combination of big city excitement and

the calm of nature. It is safe, and secure and one of the world’s cleanest cities. …at very affordable prices 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 makes Stockholm a place where most things are reasonably priced. In a recent cost of living survey2, Stockholm did not make it on the list of the top 50 most expensive cities in the world.

A leading international meeting destination The number of visitors to Stockholm 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 for handling meetings of all sizes. How many destinations can offer 6,000


PHOTO: WHITE ARKITEKTER AB/JARL ASSET MANAGEMENT AB

hotel rooms within a ten-minute walk of the central station? A further 5,000 hotel rooms are available within a short (tenminute) public transport hop and a total of 25,000 in the greater Stockholm area.3

A new addition to their current premises will open in the beginning of 2010. It will offer a further 10,000 square meters, taking the total available area for events to an incredible 70,000 square meters.

An ever-increasing capacity for large meetings Stockholm International Fairs – the largest conference venue in Northern Europe, with a capacity for meetings of up to 25,000 participants, are expanding their venues even further.

Furthermore, a totally new venue – the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre – will open its doors in April 2011. When finished, the new hotel and congress centre will be able to accommodate 3,000 delegates in the auditorium as well as provide banquet facilities for

2,000 guests – all at the very heart of the capital. The congress facility off 13,700 square meters, with its spectacular design and shimmering rooftop, will be a unique venue, placing Stockholm among the select group of cities around the world offering congress facilities of this magnitude. 1, 2) Mercer Human Resource Consulting, 2009 3) a further 1500 new hotel rooms will be ready before the end of 2010.


PHOTO: JERNHUSEN.SE

A building heated by…people Kungsbrohuset is a new and revolutionary construction project to be built in downtown Stockholm. It has been called “the smartest office building in the world” and takes environmental awareness to new heights. One unique feature is a system of heat exchangers that harness the body heat generated by the more than 200,000 people who on a daily basis visit the nearby Central Station! Another good example of eco-thinking in Stockholm is the Scandic Hotel chain, which is probably the world leader in consciously tackling environmental issues.

The first European Green Capital The Capital of Scandinavia is well known for its beauty and its near-spotless finish. And for once, beauty is not only skin deep. In fact, the environment has always been considered a top priority for Stockholm. In recognition of this, Stockholm will be the first city ever to be awarded the European Green Capital in 2010 – an award conceived by the European Commission. Everything from water protection plans, to public transport and work to omit fossil fuel emissions was taken into consideration. In all aspects, Stockholm was considered a front-runner for the award. Green Business Stockholm’s emerging clean tech industry is well on its way to booming. The green tech cluster is one of the fastest growing in Stockholm and already has thousands of clean tech companies up and running. Advanced public demand,

together with the industry, drives the local clean tech market and Stockholm is quickly becoming a role model on how to combine economic growth with sustainable development. Goodbye fossils! The City of Stockholm is carrying out an ambitious initiative called ”Fossil Free 2050” to limit climate change. The overriding target is a city free of fossil fuels in the year 2050. This means farewell to petrol, oil, coal, gas and all other fossil fuels! Corporate Social Responsibility Needless to say, Stockholm is the perfect place to go for businesses serious about Corporate Social Responsibility, the question of sustainability and of minimising environmental impact. Not to mention a breath of fresh air [literally] for people who have grown weary of overcrowded metropolitan areas elsewhere.

Saving the environment for coming generations – today! Hammarby Sjöstad is one of the world’s best-known examples of Sustainable City Development. Built with the explicit goal to halve the total environmental impact in comparison with an area built in the early 1990s, Stockholm’s new city district is visited by an incredible 10,000 decision makers and specialists in the field every year.

For more information, send us a mail or give us a call! Stockholm Visitors Board, Meetings & Conventions Phone: +46 8 508 28 500 congress@svb.stockholm.se, meet@svb.stockholm.se www.congresstockholm.se


PHOTO: HAMMARBYSJOSTAD.SE


Jönköping - where meetings are made easy.

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London 80'

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TABLE OF CONTENTS | 19

No 3 LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE EDITOR IN CHIEF

Atti Soenarso atti.soenarso@meetingsinternational.se

22

is sustainable

PUBLISHER

Roger Kellerman roger.kellerman@meetingsinternational.se

32

Rasmus Kellerman www.rasmuskellerman.com Dennis Brice dennis@writingservices.se

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60

ROBIN SHARMA:

learn something new every day

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Sara Appelgren + David Layes EDITORIAL RAYS OF SUNSHINE

THE COP15 SUMMIT

is the start of a long process

WRITERS

Tomas Dalström + Fredrik Emdén + Hans Gordon + Johan Johansson, Roger Kellerman + Bo Magnusson + Atti Soenarso

GORDON:

On the necessity to kill one’s father

ART DIRECTOR

TRANSLATION

NOTHING

67

Bimo Soenarso + Fleet Foxes + Les Freres Guisse + whitelines.se

THE PERFECT MEETING

– an illusion

PRINTED BY

Trydells Tryckeri AB Environmentally certified according to ISO 14001

72

environmental work

EDITORIAL OFFICE

Meetings International P.O.Box 224 SE-271 25 Ystad, Sweden Editorial Office + 46 8 612 42 20 Commercial Office: + 46 8 612 42 96 Fax: + 46 8 612 42 80 info@meetingsinternational.com

78

88

FONTS

KEEP INTUITION

alive 94

A LOOK

says so much

BUY MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL AT

info@meetingsinternational.se Single copies SEK 165 or €15 Postage not included

HE PAINTS

with light

PUBLISHERS

Meetings International Publishing AB info@meetingsinternational.com www.meetingsinternational.com

CREATE MORE COURAGEOUS

102

KELLERMAN:

Incentives such as CSR

Chronicle Text, Cronicle Display, KNOCKOUT by Hoefler + Frefre-Jones Leitura Display by DS Type PAPER

ISSN 1651-9663

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EDITORIAL | 21

THERE IS NO PLAN(ET) B

Writing about sustainability and environmental work without being part of it is for us an impossibility. We commit ourselves to significantly improved environmental work with tangible environmental goals and a sustainable society. This we do by only writing and talking about what should be done. We want to do our bit, and our magazine is a clear example. The paper we use, Munken Lynx, is one of the world’s best papers from a green perspective. Water has a vital function in the production of paper. The paper we use comes from the Munkedal paper mill, www.arcticpaper.com, in western Sweden. The mill has put a great deal of time and effort into perfecting methods of recycling and cleansing the process water to ensure minimum environmental impact. This is achieved through biological cleansing. The exhibition halls in the mill’s environmental centre are next to the large dams that constitute the cleansing plant’s final stage. The success of the plant is visible in the fish, crustaceans and frogs that are all thriving in the dams. The water is so clean that it is drinkable after just one filtering. 
 Figures released by the World Wildlife Fund show that 140 litres of water are required to manufacture the various ingredients in a cup of coffee, and around 9,000 litres to make a pair of jeans. To produce one kilo of the paper we use today re-

quires 2.7 litres of water. In Europe in general, around ten litres of water is used per kilo of paper. Munkedal’s vision is zero litres per kilo of paper. Small shifts can lead to stunning results. There is an international forest certification abbreviated as FSC, Forest Stewardship Council. The aim of the certification is to ensure that forests are utilised in a sustainable manner. In Europe and North America, the certification is supplemented by even more stringent legislation. The FSC is an independent organisation that was founded in Toronto in 1993 on the initiative of environmental organisations from 25 countries. The FSC has the most stringent criteria for ecological forest utilisation of all certification institutes and monitoring of the criteria takes place on site in the forests. The organisation works globally and also takes responsibility in developing countries. It is also the only organisation with social criteria that acknowledges the emergence of ecological problems as a result of human activity. This is why the FSC is accepted by environmental organisations the world over. Munken Lynx is a FSC paper. We think our magazine paper is good, but it can be improved. At least 35 per cent of the paper this magazine is printed on is recycled. We are a magazine in progress. 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.

2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


22 | SIDRUBBE

TEXT

Atti Soenarso

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

PHOTOS

Sara Appelgren


SIDRUBBE | 23

2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


24 | ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES

Standing in front of Yvon Chouinard, the owner and founder of outdoor company Patagonia, he hardly comes across as a successful businessman. I see a mountain guide or messenger. Yvon Chouinard is clad in comfortable looking jeans that he loves because they are made from recycled cloth, his top looks like an old friend and he radiates warm inquisitiveness. “I don’t know how I became a

businessman because I’m not really. I’ve actually created a company I don’t need. I never wanted to be a businessman. I’m a craftsman, good at doing things with my hands. My first company made and sold climbing equipment. One day I bought a rugby shirt in Scotland that proved to be good for people like me who mountain-climb. My friends saw the shirt and wanted to buy one each. That’s how it all began 30 years ago.” Patagonia continues to grow at a rate of three to eight per cent a year, despite growth currently standing at 11-12 per cent due to, as Yvon Chouinard puts it: “When the world economy is in a bad state, things go well for us because we produce garments that keep a long time.” Even if sustainability is an affair of the heart for Yvon Chouinard, his eyes flash when he is asked what sustainable leadership means to him. “I hate the word sustainability. There’s nothing that is sustainable. There’s nothing sustainable in sustainability. There are only different degrees of sustainable, but that doesn’t make the issue any less important. As a person I’m an optimist, but when I see the state of the planet I become a pessimist. But the sustainability revolution has begun anyway and is spreading at MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009


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MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009


ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES | 27

increasing speed. Look at Wal-Mart, the large US megastore chain. If they could manage a tenth of what they’ve resolved to do with regard to creating a more sustainable society then it would be fantastic. “There is a general attitude that it’s difficult to be a profit-making company at the same time as working towards sustainability. As if it were a clash of interests, but it’s not according to the organisation behind the 1% For The Planet movement. The opposite perhaps in their case. Caring about the state of the planet could in itself be a profit-making project.”

“Break the rules and make them work. We invent our own philosophy.”

From an international perspective, Patagonia is not a large company, but a great role model for many, they have a significant influence and are counted among the most prominent role models for a company that has a CSR profile and endeavours to minimise its environmental impact. There is a 50-page catalogue of the projects that the company supports around the world to bring about positive change: Patagonia Environmental Initiatives. It takes up how much money the company donates to environmental projects (USD 34 million since 1985), the number of environmental groups 2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


28 | ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES

to have received money from them (398), how much clothes they have donated to non-profit organisations, etc. Also about the 1% For The Planet project, www.onepercentfortheplanet.org, where each member company donates one per cent of the sales turnover (not their profit as profits go up and down more that the sales turnover). There are currently 1,271 company members and 1,847 recipient organisations the world over. Yvon Chouinard says it is high time to take the step from pure consumption to ‘buy what you need, not want you want’. And adds “Patagonia will still be here in a hundred years and will still be profitable”. “If you manufacture landmines then travel to Cambodia and see what your company is part of creating, what must go around you head? When you see women and children without legs, perhaps both legs and know that you have produced these products, how can you not possibly care? How can you return home and continue manufacturing these landmines? We must always, and in all situations, ask the question: ‘how are we helping the planet with what we do?” Yvon Chouinard has a simple business philosophy: You must educate yourself the whole time. When you educate yourself you get more chances than those who don’t, regardless of what you do in life. Travelling is also education, as is reading. He says that those within the company have created their own values. “Break the rules and make them work. We invent our own philosophy. I heard that very early. When I was young I was quite good in most sports, until it was time to compete. I soon realised that if I wanted to win something I’d have to find my MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

“We’re already using the resources of seven planets, so constant growth is madness.”

own event in which I could compete and win.” We meet Yvon Chouinard on his travels around the world for a month to talk about what he thinks and how he thinks and he says that not once during his travels has he called his company to hear how things are going. Perhaps this is because he does not use a mobile phone (his wife does) or a computer.

“I could probably be regarded as an anti-technology person with the exception of medical technology. I never watch television, I read books and newspapers. I live a simple life and try not to let my company grow at any price. I’m anti-capitalist. By capitalism I mean the share market. The trouble with shareholders is that they’re always looking for greater profits. When they acquire


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(a) who cares (b) we care (c) why care


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“We must always, and in all situations, ask the question: ‘how are we helping the planet with what we do?”

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009


ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES | 31

for $10 and get a value of $1 and the rest just goes up in smoke there’s a permanent demand for 15 per cent growth. In this way we destroy the planet. We’re already using the resources of seven planets, so constant growth is madness.” The story goes that when on his way to Lhasa, the Buddhist teacher Attisha saw a women on the road who alternately laughed and cried. The woman’s behaviour confused him. He asked what was behind her behaviour. Well, said the woman, when I think that all people have the ability to develop wisdom and humility I can’t help but laugh with joy. When I then think what people do with this ability I cannot help but cry. And the Indian poet Shantideva writes: Though people seek immunity from disaster
they rush into all types of misery. 
Though they seek happiness
they destroy it through foolishness, as though it were an enemy. “We see this everywhere. Our shortterm egoism leads to negative, near catastrophic consequences for ourselves, others and not least our only planet. We must ask the question over and over again: Is this decision we are making in our company good for our planet? If the answer is yes then we should do it, otherwise not. You call yourself a Buddhist? “I’m a philosophical Buddhist, a sort of Zen Buddhist. My senses are open, but I have no cause to believe anything. I’ve also understood that the Zen philosophy is important, not only for me and my company, but for the development of the world. If the process is going well, the profit will come.” π 2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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“It all ended in an intense exchange of words between my father and myself. I warned him not to hit me. He hit and I hit back, he staggered and fell sitting to the floor. Mother cried, pleading with us to come to our senses. … It was in a feeling of relief that I left the rectory. I stayed away for a good many years.” From The Magic lantern by Ingmar Bergman

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009


gordon « PSYCHOLOGICAL MEETINGS | 33

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.

ON THE NECESSITY TO KILL ONE’S FATHER or: On the art of meeting the new one He said that he was in his early

thirties and that he had not yet considered leaving home. He was the only one left of four siblings, all younger than him. They had up and left quickly; two were married with children of their own. He didn’t even have a steady girlfriend. He’d never had one. He said that the thought had never occurred to him to find his own place because he considered the parental home as meeting all his basic needs. He had a large room to himself, most of the furniture was his own and he could come and go as he pleased. His father was a chief surgeon and head of a hospital clinic. His mother was a meek, hard working nurse. She had always had the role of the family’s, particularly the father’s, chambermaid. The father came and went in the house but did not live there, well, not in the sense of taking an active part in any day-today activities at any rate. He was nearly always late home and ordered his supper in advance with a brief telephone call to his wife. After supper while she was taking care of

the washing up, he usually fled into his study and shut the door. He was seen briefly at the breakfast table. He always read the morning paper. From early childhood the son had understood that the most coveted thing in the family, the one thing he could contribute with, was advancement in school. Tell me, the father would say between munches at the dinner table, how are things going then? What have you learnt? And the constant warnings: without good grades you’ll get nowhere in life. It’s important to get somewhere in life. You have to work hard. Bear that in mind! Then the Chief Surgeon would disappear into his study once more. He was now in his early thirties and felt that the contact with his parents was quite good. They provided him with accommodation; they often dined together and would discuss worldly events. Well, the mother did not take such an active part in these discussions, but gladly listened. And the father certainly made his feelings known on some issues which the son could definitely not agree with, and controversy had arisen once or twice

when the son expressed a different opinion to that of the father. But on the whole things were pretty good. But the words had hardly left his lips before his eyes became glazy and absent, the corners of his mouth drooped and the loneliness settled like a shroud around his head. Freud had an innate interest in one of Sophocles’s antique dramas. Like many others, Freud felt that the dramas illustrated perfectly many of man’s conflicting engagements and roles. A case in point: King Laois of Thebes had heard from the Delphic Oracle that his own son would be his slayer. When his young wife gave birth to a baby boy he had nails driven through the child’s feet and told a shepherd to leave it in the wilderness among the wild animals. But the shepherd felt compassion for the boy and gave it to another shepherd who took it to the royal couple in Corinth. They accepted the child, whose feet were now extremely swollen, and gave it the name Oedipus, meaning swollen feet. When Oedipus is growing up he hears from the Delphic Oracle that he would 2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


34 | PSYCHOLOGICAL MEETINGS

one day slay his father and marry his mother. He does not dare to return to Corinth but travels around aimlessly, irritated and frustrated. During his travels he is thrust out of the road by a carriage and in anger he kills the driver, the old passenger and the attendants. After some time he arrives in Thebes, a town full of gloom and dejection. The Goddess Hera has put a sphinx in the town, a terrifying monstrosity, who asks the towns­people an odd question, if they do not reply correctly she swallows them up one by one. Oedipus challenges the sphinx and receives the question: Who walks on four feet in the morning, two at lunchtime and three in the evening? Oedipus replies man, which was correct, and with a roar the sphinx tumbles into the sea and destroys itself. Oedipus is celebrated and has the honour of marrying the widow Jocasta, who of course is his mother. There is a continuation of the drama, but I will not go into it here. Suffice it to say that Freud used the drama to illustrate the boy’s struggle to become a grown man, and in different ways hold his own against his predecessor, the father, and, in different ways and by different means, fight for honour and victory, symbolised by finally claiming the Mother, the one who gives life, as his spouse. Therewith he wins life itself, he defeats that which the father stood for and, by his own efforts, he can create the life he himself wants. Everything in this antique drama must of course be viewed through its symbolic content. The slaying of the father is not about the literal killing of the real father but of the image of the Father; that which symbolised all that was admonishing and strict in the family culture he grew up in. First by destroying the inner, all too dominant and demanding structure MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

(the Father in symbolic meaning), that which he had made his own because it came with the food, the drink, the talk and all the other behaviours, not until then could he rise up and continue with a new perspective. But this can be extremely anxiety-ridden. The guilt feelings lie in wait like a piercing bear trap, and the mental picture of being punished for a deep longing renders many completely powerless. Author and Journalist Arthur Koestler wrote something along the lines of: “On studying any type of organisation, from the insect kingdom to the Pentagon, we will find that it is hierarchically organised, and the same applies to simple organisms and, albeit less manifest, their inherent and acquired practices.” Koestler thus describes man as a biophysical creature: every cell, every organ, each organ system, each body part, all the tissue; everything is hierarchically organised. Man himself can also be described as a hierarchical organisation, likewise a group of people, a company, an association, a nation, etcetera. Moreover, all its parts, or holons, as Koestler calls them, cannot exist without each other. Everything is dependent on everything. A change within a holon will eventually, and unavoidably, lead to change in everything else and for everybody else. This is the basis of system theory and system ecology. When The Christ Child, or El Niño as it is commonly known, grows stronger in South America, the climatologic effects spread around the world. Somebody somewhere will be happy and sunburnt; somebody somewhere else will become desperate, sick and die. Everything is interlinked and ­everything has developed, and will continue to develop, in the continuous interplay between autonomous

attempts to break out on the one hand, and that which retains and interlinks on the other. Koestler again: when a holon, a person for example, strays too far towards the outer edge, it is soon in trouble. And the opposite: when a person allows themselves to be swallowed up by the group, and is therewith prepared to surrender their personality, they become dissolved, unprincipled, uncertain of themselves and potentially dangerous for their surroundings. Life is thus a tightrope and a dynamic, often conflict-filled movement from pole to pole, from the mattamore of integration to the desert of autonomy. Tick tock, tick tock, the pendulum swings between dependency and independence. All meetings have one portal, one entrance. This implies two routes. Perhaps you prefer to listen and learn and sit at a ready laid table? Then you take this route. Or perhaps you prefer to make your own way by taking a more critical and questioning stance. Then you take this route. None of the routes are especially gratifying in the long term. But that is man’s lot on earth. In order to rise up to our true body height, to develop our potential, we must first be prepared to kill. When that is out of the way we find ourselves in the grainy, uncertain light of dawn. When we take our next stumbling step forward we head towards new and unknown meetings. The portal is there over and over again, likewise the two routes. The young man with the traits of loneliness has not yet killed. He has not yet plucked up the courage to hit the Father. He is biding his time waiting for some type of second birth. But one day he stands up and pushes down what he needs to push down. Not until then will he have the courage to meet the new dawn. π


36 | SIDRUBBE

TEXT

Atti Soenarso

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

PHOTOS

Sara Appelgren


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2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


38 | THE COP15 SUMMIT

COP15 in Copenhagen on December 7-18 is probably the most important environmental meeting the world has ever seen. What conclusions can the global meetings industry draw? Are there Danish experiences that give Return On Investment? “We compile a special report for all interested

parties in the meetings industry,” says Jan-Christoph Napierski from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responsible for ensuring that environmental issues are kept in focus during COP15. ”We have a long way to go, but are receiving some good suggestions on how we can step up the pace and achieve more rapid results.” Jan-Christoph Napierski, 32, comes from German Solingen between Düsseldorf and Cologne. As a child he often visited his cousin in Denmark. His interest for the country grew, which led to him learning Danish by himself when he was 15, to eventually begin studying History and Politics at Duisburg University. Ten years ago he received a scholarship as a guest student at Århus University. He has since worked at the Danish Embassy in Berlin and the European Parliament in Brussels. Today Jan-Christoph Napierski is the first German to work at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 80 years. He is employed to help organise the climate summit, COP15, and has the task of ensuring that the meeting is as sustainable as possible. Not as a theoretical model but with practical, tangible and visible measures to be documented to enable future meetings to use COP15 as a model for the lowest world standard for green meetings. Since June last year, Jan-Christoph Napierski has worked with the sustainability side of the project, and he points to the excellent opportunities afforded by COP15. “With regard to the green issue, COP15 can be the most important conference in the world. One of the first people I spoke with at the beginning of the project was Ole Sorang, Marketing Director at Rezidor Hotels and former member of MPI’s global Board. He quickly helped me to focus on the vital issues. When we looked back on previous UN summits on climate and environment, COP11 in Canada became our role model.” The Canadians produced a good final report that took environmental and sustainability issues much further than before. Jan-Christoph Napierski and his colleagues MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009


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discovered that a special format is required for a meeting of this magnitude, as well as a strong environmental commitment. It is not clear how many people are expected in Copenhagen, but estimates fall between 12 and 15 thousand. One organiser reckons with 18,000 delegates, plus 2,500 to 3,000 international journalists, other estimates point to 12,000 or fewer. Anybody with any experience of planning meetings knows that it is not easy to plan a meeting without the exact figure. There is a big difference between 12 and 15 thousand. Even if environmental and climate issues are top of the agenda, security issues have top priority. It comes as no surprise that the combination of security and logistics provokes discussion. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

“For security reasons we have special limousines for the VIPs and perhaps the VVIPs who are attending. No vehicles are normally allowed to drive up to the entrance of the congress hall, but presidents, prime ministers and other high-ranking people must, for obvious reasons. For the majority of delegates, however, public transport and small cars must suffice.” The main goal of COP15 is clear. Host country Denmark has to ensure that everything functions with regard to reception, transport, security, accommodation, food, coffee breaks, that the service is top class and that all logistics flow unhindered. Poland implemented COP14 and wields a great influence up until the meeting is implemented in Copenhagen.

It is also the first time the English Events Sustainability Management standard BS 8901 is being used, a standard that could become an ISO standard for all countries. It was developed for the 2012 Olympic Games in London and is being considered for use during the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is responsible for approving accreditation to the climate meeting in Copenhagen. All the countries’ governments must give authorisation for people wishing to take part, but the UNFCCC has the final say in who comes. A country’s top politicians could well decide to take part in the climate meeting, thus increasing the number of other officials and security people, and


SIDRUBBE | 41

more politicians is a guarantee for more journalists from the large TV channels and newspapers. “There are three important priorities. First security followed by the outcome of the conference. Then we need to present new energy technology, new cars and wind power developments. We also want to demonstrate new green technology. But if we are to show cars then we need to get them to Copenhagen, which could pose an environmental problem. There will also be an expo at the Bella Center, the facility we will be using throughout the meeting. There is already a wind generator there which furniture giant Ikea has purchased and which will be moved in a year’s time. This is an important symbol of the future. “The aim is to create a green con-

“With regard to the green issue, COP15 can be the most important conference in the world.”

ference with innovative measures at a high a level as possible, but within our special framework. Emanating from sustainability, we shall implement a meeting with a good balance between economy, environment and social aspects.” There are seven important areas from an organiser’s sustainability perspective: the congress and expo centre, transport, accommodation, procurement/sponsoring, climate compensation, networking opportunities and communication. Jan-Christoph Napierski explains that two years ago when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs began negotiating over the location of the COP15 meeting, the Bella Center representatives said that large environmental initiatives were not particularly important as there was 2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


42 | THE COP15 SUMMIT

no facility anywhere in Denmark that could arrange an event of that magnitude. The congress and expo centre was convinced that this was a decisive argument. They already made money and were successful. “We asked them to let a consultant with a greater insight look into what could be done to create even better prerequisites, and to put forward a proposal for investment projects that would give Return On Investment in just a few months.” When the inspection was completed the congress centre’s management team decided to invest €3 million. They would not only comb home the money in a very short time, they would also be able to show that it created several way of saving money. In addition, carbon dioxide emissions could be cut by 20 per cent from 2007 up to today. Clear leadership goals were also drawn up at the Bella Center, which proved to be one of the crucial success factors in the improvement and change work. As an example, Jan-Christoph Napierski takes up the negotiations that ensured that Bella Center Catering only serves fair trade labelled coffee. Their argument was crystal clear: ‘Our machines can’t cope with this coffee so we can’t serve it.’ “But we turned it around and now the centre not only gets better PR, they also sell more coffee.” Another discussion that cropped up was whether or not the centre would sell bottled water. Consideration was taken to the transport, collection of bottles and jobs generated by the handling of glass bottles and bottled water was dropped in favour of tap water stations. “The congress centre previously had a long contract with a bottled water supplier that they quickly cancelled when they realised the MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

gain in offering tap water instead. The centre not only saves money, it makes more while doing something good for the environment. Sometimes we need help to create a waste management system. The City of Copenhagen’s own experts have told the centre management that it is not advice they are giving but a direct order to carry out the changes that we propose.” Jan-Christoph Napierski takes the lighting at the centre as another

example. Stage spotlights were needed because the old style lights generated too much heat. Today there are LED spotlights with 80-90 per cent lower energy consumption. This in turn facilitates much thinner cables, which saves a lot of money, not to mention an improved working environment for those who work with the lighting. But the Bella Center could not afford to buy new lighting, the new LED spotlights are very expensive. The solution was to hire


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44 | THE COP15 SUMMIT

lighting from the German manufacturer. The hire cost is covered by the amount of energy saved. ‘Nobody talks about things they don’t see’ is an expression sometimes used in environmental contexts. Jan-Christoph Napierski takes the Bella Center’s heating and ventilation plant as an example. All heating is done through a pump that nobody can see. “We have a project in which we are making the entire heating system web-based. The centre has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent, which is good, but the control must be even better. We need environmental certification for the entire plant, and that’s underway. The target is Green Key certification. It is possible thanks to a very good network that includes Copenhagen University.” According to Jan-Christoph Napierski, 20 per cent of the delegates will in all probability stay in Malmö and Lund, two Swedish towns. There are sufficient hotel rooms in Copenhagen, but most hotels in Malmö and Lund are cheaper and the Öresund Bridge brings the congress centre closer time wise. The project group is collaborating with Horesta (hotel and restaurant owners’ organisation), Visit Denmark, Wonderful Copenhagen, The City of Copenhagen, and the professional congress organiser MCI Group. It is vital to motivate as many hotels as possible to achieve environmental certification prior to the meeting. “We have worked closely with hotel owners and organisations. We had a good start with a few noteworthy interested parties, which paved the way for more speedy progress. We have also had some good support from the media, who had noticed the progress being made.” Jan-Christoph Napierski says MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

that the financial downturn has actually helped their work. Like the Bella Center they discovered that money can be saved by making the right investments. Last year there were 1,800 environmentally certified hotel rooms in Copenhagen. Recent weeks has seen more added to the list. Today there are 7,100 rooms in greater Copenhagen while Swedish towns Malmö and Lund together offer 1,400 environmentally certified rooms. According to Jan-Christoph Napierski, the rapid progress is largely due to excellent networking. Getting to and from the congress centre and hotels also requires crossborder collaboration. “We are collaborating with rail and bus companies in greater Copenhagen and the southern Swedish region of Skåne over free public transport. For security reasons we cannot allow all the taxis and buses to drive right up to the entrance. If we look at the Copenhagen rush hour, it’s perhaps an hour and a half in the morning and just as long in the afternoon. A part of our plan is to get all the taxi drivers to drive people to the nearest underground station instead. Then it is never more than 20 minutes to the Bella Center. Naturally we drive presidents, prime ministers and other high ranking delegates up to the entrance, but most other ministers can take public transport.” Using the green cars that are available is a matter of course considering the context. Biogas, second generation ethanol, hydrogen, hybrids run on electricity and second generation biodiesel. This also concerns the armoured vehicles that are used for security reasons. As a separate area, companies who are willing could put green cars at the delegates’ disposal. The aim is


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“The aim is to create a green conference with innovative measures at a high a level as possible, but within our special framework.”

2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


46 | THE COP15 SUMMIT

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009


THE COP15 SUMMIT | 47

to focus as much as possible on the positive things that are happening in the area of sustainable transport. So far there are over 50 cars in the show case arrangement. This is probably the first time this has taken place at this level during an international summit. With regard to sponsorship, all work has been in compliance with the UN Global Impact. Suppliers wishing to take part in the project must support the ten principles of the UN Global Impact. The organiser has been criticised for this decision, sometimes heavily. ‘You can’t do this to sponsors’ or ‘You’ll never attract any sponsors if you force this onto them’. But it was quite the opposite. Many companies were encouraged to read up on the ten principles and sign the contract in order to take part. And they now have the incentive to take new steps to work even more on sustainability issues. “We have received economic support to the tune of millions from our sponsors. This shows that good leadership, even with a higher risk factor, can sometimes pay off and even be a great success.” One example, which could be construed as being trivial, is that COP15 will not be giving an official bag to delegates or a classic Danish souvenir. According to Jan-Christoph Napierski, there are surveys that show that 90 per cent of such promotion material is left behind in the hotel rooms when delegates leave. “This is a total waste of resources. Naturally it was a tough decision for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take. By tradition we want to give guests a present as a reminder of the meeting. ’We must give them something surely?’ was the classic response. But we save between 600700 thousand Euro by not buying

those products.” But the money is being put to good use anyway because the Ministry has decided to offer eleven scholarships to people from different parts of the world. As well as being invited to the grand opening, they get two years’ studies in Denmark leading to a Masters degree. The issue went right to the top of the organisation committee before being given the green light. “This is a good model that can be used in other contexts, for example by the Meetings Professional International network and other organisations and companies.” High demands are being put on meals at the summit, higher than ever before. A minimum of 65 per cent of all food served at the centre must be biodynamic. Any food left over will be distributed among homeless people and go to producing the biogas used by the VIP limousines. The catering contract was put out on tender due to its financial size. Once again the organiser came across companies that pleaded ‘mission impossible, nobody can make money from serving so much biodynamic food’. “By the end of the tendering process we had four companies that filled the criteria with the centre’s own catering business finally winning the contract. We’d already got into fair trade labelled coffee and tea, now it was the turn of chocolate. All dairy products like milk, sugar and yogurt must be ecologically produced. And, of course, no green washing. Everything you see are products for a more sustainable society.” With regard to climate compensation, there is more than one problem to deal with. How do you calculate greenhouse gases and their 2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


48 | THE COP15 SUMMIT

impact when there are around a hundred different measuring models are in use? Another issue is how to calculate the carbon emissions of those who fly to Copenhagen. This is due to all the factors involved, for instance, what sort of plane is it? What route do you take? How straight can you fly to the destination? What sort of fuel does the plane use? How high does it fly? Something that is usually determined by the length of the journey. Which multiple factors should be used with regard to how high the plane flies? The UNFCCC calculates with a multiple factor of 2.7 for high altitude flying.

Napierski, the project group has had great success with regard to networking. “We had a special Hotel Task Force that achieved rapid results with environmental certification. We study the results from other conferences and issues surrounding the certification of certain companies before compiling our report. Our findings are drawn up in a report compiled by the City of Copenhagen, Visit Denmark, Wonderful Copenhagen, Novo Nordisk and the MCI Group. It shows, among other things, good results through strong networking. It is clear that the climate summit leads

“We will communicate our experiences to the meetings organisers of the world.”

Scandinavian Airlines Systems, SAS, a project partner, is applying a new approach to direct landing that gives three to five per cent lower emissions in combination with a small extra wing that lowers fuel consumption. Several airlines are well down the road in testing alternative fuels. A specially chartered Train to Copenhagen will depart from Brussels on December 5, and the passengers will get special treatment when they arrive at Huvudbangården station in Copenhagen. Over 1,000 delegates are expected to take up the offer of the International Union of Railways. According to Jan-Christoph MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

to results that can be used for a long time. We see than Copenhagen as a city becomes a stronger brand as an environmentally aware and environmentally developed congress and meetings city. Things are much easier when more hotels become environmentally certified and when congress and meetings organisers put together programmes with a sustainability perspective. The conclusion is, if you have partners who are environmentally certified then it is easier to bring along those who haven’t come as far.” Communicating the efforts that are being made with regard to sustainability is vital. Jan-Christoph

Napierski says that none of the work they do would have any significance if it were not made public. Delegates involved in the practicalities of reaching a higher level in the joint environmental work are all informed. There is a website to be developed, transports to show, all the delegates have to be motivated and inspired. On top of this comes liaison with the world media, and meeting others interested in the COP15 work through communication channels like Twitter, Google, YouTube and Facebook. “Imagine being able to inform 15,000 people that they can drink water from any tap they wish. The water is clean and fresh with no chlorine or other chemicals; not only in Copenhagen but throughout Denmark. We will show journalists the good examples and we will tell the story of Denmark as a green country. We will involve opinionformers prior to the summit. It’s vital that everybody who attends the summit is fully prepared.” The communication plan also states that, as organiser, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is prepared to find even better solutions for COP16. Furthermore, Denmark is once again EU Presidency country in the first half of 2012. “We will communicate our experiences to the meetings organisers of the world. We will discuss with the UN, who could use our material as a source of inspiration. We will talk of our conclusions on the importance of good leadership, networking, communication and transparency so that everybody can see what we have done and are doing. We will compile a special report that targets all those with an interest in the global meetings industry. COP15 is the beginning of a long process that will never end.” π


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TEXT

Atti Soenarso PHOTOS

Sara Appelgren

2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009


ALMEDALEN WEEK | 53

Almedalen Week in Visby on the

Baltic island of Gotland is Sweden’s largest political meeting place and democratic forum, open for anybody who wishes to debate current ­affairs. The basic concept is based on being able to listen to and respect each other’s views. Almedalen Week celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008. “There is a great need for a live forum, which we find gratifying. Meeting during Almedalen Week is regarded by many as being costeffective because “everybody is here”. The financial downturn has not impacted the interest level year

This summer saw the implementation of 1,041 events by 560 organisers and the presence of 400 accredited journalists, a record figure. Environment/climate was the dominating subject, followed by health care/welfare, trade and industry, children/youth, and employment/job market. A total of 7,500 people are estimated to have taken part. These meetings-intensive summer days offer breakfast meetings, seminars, debates, hearings, speeches, lunch meetings, afternoon seminars, short programmes and mingle before and after the political

either. The type of forum provided by the week, where politicians, trade and industry and organisations can meet, where everybody can talk with everybody and where all people have the same value, would be hard to find anywhere else. It’s a large concept, but I gladly use the word democracy. It’s extremely important to preserve and develop the openness that prevails here.” The person behind these words is Karin Lindvall, and she expresses them with an engagement that radiates. For the last 15 years she has managed Almedalen Week on behalf of Gotland’s Municipality. She is responsible for project coordination, the website, the calendar, media outreach, partners and consultancy with organisers and other delegates.

speeches in places in around medieval Visby. Informal meetings pop up in restaurants, bars, cashpoint queues, shops, hotel lobbies, and on the street. The location’s geographical concentration is its strength; ­everything is within walking distance of the quaint Hansa town with its 22,500 inhabitants. “Almedal Week is also a forum for creating and maintaining contacts with representatives of the various organisations, many of whom understand the importance of rubbing shoulders with political decisionmakers,” says Karin Lindvall, who has also been involved in the municipality’s EU meetings since the mid 1990s. “With winning host, humour and a twinkle in her eye, Karin Lindvall 2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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helps countless organisers to tackle seemingly insurmountable obstacles and create opportunities for ­organisations and Gotland to continue to develop”, was the motivation behind an inspiration scholarship she was awarded two years ago by MPI Chapter Sweden and Meetings International magazine. Karin Lindvall is practically the uncrowned queen of Almedalen Week’s and has a widespread influence. “But I’m not the only one who makes the week what it is. The whole arrangement is built around the hard work of many people. Not least all the local contractors. Together we have a great collective ­knowledge, and we are good at organising meetings.” In Karin Lindvall’s experience, should a debate start during Almedalen Week then it is important to be in place and make one’s party’s or organisation’s voice heard. The week offers ample opportunities to take part in a broad offering of seminars. There are plenty of opportunities for networking and forming contacts that you can benefit from when you return to your workplace. But, points out Karin Lindvall, it is possible to take part in the democratic debate without large resources or a long list of contacts. One condition, however, is that you are in Visby during the week in question. By tradition, Almedalen Week is the parliamentary parties’ week and is run without any interference from Gotland’s local authorities. The council contributes by building the platform that the parties stand on. The week stretches from Sunday to Saturday and the parties each have their own day according to a rolling schedule. Previously, politicians went home after they had held their speeches. Nowadays they remain to talk to MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

the press or sit on panels at question time. As well as parliamentary parties and local parties, representatives from political organisations, trade unions, and trade and industry all find their way to World Heritage Town Visby. Karin Lindvall is expected to answer questions regarding everything surrounding participation, formalities and prerequisites. “I talk unabated with people, find solutions, solve problems, give advice. For me, all problems are just as urgent. I try to be responsive, open and do my utmost to see interconnections that could possible improve

the programme. I want the organisers to enjoy being here as it’s a good place to meet in, and, of course, for them to return to Gotland again.” A meeting of the calibre of Almedalen Week generates large revenues for Gotland and its close on 50,000 inhabitants. This year the week generated around €5 million not including VAT and travel revenues. The number of guest nights totalled 19-20 thousand. Karin Lindvall says it is a win-win situation for all Gotlandic entrepreneurs: catering companies, carriers, guesthouses, and other local services. The value of the media coverage is estimated


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56 | ALMEDALEN WEEK 56 | SIDRUBBE

at €11.2 for web-based and printed media. An official programme magazine was produced containing the same programme information as the calendar on the website. It is in the programme that organisers advertise their events. Taking part in the calendar programme and in the

discussed it with them they won’t get a place.” Being on the calendar is a privilege, nothing anyone can demand.” The political parties form the basis of the event, but the seminars are most important. A glance at the programme magazine clearly shows the skills enhancement opportunities

strong position in Swedish politics. Karin Lindvall also helps organisers plan their participation in Almedalen Week with what to consider if they want to take part. She has the answers to questions like “How shall we plan, when should we do what, how do we actually do it, who will be sitting on the sofa in the Breakfast

“When the week is underway I hear discussions in the corridors and see how people stand

official programme is free of charge. And all organisers arrange and pay or their own events. But having their event in the calendar is nothing anyone should take for granted. “Those organisers only wanting publicity will not be accepted. An organiser must have a political topic, a debate issue, then they’re welcome. If they won’t change after we’ve

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

offered by the week. The seminars keep up a good pace, raise current issues, and those taking part are wellprepared. Karin Lindvall’s work tasks include sifting through the seminar programme, finding the subjects that belong together and then compiling the programme. The content not being controlled in detail is one of the reasons that the week has such a

Show tomorrow morning?” Or, as she puts it: “Each problem solved gives extra time on the air.” “Previously, politicians went home after they’d held their speeches. Nowadays they remain to talk to the press or sit on panels at question time. It feels as though everybody is in pastures new, which makes it easy to create something. This is an


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unconventional meeting place.” With a firm grip Karin Lindvall “educates” representatives of organisations in how best to get their message across. She is also the person who brings together representatives of different organisations, thus broadening the perspective in an issue.

may vary, but here you can discuss, turns issues on their head in an open forum.” Karin Lindvall says that the commitment of the organisers is a challenge when planning Almedalen Week. “Everybody has their own way of approaching the issues. The power

benefit to everyone.” On the subject of sustainability, Karin Lindvall advises organisers to choose locally produced food, publish printed matter locally and persuade people not to use bottled water. “Here you have to work yourself free, you can’t buy yourself free.” When on TV or during a pho-

talking earnestly with each other. It’s clear to see how the week is of great benefit to everyone.”

“Including a few experts is much better than only party leaders taking part. People with in-depth knowledge contribute to better coverage of the subjects under debate. It creates a more qualified debate. You reach out to a new audience and spread knowledge to people that the organisation would never normally reach out to. The aim of the questions

and energy that grows around the programme items is fascinating. It’s extremely important to preserve and develop the openness that prevails here. When the week is underway I hear discussions in the corridors and see how people stand talking earnestly with each other. It’s clear to see how the week is of great

tographed interview for a newspaper or magazine, Karin Lindvall wears clothes produced on Gotland. “It’s deliberate and I pay for it myself.” Karin Lindvall is not one to be fooled into easy solutions but carefully regulates all collaborations. She describes herself as an

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extreme negotiator who works 14 hours a day from the middle of May until the week is over. The checklist of issues that crop up during the course of the week is endless and sprawls in all conceivable directions. “The starting point is to think and act in a way that prepares the ground and helps all concerned to manage their job in the best possible way. What are the needs of the security police? How can I help them? Do any of the participants have personal protection? What can I do to help there? Uniformed police and emergency services? How do I create the ultimate conditions for their work? When should the streets be cleared?” Since it began in the late 1960s, a spirit has gradually grown that is now called the Almedalen Spirit. When Karin Lindvall hears the question “What is the Almedalen Spirit?” her voice shimmers: “It means being accommodating and obliging towards others. You should be generous with your time and share your knowledge. You should be approachable and let others speak. You can go up to anyone on the street and ask: “You’re familiar with this issue, what do you thing about…?” A discussion then takes place, a meeting. The informal atmosphere is manifest and the dress code is definitely ties off. Karin Lindvall has often wondered how the atmosphere could be so unpretentious. One of the theories is that the meetings take place outdoors, which opens up for completely different contact surfaces. Also, Visby’s medieval streets are very narrow. Other reasons are that summer invites a relaxed atmosphere with people meandering between seminars and other activities. Intimacy, conversation,

democracy, education are words that Karin Lindvall returns to. “Standing in a hotel lobby during politics week can open up for new meetings that would never be as easy otherwise. During these days you could bump into a politician who you’ve been trying to contact for weeks on the phone without success. And now suddenly you’re standing in the same queue in Visby.” Historically, Almedalen Week has been Swedish in content, then Nordic and thereafter European. Today international issues play a

such an open forum was possible. Prior to the Korean election, the Koreans sought a democratic forum. When they came here they found what they were looking for. It resulted in an hour-long Korean TV programme about the meeting place where everybody speaks with each other. This year a new group of delegates came on a study visit: ambassadors based in Sweden came to learn more about Swedish politics. The German, US, British and New Zeeland ambassadors have already visited Visby. “It’s all part of political progress,” claims Karin Lindvall.

“It’s extremely important to preserve and develop the openness that prevails here.”

much greater part in the debates. Or as Karin Lindvall puts it: “We’re all dependent on each other’s decisions, we’re very dependent on the context we find ourselves in.” The unique meeting forum offered by Almedalen Week is attracting a great deal of attention from other countries. Karin Lindvall reveals that Gotland Municipality has received enquiries about the concept from, for example, Germany, Norway, Finland, Korea and Balkan countries. Politicians and officials want to come and experience the week for themselves. A representative from Finland’s association of local authorities was amazed at how

Taking Almedalen Week to an even higher level is an issue that is high on the agenda. According to Karin Lindvall there are different ways of looking at it, but reiterates that the lack of meetings venues and hotel rooms impedes growth. Another bottleneck is communications with the mainland. “There are many quality issues to consider and that work is ongoing. The meeting forum in itself is a success factor, we know that. We have a good infrastructure, collaboration, real enthusiasts, people with good judgement and we meet across the borders. As a concept, Almedalen Week is hard to beat.” π 2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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TEXT

Atti Soenarso

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

PHOTOS

David Leyes


BECOME EXTRAORDINARY | 61

Robin Sharma is a guide in the

art of living life to the full. His advice and words of wisdom are down to earth and cover everything from simple, practical deeds to more comprehensive advice. He encourages people to live a live built around choice rather than chance, to consciously choose a life instead of living it as it comes. Internationally, the Canadian is ranked as one of the world’s most popular lecturers and coaches in the field of leadership, personal de-

velopment and lifestyle. For fifteen years Robin Sharma has been called upon by CEOs in organisations like Microsoft, IBM, Fedex, Nasa, BP and the Harvard Business School. The ten books he has so far written are published in over 50 countries and close on 70 languages. The books in the series The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari have sold millions of copies worldwide. This autumn Robin Sharma toured Europe, holding lectures, seminars and workshops under the

heading Lead Without Title – High Performance Leadership in Turbulent Times, which basically means leadership skills without the need to hide behind a title and the ability to do one’s utmost in all conceivable situations. Robin Sharma is generous with his knowledge, which he sandwiches between metaphors, anecdotes, aphorisms, quotes… a discussion with him is an intensive experience. Perhaps it is how he shares his knowledge that is the secret behind 2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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“Everybody can be a good leader.”

his success. He puts it across in a way that is accepted by the audience, storytelling is one of the methods. His critics say he never comes with anything new, upon which he replies: “Why complicate things by reinventing the wheel?” He emphasises the importance of understanding the meaning of leading and showing leadership. Everybody can be a good leader. Leadership is nothing you are born with but is shaped through constant development, self-awareness, experience and education. “All too many people live their lives in a sort of coma, and all too many focus on negative thoughts. To be a winner at work and in private life everybody has to show leadership, regardless of the title they have,” says Robin Sharma, whose educational company Sharma MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

Leadership International specialises in developing leadership skills, thus improving results in times of rapid change. When Robin Sharma left his career as a junior barrister he began studying the great leaders and thinkers of the world. He studied philosophy, read books by and about the leading lights. What drove them to become what they became? “I wanted to be influenced by the great philosophers. I began making small changes to my own life based on what I had learnt, and sure enough it led to great changes.” Robin Sharma’s mission in life is crystal clear. He wants to help individuals in companies and organisations to be as good as they can in what they do and help them to realise their goals, not only at work but in their private lives. One thing that

comes across quite clearly is that he is results-oriented, as opposed to many other consultants. “All too many books are philosophical and provide no answers.” Robin Sharma gladly shares his knowledge, but says he would like his thoughts put into practical actions. “It’s not enough just knowing what we have to do, we must act in accordance with that knowledge if we are to achieve lasting and positive change.” We talk about having the courage to take risks in achieving our goals. He says one must have the courage to take the time to determine one’s goals. The greatest danger in life is not having the courage to take any risks whatsoever, leading to the deathbed scenario where we regret the risks we never took, bemoan


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64 | BECOME EXTRAORDINARY

the opportune moments we never captured. Robin Sharma reviews his goals regularly, unlike most other people who never think of their goals until they are old. “You must learn to prioritise what you wish to achieve. Successful business leaders, for example, are keenly aware of their priorities, which gives them the strength to say no to something that is not important. Only then do they achieve results. What makes successful business leaders so good at what they do has nothing to do with their background,” explains Robin Sharma, who has also worked closely with billionaires and students and studied the way they act. “Of course studies are important, but not specifically for success.” In his experience, successful entrepreneurs burn for their task. How they think and integrate with other people and having a vision is a vital component. How do the most successful people go about achieving their goals irrespective of whether they are the leader of an organisation, a company, are a billionaire, entrepreneur or sportsperson? How do they think? “One thing they have in common is a clear vision that is connected with their mission, and a clear focus. They also ask what will happen from today to their final day on earth. There’s nothing wrong with being completely absorbed in something as long as it’s the right thing. Many people can be very engaged in something without being especially productive. With regard to energy, most successful people know that the most important commodity in a business is energy and sustainability. “Stress is not always counterproductive, but you have to find periods MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

of rest and relaxation to enable you to recharge your batteries. Compare with sports personalities. They have playing days, then they have to rest and gather new strength, take time to meditate, after which they come back and play well, then retire again to rest and train. Inspiration creates innovation, but not without pause for thought and reflection. If you push harder and harder without recharging you run out of energy. There’s nothing wrong with working hard, but you have to give yourself time to recharge your batteries to create new energy. “Being a good communicator is also significant, but not as significant as helping other people. Ask yourself how you can create better value for your customers. Try to ­create added value for your clients and build relationships. “Be innovative. Innovation is

about developing and improving through constant improvement. Be convinced that you can perform better today than yesterday. Constant improvement is not just something you say you will do, but something you have to do. It’s not particularly difficult to advance your positions a little at a time.” Having a clear business structure is also a contributory factor to success. Robin Sharma takes McDonald’s as an example: “Whichever McDonald’s you visit the offering is the same. Be sure that you develop your business along the same lines as always. If there’s a structure in which each part has a bearing in what you have already done then the success factor will be even greater.” With regard to economy, the most important economy you have is the one between your eyes. You must really believe that you can fulfil your dreams. Or as Robin Sharma puts it: “You can never be bigger in your business dealings than what you carry inside you. Are you one of those people who has eaten the same breakfast every day for ten years? Have you taken the same route to work and talked about the same things for many years? “The 90-second rule is all about fear. When you get a good idea, act upon it immediately or the voice of fear will close the window after only 90 seconds. You must strike while the iron’s hot. Other significant factors include not breaking your promises, getting back to people in the agreed time and showing that you can always be trusted. Also, consider what you want to leave behind you, create something that lasts longer than you do. Achieve something that benefits other people and human progress. How will anyone remember that you have been on earth? Think about that.” π


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JJ | 67

johansson « johan johansson, L'enfant terrible of the meetings industry. Together with his colleagues at Fivestarday, JJ experiments with new and innovative ways of creating lasting impressions, using the meeting as primary media. Johan Johansson was the founder of Gather, a collective of cutting edge crossdisciplinary specialists who are determined to take the meeting into the future.

Magic is making a grand

comeback in our lives. Not in the revamped version of illusionist duo Siegfried & Roy, but in new exciting seductions in which we experience how perspectives are distorted without the risk of losing our foothold. Instead of Houdini wannabes, a new generation of architects and designers are taking command of our coveted, illusory lives. At his exhibition Revolving Hotel Room in the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Artist Carsten Höller gave visitors the chance to rent his rotating hotel room installation for the night as if the museum were a normal hotel. A projection onto one of the naked exhibition walls served as a hotel TV and guests could stroll around the closed exhibition at any time for a private viewing. It is not only the notion of spending the night at one of the world’s most famous museums that is unreal, but the installation itself. A bed, a writing desk and a wardrobe on enormous sheets of glass that rotate unnoticed, so when you wake up from your museum slumber the whole room has changed, abracadabra! Good things

THE PERFECT MEETING – an illusion

don’t come cheap. One night will put you back 798 dollars. In an increasingly optimised and doctored world with everything at our fingertips, we seek something new to believe in. The more unreal the better. We need to look no further than all the conceptual design hotels popping out of the ground like mushrooms, where the borderline between fairy tale and reality is wafer thin and where a simple restaurant visit becomes a journey into unchartered territory. Being able to leave the daily grind and enter a world of inexplicable events and shattering experiences is becoming increasingly popular, and we are seemingly prepared to pay through the nose for this chance to escape reality. Architects Arakawa and Gins go as far as to claim that environments which challenge our intellect and physique not only make us sharper and more focused, but actually help us live longer. In their latest creation Bioscleave House in East Hampton, New York, they have created rooms that would make even the least sensitive among us want to pull the sheets over their face. The keywords here are uncomfortable, messy and downright dangerous. In an outlandish interior, you climb up to the kitchen and creep down to the dining alcove. The place is littered 2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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with ingenious traps to be overcome using curiosity and enthusiasm for the most mundane things, like going to the toilet for example. The colours screech like warning signals, the body gets the chance to utilise its capacity and the intellect is activated through never-ending challenge, all to save us from conformity and laxity in a surrealistic milieu in which nothing can be taken for granted. When the tiny, super cool Fiat 500 was launched amid a great hullabaloo, it was not the grand ceremony in Turin in front of a massive media turnout that everybody talked about, quite the opposite. Significantly more low key, but with incredible ingenuity, the design bureau Random International created an installation in London that used illusion as a tool. In a seemingly empty premises on an everyday shopping street, in a flash the new car suddenly appeared, as if by magic, right under the noses of curious passersby, only to disappear again as quick as it had come leaving the premises empty and dark again. By applying liquid crystals onto a standard shop window that could be turned on and off with a light switch, they created the illusion of the ‘disappearing car’ and the whole world was struck with wonder. Dubious? Search on Youtube and see for yourself. With Harrods in London as their playing field, the small Chilean lighting company Luxia took world shoppers by surprise with their concept The Anemix. The stylistically pure, but somewhat dull, interior of the luxury store was transformed into a vibrant meeting of all our senses. Barely visible digital LED displays weaved dreamlike scenarios that would have appeared lifelike and genuine had they not moved unMEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

hindered through the air. For people wanting the experience in their own home, a version is being released that can be placed on everyday furniture like a bookcase, a bedside table or a lamp with the motto ‘show off the magic while entertaining house guests’. Many years have passed since the middle ages when people actually believed in witchcraft and sorcery, and morbidly subjected heretics and sorcerers to all conceivable

“In an increasingly optimised and doctored world with everything at our fingertips, we seek something new to believe in.”

horrors. Today we know that magic is an illusory mix of psychological advantage, great talent and a well-staged number. Or, as they say in magic circles, ‘it’s all done with smoke and mirrors’. But despite genuine magic having fallen in the credibility stakes, something always entices. Something that kick-starts the imagination and curiosity, that challenges our notions and, more importantly, guarantees our participation. π


Save the date!

Acquaint yourself with all the possibilities Sweden and Gรถteborg offer as a meeting and incentive destination and get the latest update on the meeting industry during the leading Scandinavian trade fair for travel, tourism and meetings, TUR 2010. Meetings@TUR is a meeting industry event where important players of the Swedish meeting industry meet side by side. Plan your trip to Gรถteborg 24-26 March 2010 to join us.

www.tur.se

Meetings@TUR partners 2010


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Atti Soenarso

PHOTOS

Sara Appelgren

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“Putting words into deeds is in learning how to create practical solutions for green meetings. We in the meetings industry must be bolder in our environmental work,” says North American Amy Spatrisano, who developed The Meet Green Tool, an instrument that enables meetings participants to control all parts of creating a green meeting, and how to go about making a stand for what they believe in. What exactly is a green meet-

ing? What is required of a meeting organiser in order to call their meeting “green”, and just how green is it? What is the difference between greenwashing and implementing a green meeting in earnest? How do you measure it? How do you put across what you do to ensure that participants and other interested parties take your message onboard? Internationally, Amy Spatrisano is a pioneer in the green meetings field. She is CEO and founder of Meeting Strategies Worldwide, a consultancy involved in the environmental adaptation of meetings companies. She has over 20 years’ experience of the meetings industry and is a pioneer in the sector. She developed the green measurement standard Meet Green Measurement, founded the Green Meeting Industry Council and is President of the US APEX sustainable event standards initiative. “It all began at a meeting I helped to arrange many years ago. Something clicked when I saw the order for 75,000 plastic mugs.” Earlier this year Amy Spatrisano was in Stockholm to share practical solutions and instruments for making the planning of green meetings simpler and more down to earth, thus helping to bolster company brands and profits.

Sweden is usually seen as a global model in environmental administration, and Stockholm won the first EU European Green Capital Award. However, the Swedish Meetings Industry has not always been at the forefront of developing solutions for sustainable meetings. Many players only have a vague idea of what a green meeting actually is and think it entails extra costs. According to Amy Spatrisano there is widespread confusion among meetings customers as to which companies are the more environmentally sustainable. Moreover, many meetings buyers are prepared to pay more for a meeting that is good from a sustainability perspective. She says that much of the confusion is due to companies not presenting the impact of their operations clearly and transparently. What is the difference between talking about green meetings in Sweden, where many have had a green policy for a long time and feel that are at the global forefront of green thinking, and debating the issue in other countries? “It was gratifying to know that everyone in the audience had a high minimum level in their sustainability perspective, I never needed to explain simple findings. Before my speech I had pangs of anxiety over how I would be received. Would it 2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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be too basic and make them yawn? I’m from the USA after all, and we haven’t got the best reputation in the world when it comes to sustainability and our environmental outlook and actions. One of the questions I asked myself before my speech was: ‘What could she possibly teach us that we don’t already know?’ I really hope the audience thought I contributed with something.” Is it a myth that Sweden is at the forefront of developments surrounding environmental issues? If not, is the Swedish meetings industry a standardbearer?

Which countries are pioneering with regard to environmental issues today? “I’m not sure that I know all the countries and their work. During my travels and discussions with other people around the world who work with these issues, I cannot conclude other than that western European countries, which of course includes Scandinavia, some parts of Canada, Australia and some parts of Asia have come the furthest. Sadly enough, I don’t include the USA, even if there are states that have come further than others in these issues. But our new administration

“Something clicked when I saw the order for 75,000 plastic mugs.”

“You have a high international standing with regard to sustainable environmental thinking. On top of everything you must remember that Sweden gave birth to The Natural Step, a programme upon which our company bases its values and approach in integrating our endeavours and process work. As to whether the Swedish meetings industry is at the same forefront, my answer would be probably, from a general point of view. But I also get the feeling that not all companies set measureable environmental goals, but a few do in order to advance and to push developments forward.”

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

in Washington does give us new hope with regard to environment progress.” Are there any international organisations at the forefront? “Plenty of organisations talk about sustainability and social progress, and the issue has taken off in the past ten to eighteen months. Some naturally do a better job than others. I also put greater trust in organisations that see it as an ongoing and sustainable development project, and who work transparently, than companies that proclaim to have achieved their goals and tick off their environmental work on a ‘must do’ list.


Do you want your meeting to be green, too? Do you want your meeting to be green, too?

Combine your meeting with a first hanD experienCe Danish Climate Combine yourof meeting with a first solutions hanD Take an EnergyTour. EnergyTours highlight in Combine your meeting with a firsthow, hanD

Take an EnergyTour. EnergyTours highlight how, in Denmark, innovative eco-friendly solutions have been experienCe of Danish Climate solutions Denmark, innovative eco-friendly solutions have been proven to be economically successful, contributing not proven to be economically successful, contributing not just to the world’s energy savings, but also tripling DaTake an EnergyTour. EnergyTours highlight how, in just to the world’s energy savings, but also tripling Danishexports exports in improved energy technologies the nish in improved energy technologies over have theover Denmark, innovative eco-friendly solutions been past past10 10years. years. proven to be economically successful, contributing not Photos and informations courtesy of VisitDenmark

If yes, hold it in Denmark – host country the World Do you want your meeting to be to green, too? yes, hold it in Denmark – host country to the World BusinessIfSummit on Climate Change, the UN Climate Business Summit on Climate Change, the UN Climate Change Conference 2009,2009, COPCOP 15, 15, andand many other Change Conference many other related congresses. If yes, hold it in Denmark – host country to the World related congresses. Business Summit on Climate Change, the UN Climate As the part hosting of the2009, hosting obligations, the Danish meeting As part of obligations, Danish meeting Change Conference COP 15,the and many other industry has been working intensively to form agreen green industry has been working intensively to form a related congresses. and responsible platform for these important events. and responsible platform for these important events. You, too, could benefit from the fact that Denmark has You,part too,of could benefit from the fact Denmark As the of hosting thethat Danish meeting plenty energy obligations, and environmental certified hotelshas and plenty ofconference energy environmental and industry has beenand working to efficient formhotels a green centres, anintensively extensivecertified and public conference centres, an extensive efficient public transportation infrastructure, high class organic restauand responsible platform for theseand important events. and caterersfrom etc. the transportation infrastructure, high class restauYou, too,rants could benefit fact thatorganic Denmark has rants and caterersand etc.environmental certified hotels and plenty of energy The new congress consortium MeetDenmark is an conference centres, an extensive and efficient public ambitious initiative of cooperation between the conThe newvention congress consortiumhigh MeetDenmark isVisitAarhus, an transportation infrastructure, class organic restaubureaux of Wonderful Copenhagen, ambitious initiative of cooperation between the conrants andVisitAalborg, caterers etc. VisitSouth Denmark and VisitDenmark, the vention bureaux of Wonderful Copenhagen, official tourism organisation of Denmark. VisitAarhus, VisitAalborg, VisitSouth Denmark and VisitDenmark, The new congress consortium MeetDenmark is an the MeetDenmark aims to build on the success of attracting official tourism organisation of Denmark. ambitious initiative of cooperation between the consignificant international congresses and meetings within vention bureaux of Wonderful Copenhagen, VisitAarhus, the fields of politics, culture and sciences and attract MeetDenmark aimsintothis build on the country success of attracting VisitAalborg, VisitSouth Denmark VisitDenmark, more events field to theand in the future.the To significant international congresses and meetings within official tourism organisation of Denmark. fulfil this ambition, both the private and public sectors the fieldssupport of politics, culture and sciences and attract MeetDenmark, including the Marketing Denmark Fund under the Business and Economic more events in aims this field toMinistry the in the future. To MeetDenmark to build on country theofsuccess of attracting fulfil thisAffairs. ambition, both congresses the private and and meetings public sectors significant international within support MeetDenmark, including the Marketing Denthe fieldswww.meetdenmark.dk of politics, culture and sciences and attract mark Fund under the Ministry of Business and Economic more events in this field to the country in the future. To Affairs. fulfil this ambition, both the private and public sectors support MeetDenmark, including the Marketing Denwww.meetdenmark.dk mark Fund under the Ministry of Business and Economic

just to the world’s energy savings, but also tripling Da-

EnergyTours offer a unique opportunity to experience EnergyTours offer a unique opportunity to experience nish exports in improved energy technologies over the Danish ‘cleantech’ and climate solutions that are helping Danish ‘cleantech’ and climate solutions that are helping past 10 years. solve the world’s climate and energy problems.

solve the world’s climate and energy problems.

Tours allow other countries to benefit from theto lessons EnergyTours offer a unique opportunity experience already learned in Denmark by meeting and sharing Tours allow other countries to solutions benefit from Danish ‘cleantech’ and climate thatthe arelessons helping knowledge with Danish environmental frontrunners, inalready learned inclimate Denmark meeting and sharing solve the world’s andbyenergy problems. cluding corporate institution leaders, politicians and knowledge withand Danish environmental frontrunners, inexperts. They are particularly relevant to top managecluding corporate and institution leaders, politicians and Tours allow other countries to benefit from the lessons ment, technical management and commercial manageexperts. Theyenergy are relevant toand topsharing managealready learned in particularly Denmark byas meeting ment in leading companies well as politicians ment, technical management and commercial manageknowledge environmental frontrunners, inand journalistswith withDanish environmental issues on the agenda.

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EnergyTours is a new technical visits project, operated inagenda. and journalists with environmental issues on the experts. They are particularly relevant to top managecooperation between the Climate Consortium Denmark ment, technical management and commercial manageand VisitDenmark.

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www.energytours.com cooperation between the Climate Consortium Denmark and journalists with environmental issues on the agenda.

and VisitDenmark. EnergyTours is a new technical visits project, operated in www.energytours.com cooperation between the Climate Consortium Denmark and VisitDenmark. www.energytours.com

Photos and informations Photos andcourtesy informations of VisitDenmark courtesy of VisitDenmark

experienCe of Danish Climate solutions


76 | GREEN THINKING

Are there any books you can ­recommend? “Unfortunately, no. But from a broader business perspective more people should read about the new industrial revolution in Cradle to Cradle by Chemistry Professor William McDonough and Architect Michael Braungart, and Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken, a leading light within corporate social responsibility. Cradle to Cradle is the new design

industry and that there are organisations working actively to reduce its negative environmental impact. “Al Gore is of course a strong advocate for improving the global environment. Bill Clinton has also done a great deal, particularly from a social perspective. I also add Robert Redford to the list. He’s not a politician but his views and influence over the past 30 years have had a great significance.”

surroundings and the state of our planet Earth. I also think a fourth element should be added: the purpose. This is because the first three parts are seldom in tandem at the time of making an important decision. Most times one thing weighs heavier than the other. Therefore, we should weigh in the purpose more often in the equation, because if we don’t we cannot always determine the importance of other factors that could be

Do green meetings and corporate social responsibility (CSR) belong together? Why? Could you give some examples? “For me it goes without saying that green meetings and CSR are compatible. You could say that they have different definitions, but do they really have different intentions? I don’t think so. Sustainability is when it’s pulled to its limits, not just a question of survival but also about thriving. In order to thrive in a sustainable balanced life, we are affected by social interaction with other people, our own and society’s economy, and, not least, our close

crucial in the decision we’re about to make. As an example I take one of our customers who demanded that an event be held in the town’s greenest hotel. Six weeks before the event, the trade union at the hotel in question chose the occasion to demonstrate against the hotel owners in an ongoing conflict. The customer decided to move elsewhere. The only rooms left at the time were in the most non-green hotel in the town. For this customer the social perspective easily took precedence over the environmental aspect. It was greenwashing. π

“Sustainability is when it’s pulled to its limits, not just a question of survival but also about thriving.”

paradigm where, instead of producing toxins and waste, all materials act as nutrients in the new biological and industrial processes. One website worth visiting on the subject of a standard for green meetings is Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX). www.apexsolution.org Have you met any politicians in the world who talk about green issues and the meetings industry? “Yes, I immediately think of a man from Canada who constantly complains about the negative environmental impact of the meetings industry. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to understand the workings of the MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009


HOTEL

MEETINGS

RESTAURANTS

gothiatowers.com


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Fredrik Emdén PHOTOS

Sara Appelgren MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009


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A few years ago Vesa Honkonen began his lectures by

turning off the ceiling lights and using a wax candle that he had beside him as the only light source in the room. This is probably the most effective way of putting across the lighting designer’s message. Working with lighting is just as much about darkness as light. “When working with lighting, the most important thing to understand is darkness. There is nearly always too much light. You should start with the darkness and then paint with light,” says Vesa Honkonen. So darkness is the canvas that you paint upon? “Exactly. For me, darkness is the basic state of being. There is no movement, no energy. Light comes and lives as long as there is energy,” he says and points out that all attention can be focused by just one lux, referring to the example of the wax candle. “The contrast was manifest. The candle created a room solely around me. Meeting rooms are about contrast, only contrast. If there is already light you cannot create more light. You have to begin creating darkness. This is important to understand. When night comes it is because the light is disappearing rather than darkness falling. We return to square one,” he explains, and uses the same logic when he dismisses the notion that Rembrandt was the master of light. “No, Rembrandt was the master of darkness and dark shades. He only needed a little light to make something great and beautiful.” Vesa Honkonen works within architecture, design, art and town planning. But it is through his work with lighting that he has become most renowned, thus giving him the reputation of only having worked within that field. In actual fact he would much rather work with entire room solutions. On several occasions a lighting assignment has culminated in him being given the task of designing the room in its entirety. “Light is integrated into everything I do. It’s always present. It’s not possible to separate lighting from town planning or in designing a chair or a building. I have to use light and darkness as building materials. A good lighting installation is a meeting between material and light. It’s impossible to create good lighting if you can only affect the light. You also have to be able to affect the surface colours and how much they reflect. Light does not live until it strikes a surface. When travelling through the 2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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air, light is invisible because light is nothing in itself. “Then you have to be aware of light temperature and colour rendition to help you choose the right light. There are many different light sources and a variety of qualitative things in light that you can master and utilise. You can, for example, choose between cold daylight or a warm, yellower light. If you want a romantic dinner you don’t choose daylight or a fluorescent light. It impacts our emotions.” Vesa Honkonen says that the most common mistake when designing the lighting for a meeting room is in giving it too much light. “The light is not directed but shines everywhere, and darkness is forgotten. You have to let the darkness remain. You should not be afraid of darkness but dare to create contrasts. Then it depends on whether it is about indirect light or the creation of a lot of shadow. Direct light creates a lot of shadow making it difficult to separate details. It’s difficult to see the face of somebody talking with light coming down from above. If the light is indirect, the lack of shadow is tiring on the eyes.” Vesa Honkonen considers most meeting rooms as being very poor with regard to lighting. He compares lighting in meeting rooms with that in restaurants: “There is no good restaurant lighting.” “The greatest problem is flexibility, being able to move it around the room, but then the problem of fittings that require power arises.” Vesa Honkonen likes the thought of a meeting room with a table in the middle that is illuminated from above with the rest of the room in darkness. He draws parallels with the Stone Age when we sat around a round campfire. The fire was both MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

light source and safety, which created a special unity. “Those instincts remain. We should utilise them.” In the 1990s Vesa Honkonen worked together with the American architect Steven Holl. Honkonen was the project architect in the design and building phase of the Kiasma Museum for Contemporary Art in Helsinki. He worked in New York for three years before returning to Helsinki to supervise the building of the museum. He gladly calls himself a “genuine house elf” because he first studied to become a house architect before he began working with lighting. “My background is making buildings. But during the work Steven Holl said that the most important building material was the light. We two think in much the same way. Architecture has to be experienced, not understood. And light is what gives shape.” Vesa Honkonen likens the rise of Kiasma with “almost the third world war”. War veterans protested against the museum being built near an historical sculpture and the daredevil architecture got older architects to join the chorus of critics. Vesa Honkonen, who received a death threat for his participation, says that it taught him that architecture is life and politics. But he likes resistance. “People do not like great changes. When somebody opposes me it means I’ve done something interesting. It’s not about provoking but doing something as honest as possible,” he says and names Jimi Hendrix’s interpretation of the US national anthem as a source of inspiration. “He didn’t look to provoke but to play as beautifully as he could. It was beautiful to him but not to those in power. Honesty is significant in the art.”


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“For me, darkness is the basic state of being.”

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One of Vesa Honkonen’s devices is that there must be a story in the architecture that holds together the building or work of art. He has, for example, been applauded for the new chairs and table that he designed for Kiasma. During the process that led to the chair, Vesa Honkonen emanated from a serial strip that he had drawn himself, where a person conversing with the emptiness wanted a chair to sit on. Through the dialogue and that which happened in the serial, Vesa Honkonen found the shape of the chair. Four months into the process he noticed that the ideas did not work, the chair he designed would be too expensive and complicated to produce. In ten minutes he created a new design that was MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

possible to manufacture. “It happened so quickly because there was a strong story behind the chair.” A journalist noticed the chair and wrote “the value of an ugly chair”, which pleased Vesa Honkonen no end. “Not everybody likes having their things called ugly, but in a nice part of the article they wrote that for anyone working with minimalism this robust chair was a welcoming trend break. You couldn’t say that the chair was beautiful exactly, but you love it because it has a soul. The women who wrote the article felt that. That’s the important thing.” During his travels Vesa Honkonen has noticed how light

differs in different places in the world and the affect it has on people. He draws a diagram on a piece of paper to show how light near the equator differs from the light in the Nordics and how it affects our lives and way of being. How can we use the rhythm of light to create an effective meeting? “The illuminance, for instance. You can turn the light up if you want to increase the tempo and lower it for a calmer atmosphere. If you want to convince somebody or make a really good presentation then it is worth putting time and effort into the lighting. The best lighting is when nobody notices the fittings or sees that you have manipulated the light.” π


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TEXT

Fredrik Emdén PHOTOS

Sara Appelgren

2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


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INTUITION | 89

Designer Paola Navone always

maintains that intuition is her main source of inspiration. This is the reason that I wanted to ask her how she kept the intuition in trim without it becoming a routine. For several decades Paola Navone has created furnishings and interior design, ornaments and textiles springing from her instinct and her first impression, and by not doing the same thing twice. She is behind the much noted Otto furniture series and, among many others, has worked with Armani, Alessi and Knoll International. Paola Navone is often described as a living legend. But we don’t quite understand each other, Paola Navone and I. Perhaps it’s a language thing. Perhaps the constant murmuring in the lounge that diverts the focus. Perhaps the legend status. My question fastens somewhere between my brain cells and my mouth. Or somewhere between me and Paola Navone. The Italian with the closecropped hairstyle gives me a stern glare and says “I don’t understand the question.” I swallow and gaze at my notes, trying to find a way of expressing myself. It goes very quiet. It’s not until I say ‘never mind’ and manage to pop the next question, which was about something else entirely, that Paola Navone drops the frown and begins talking about what I‘d tried to ask her about in the first place. “Intuition is a mechanism that’s part of my work. One could say that it undergoes two phases. In the first I take in information. For 24 hours a day I look at things, feel things, dream about things. Everything collects in my brain. It’s like a large trashcan. Phase two takes over when I have something to work on. This’s when some of the impressions I’ve

gathered come to the surface very quickly. “There’s seldom any planning behind what I do. That doesn’t come until the creative part is concluded and the item has to be produced. But that’s other people’s jobs, not only mine. But the solution to a problem is an intuitive process, something that takes place very quickly. As we breath we gather impressions.” Do you create the whole time? “No, only when I have something to do. Otherwise I swim, cook, go to the cinema. I’m very happy without design. Therein probably lies the difference between a designer and an artist. I’ve no inclination whatsoever towards becoming an artist. I have an exciting job that is sometimes like an adventure.” What inspires you? “Everything. My real job is to look around and gather impressions. And I look around all the time. I don’t create non-stop, but I absorb things; colours, aromas, shapes, words. But that’s not the creative bit but the first part of the job. Creating is when you wrap the impressions into something you can deliver to the customer.” What is an inspiring milieu? “There’s no such classification. I absorb everything. Nothing is more inspiring than anything else because I like nearly everything. A rather bulimic attitude, if you like. I like to visit expos, shops, markets and the most exclusive boutiques. I’ve no filter for that process. My areas of interest cover a broad span. I look at everything.” Today Paola Navone mainly works with interior design. As such she has a divided opinion about meeting rooms. She thinks they are quite often very impersonal. “They are no doubt effective, pleasant and perfect from a techni2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


90 | INTUITION

cal perspective, but it’s never an environment to feel at home in.” Designing a meeting room should be like designing a house, she says, and she has experience of both. But she sees no difference between the specific function of a meeting room and its milieu: “Naturally, a meeting room would probably need more than one chair, considering that a room like that would be like designing an office for me. I like the idea of removing all that normally characterises an office and making it look like a normal home in a normal house. In the same way I’d try to make a meeting room feel like a large room in my own house and shift the focus from the technical requirements to the personal feeling.” MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

Is it possible to bring people closer to each other through design? “No, I believe that the actual meeting between people is a conscious thing. Design can help to create an environment that is more or less comfortable and pleasant, but it is through the consciousness that we meet.” The offices that Paola Navone has designed, including one for a fashion company, do not look like real offices, something that she herself maintains: “I ensure that the rooms are not similar, different types of floor for example. Then I choose material that doesn’t feel cold and impersonal, material that gives the room a personal touch.” One of Paola Navone’s charac-

teristics is that she gladly mixes styles and material in order to create contrasts. “I like opposites. Not only old and new, but soft and hard or matt and shiny.” In much the same way, her partiality to mistakes in design has become well known: “A mistake can add a bit of excitement to a process that sometimes tends to be too perfect, too even and stable. Trying to make mistakes is interesting. I sometimes advise my customers to do it in the production process to make the objects look different, but I haven’t been particularly successful. Customers don’t like the thought,” she says laughing aloud. It’s a liberating laugh. π


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92 | MPI – A VISION

MAGNUSSON « bosse magnusson, Enthusiast, CEO MCI Scandinavia, President MPI Sweden. bo.magnusson@mci-group.com

As the sole MPI Chapter in the

world, MPI Sweden Chapter has an own vision. As far as we are aware of in any case. The vision goes: “We make Sweden a pioneering country for meetings and events.” Perhaps one could raise one’s eyebrows at a national branch of a global organisation having a national vision. Or is that it? Not if one asks MPI’s Swedish board members. We look upon it as the meetings industry in Sweden being in Sweden, with most of our members living off it. We compete on an international market with our product in the toughest possible competition from the world’s regions, countries and destinations. Can we, as sector ambassadors, propel our national sector to a leading global position, it is a win-win situation for all concerned, commercially as well as intellectually. And to really blow our own trumpet, we do it in a way that no other national organisation has managed in Sweden, or in other countries, namely by getting the entire meetings industry heading in the same direction. This benefits MPI globally

A VISION FOR AN INDUSTRY or for a group of enthusiasts?

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

through creating a clarity and a goals vision over and above that which MPI stands for and which primarily is about developing individuals who are members and being a skills enhancer for the sector. Swedish MPI’s ‘model’ gives the members further added value and is a strong recruitment argument as we grow from 250 members to the next level of 300. What does this entail? – We strive to get the sector’s organisations and official bodies behind our vision. – We involve the entire sector as partners in order to build an economic foundation. – We are in the process of creating a politician and media forum to educate these decision-makers. – We take on the role of petitioners to the Swedish educational institutions who will educate our future talent. – We are planning for the most innovative event ever in the meetings sector; the MPI Forum. To all MPI members the world over: Please get in touch if you wish to discuss anything or ask something about the work of MPI Sweden Chapter. π


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A BRAIN CHECK | 95

“Even as a small boy I was fasci-

TEXT

Tomas Dalström

PHOTOS

Sara Appelgren

nated by controlling an audience and a stage. But instead of taking centre stage I began working as an editor of TV dramas, among other things, where I discovered the importance of stage presence.” When does this feel genuine in the meeting with the audience? – In that meeting the gaze is very important. Today I teach speakers and others the art of coming across as genuine and convincing in their presentation,” says Tord Pååg, who runs the company Dynamiskt Framträdande (Dynamic Appearance). What should I consider when standing in front of my audience about to speak? “Be yourself on stage. Be egoistical and use all the props you possibly can to take over the stage. Getting support from the audience is vital. You decide if I look positive and supportive in your eyes. If a man is sitting with arms folded looking dogged then he wants to protect his heart because he is deeply moved by what you’re saying. If somebody is looking away then you have affected them and they are pondering over what you said. If you decide that nobody is ever dismissive then you lose your self-assurance on stage. No matter how the audience behaves, decide that they are offering gifts and support.” I’ve always interpreted people with folded arms as being dismissive. You don’t care about it? “It’s based on experience. Many stern men come up to me afterwards and say “thank you that really moved me”. I never know what an audience thinks. Those who nod in encouragement are perhaps habitually supportive and pleasant, so I don’t really know what they’re thinking either. 2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


96 | A BRAIN CHECK

You never know what’s behind the facade. I’ve held a great number of courses with people who work with this fear and this façade is always the stumbling block. I decide that everybody is positive instead of standing there fighting against it. If somebody gets up and leaves, it’s just to accept it and be grateful. I can shuffle my papers. If I start to reproach myself then I’m on a slippery slope, my inner critics have no place on stage. As long as I’m standing there then I’m exposed to the elements, I only create support. The critic come afterwards and says I shouldn’t have said it in that way and that I wasn’t sufficiently elaborate. That’s okay, but not on stage because I then become thought-controlled and begin to speculate. Standing on stage speaking is an emotional experience.” Why have you specialised in this particular field? “Stage presence has been my passion for some time, when does this feel genuine in the meeting with the audience? Here the gaze is very important. This was emphasised when I began as an editor at Swedish Television. Which images should I choose? I also discovered that I could stretch the pauses for emphasis or put in various long pauses before and after lines, and the whole content would change.” How long have you worked with this? “I worked for 17 years as an editor and casting manager at Swedish Television. I did news coverage, documentaries, fiction and was involved in TV2 Drama. I then became a freelance editor and parallel with that I trained in film production, film viewing and editing within TV and at the Dramatic Arts Institute in Stockholm. Suddenly education took over. Today I teach other lecturers, MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

company employees, actors, TV news broadcasters and musicians in stage presence. Private sector companies are also among my clients.” Does the meeting take place in the gaze? “Yes, to a great extent. It’s face and body. It’s through my gaze that I subconsciously relate my feelings. This could be crucial in whether or not you believe what I say. I learned a great deal from editing documentaries, news coverage and drama. I constantly sought the genuine feeling and then chose the scene or the moment. Sometimes when I was uncertain as to which scene to choose, I would lower the sound. It was then clear which scene was best, the most genuine.” What is basic procedure when you educate actors, company leaders, speakers and musicians? “It’s basic training in presence based on preparing oneself and realising that it’s a total experience I’m creating with very special prerequisites. It’s not only intellectual and the first thing I do is to divert the focus from that which is braincontrolled. They get to present themselves here and now; who am I, what are the fears and feelings that arise in this situation, what kind of history do I have with regard to standing on stage? Then I reflect it in questions such as: Why do you look up to the ceiling, what’s happening when you wobble your feet? I try to get a complete picture of what I call the ‘presence instrument’, which is body, voice, emotions and energy of presence. In this I place my message and it expresses itself through the hoarseness I have in my voice today, with fluttering of the voice and eye contact. Here the words are just a small part of the message. Some say it is

“You have to stimulate yourself in order to inspire the audience.”


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2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


98 | A BRAIN CHECK

just fifteen or twenty per cent and the rest is influenced by the body, variations in tone, voice and body movement. This is spontaneous and I’m not aware of all I do. I encourage people not to keep it in but to let everything out. The body is wise and knows how to express itself. Don’t try to hide. Make contact and rest from eye contact as much as you can. And let the words flow as though they were born here and now, like good drama.” What’s the difference between acting and speaking, besides being more people on stage? “Similarities include eye contact with adversaries, listening to them and letting the reply come spontaneously in the pause that arises. I should try to get the words to live every evening in the theatre. The same applies to the lecturer who has lectured on the same subject in the same way hundreds of times. The majority of actors rehearse from the morning to the evening performance. At 7pm they have to stand on stage and live the character. I listen to myself all day, feel where I am today, how my instrument is, what I can take with me onto the stage and how I can be creative with it. That is the central issue: How can I as a lecturer be creative and not block the meeting with the audience?” What should I consider if I feel uncertain? “Accept it in yourself. Today I’m sensitive and feel lost. Then I permit the uncertainty, land in it and, paradoxically, become substantiated in it. If I do the opposite and think ‘help, I can’t feel this way’, everything will get worse. I become even more tense and seek even more confirmation that things are not good. We always have an inner monologue when we speak and it is important to listen to that.” MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

“It’s through my gaze that I subconsciously relate my feelings” How do you practice prior to a lecture? “By preparing the whole time. I have my thoughts and that which I will speak about. That which I offer the audience is the whole of me; I create feeling with my presence, how I feel and how open I am. It’s important that I don’t see my lecture as an intellectual exercise, but realise that I’m creating an experience, something I can only do by standing here. And the audience is constantly ticking off what I say against how I feel. As the feeling is significant in the meeting with the audience, to be gen-

uine I prepare by feeling: who am I today? What’s happening inside me? Some days I’m completely blocked, other days I just don’t want to look people in the eye. Then I know, today it’s too sensitive for me to stand on stage. Getting up to my best shape, that’s my preparation. I prepare for being spontaneous, careful preparation is the mother of all spontaneity and improvisation. Then of course I have to know my subject inside out, just like an actor must learn their words. Then let the text come to life in the moment and the eye contact with you in a fairly quite audience.”


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100 | SIDRUBBE

In an article I read you say that one shouldn’t let one’s gaze glide over the audience but make real eye contact. What’s the difference? “The difference is that you create trust with the person who meets the gaze, because that person feels that it is genuine contact. Even those

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

sitting next to them feel that you dare to seek contact. This inspires trust, it feels genuine. When your gaze sweeps across without landing anywhere it creates a goldfish bowl. I try to avoid that. Even if the audience says nothing it is still one-way communication, I want them to feel

part of things. Then the moment of contact is important because it opens up for participation.” How long is it acceptable to gaze at somebody? “When you and I look at each other, you could say there is a flow of energy between our eyes. You notice


A BRAIN CHECK | 101

immediately if I’m unfocused or introvert. I look as long as I notice that you react when I look at you. And as long as I notice that it’s full of vitality and gives me energy then I stay there. Perhaps two, three, four seconds. I then go over to the next person.” There are daily meetings with companies, do you think in the same way there? “I train company employees and I say you’re standing on a stage when presenting something. It’s the same basic situation, same nervousness and blockages as though you were on stage holding a wedding speech. It’s a good idea to wind down before making your speech, take a walk in the woods or meditate to escape the noise, stress and calendar.” Is there a difference between women and men with regard to holding a lecture? “We’re quite similar. It’s the same vulnerability and exposure when it comes to standing on a stage. This sits really deep. How much space can I take, am I good enough for this group, do I have permission to own such a large audience that are sitting quietly listening to me?” Is it easier for me to create trust if I have a management position?

“Our daily role does not help when we’re standing on stage. Those who take it for granted that people will listen to them just because they’re in a management position in a large company soon experience problems when they’re standing in front of their employees, the media or shareholders waiting for them to present something. We want to see the person behind the words. Who are you, is the great underlying question. How do you guarantee this with your whole body, voice, emotions and presence? Why should I trust you?” Do we look at each other differently in different cultures? “To take an example, I’ve trained power plant engineers from all corners of the earth. I asked them about eye contact at their daily meetings in their cultures, and about eye contact when standing on stage in front of an audience in their cultures. The first question got a variety of responses with everything from no eye contact whatsoever to eye contact for several seconds. The other question got the same response: on stage you’re expected to have eye contact with the audience to ensure a meeting takes place.” The brain works in a way that all focus is drawn to a movement. Is it a good idea to move about on stage?

“Move about. You become stimulated as a lecturer. You have to stimulate yourself in order to inspire the audience. As the eye is always drawn to a movement this means that the audience become more involved when you move about.” How should I distribute my gaze when speaking? “Try to spread it around the whole audience, but that’s not always possible. If the audience is large I divide it into sections and try to contact people in the different sections.” Is there anything you should not do with your gaze? “Never regard anybody as a sex object. The person you’re looking at and the people next to them feel this immediately.” Who uses their gaze more than others? “Abusers and certain criminal groups are extremely sensitive and scan the people they meet. They’re extremely oversensitive. It could all go terribly wrong, so they have to sense what kind of person it is they are meeting. Others are interviewers, people who work in human resources departments, CEOs, sellers and negotiators. They must be especially sensitive.” π

dalström « 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.

2009 No 3 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


102 | KELLERMAN

kellerman « 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.

Things are definitely going in

INCENTIVES such as CSR

MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 3 2009

a positive direction, although that may be difficult to believe with all the negative events that dominate the media coverage. We were part of an international jury for the EIBTM expo’s event competition and have been jury members for some time. It is easier to see how patterns change with a longer time period to compare to. Ten years ago the incentive category was often an orgy of gormandising where the winners won a trip to some exotic place, stay at a luxury hotel, drink champagne all night long, eat luxury food and be driven around in a limousine. This still takes place in a few incentive programmes in the EIBTM competition as well, but something else took a hold several years ago and most now offer: The chance to help eradicate world poverty as a thank you for doing a good job back at your company. Surely it is more gratifying to give away something meaningful? Do three lobsters taste any better than one? How much more fun is it to spray champagne on each other than to see children get a water well and an entire village being able to quench their thirst knowing that you helped? In the incentive competition we are seeing more examples of world-leading companies giving

their most successful workers a chance to share their success with others. To build schools, dig wells, lay a football pitch, design a village where hundreds of people get a more tolerable life thanks to your efforts. Or to build a wind generator in a place lacking electrical power. To set up a village school together, equip it with material like pens, paper a computer perhaps and a football to kick instead of tin cans. We have a fine Swedish example in Bokningsbolaget, who we awarded our unofficial Swedish Meetings Industry’s Honorary Award for the best CSR initiative of 2008. Highest points for style and an applaud to the company which for ten years has donated more than €550, 000 to Amnesty, Save the Children, the Red Cross and WWF. Bokningsbolaget is a torchbearer and a good example to all. Perhaps it is time to create a new CSR award for companies/ organisations in the global meetings and events sector in order to put the spotlight on the positive initiatives taking place? Corporate Social Responsibility must not become a green washing model that allows good things to be said while continuing to throw money at those who already have enough gadgets to last a lifetime. Send us some example of CSR projects around the world worth putting in the spotlight. Because they do exist, and in many places. π


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Profile for Meetings International

Meetings International #03, Nov 2009 (English)  

Meetings International #03, Nov 2009 (English)