THINKING MEETS RESISTANCE CHALLENGING THE THOUGHT ETHNOGRAPHIC DESIGN BE AUTHENTIC SHEER MAGIC KELLERMAN PATTERNS KAIKETSU
“Create a culture in which change is natural” ISSN 1651-9663
NO 6 NOVEMBER 2010 €15 / 165 SEK
A dedicated effort to improve – in all areas Encouraging feedback is always nice, but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to rest on our laurels – quite the contrary. All over
“The service we got in Stockholm and the way people are; this is what truly stands out.” Ben Hainsworth, Director Congresses & Meetings Division European Society of Cardiology (ESC), 27,400 delegates.
Stockholm work is underway to further improve our offering. Examples of this are the 3,536 new hotel rooms that will be added to the already impressive current total of 27,373 before the end of 2013. A year before that, during 2012, two multi purpose arenas; Stockholmsarenan with a seated capacity of 30,000 and SwedBank Arena with a seated capacity of a whopping 60,000 (including a new hotel and shopping mall) will be completed. Stockholmsmässan (already one of the world’s leading and most flexible organisers of meetings) are planning for substantial rebuilding work, which will elevate the standard and functionality of
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Small or large meeting? It doesn’t matter in Stockholm Stockholm offers an extraordinary variety of venues, making it the perfect location for events of all sizes – small or large. And meetings don’t come much larger than the annual European Society of Cardiology with its 27 400 delegates. Ben Hainsworth is the Director of the Congresses & Meetings Division at ESC and when asked why the largest medical congress in Europe keeps returning to Stockholm, he simply states that “Stockholm is a premier European destination for events up to 25,000 persons” and that “the size of the city make it easily understood by delegates, which in turn makes them comfortable.” His counterpart at EASD, Dr Viktor Jörgens (Executive Director) is also very positive and “would recommend Stockholm to other associations for the ease of organising and working with Stockholmsmässan and the Convention Bureau.”
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ore and more congress organisers are finding out about the advantages of locating their meetings in Stockholm. For those in the know, it doesn’t come as a surprise, since few places are putting so much effort into strengthening their offering as the European Green Capital 2010. The combination of an easily accessible, compact, safe and cosy metropolitan area with both venues and accommodation within easy reach is proving a winning concept. But don’t take our word for it. Let us instead have a look at some of the feedback we’ve received from a few of our esteemed guests.
its premises even further. In addition, Stockholmsmässan will get another great selling point by December 2012, when SL opens a new commuter line from Tumba all the way to Uppsala, making it possible to go by train from StockholmArlanda Airport directly to the venue. All these projects (and there are many more) are being realised while keeping one of Stockholm’s true hallmarks in mind: sustainability. Quality of life – another of Stockholm’s strengths In a web survey conducted among the delegates of the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2010, 34% graded
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Meetings in Stockholm – a matter of the heart
Stockholm has been fortunate enough to play host to a number of major congresses lately, among them the 46th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes and the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2010. So, if you’re in the habit of taking your doctor’s advice to heart – have a look at what some of Europe’s leading medical professionals have to say about their meetings in Stockholm…
photo: StocKhoLM WatERfRoNt coNGRESS cENtRE
Very nearly completed: When the Stockholm Waterfront is inaugurated during the winter, Stockholm will get another congress venue with capacity for all types of assemblies and events – right at the heart of the city.
the Overall Impression of Stockholm as a meeting destination as “Good”. 47% of the 974 respondents ticked the box for the highest available grade “Very good”! The diagram shows the percentage of respondents who think the words “Quality of life” correspond with their view of the destinations. Research and analysis conducted by The Swedish Research Institute of Tourism.
Quality of life
17% 13% 8% 4%
We are here for you Stockholm Convention Bureau is here to make things easier for organisers. As a part of Stockholm Visitors Board, we provide a free of charge service offering all the support you need to
” I would recommend the city for large events because of its compact location and modern venues with experienced and English speaking staff.” Dr Viktor Jörgens, Executive Director, of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, EASD, 17,000 delegates.
plan a successful meeting. If you want to know more about what we offer and why companies and organisations keep coming back to Stockholm, don’t hesitate to get in contact.
For more information, send us an e-mail or give us a call! Stockholm Visitors Board Stockholm Convention Bureau Phone: +46 8 508 28 500 email@example.com stockholmconventionbureau.com
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Green is the new black. Stockholm is one of Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most popular meeting places. Here is where you find the venues, the hotels, the experience and the emerging trends. One of those trends is green meetings. And where better to conduct a green meeting than in the European Green Capital 2010? Contact us via www.stockholmconventionbureau.com and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll tell you more!
EDITORIAL | 13
Bill Bowling, Rama Rrebba
pragada, Hari Kumar, Lisa Heft, Patrick Delaney, Paul Flackett, Robin Sharma, Elling Hamso, Monica Hägg, David Hornby, Vesa Honkonen, Greta Kotler, Jurriaen Sleijster, Robin Thomson, Tom Hulton, Dirk Elzinga, Niki Clarke, Steen Jakobsen, Fumiko Uwamori, Martin Lewis, Isabell Faad, Jason Axmith, Alice Au, Steve Lewis, Tara Gordon, Christian Alçenius, JJ, Barbara Jamison, Ooi Peng Ee, Christian Mutschlechner, Kelly Schultz, Rasmus Kellerman, Mitzi Soegandhono, Patrick Chen, Kevin Cottam, Katja Sukale, Aoife Delaney, Sus Nygaard, Johan Gorecki, Kayo Nomura, Miha Kovacic, Trikaraya Satyawan, Jon Bradshaw, Terri Breining, Sebastien Tondeur, Mark Crawford, Susie Fairfax, John B Houghton, Petra Van der Perk, Carl Lundgren, Francis Hopkinson, Annemare Rijnbeek, Martin Sirk, Patricia Holmes, Mathijs Vleeming, Elizabeth Rich, Rob Ellwood, Adam Baggs, Alison MacKay, Anthony Hyde, Roger Tondeur, Annette Lefterow, Jan-Christoph Napierski, Nikki Walker, Bart Heinrichs, Zoe Keating, Maarten Vaneste, Tuula Lindberg, Ole Sorang, Yo-Yo Ma, Vanessa Sharp, Eric Rozenberg, Mandy Torrens, Gary Robson, Ava Sones, Thomas Hallin, Johanna Fischer, Malcolm Gladwell, Johan Bjelke, Joyce Dogniez, Vincent Dubi, Hans
Henrik Friis, Bianca Manteuffel, Padraic Gillian, Firefox AK, Mustafa Gurbüz, Mari-Anne Robbestad, James Latham, Ksenija Polla, Mika Lehtinen, Alan Pini, Marsha Sharpe, Prasant Saha, Robin Lokerman, Roslyn McLeod, Haruki Murakami, Amy Spatrisano, Roger Kellerman, Sara Appelgren, Anant Vithlani, Kerstin Träskman, Layth Bunni, Ulrika Mårtenson, Kjell A Nordström, Bruce MacMillan, Inge Hanser, Hans Gordon, Devdutt Pattanaik, Ian Whiteling, Roger Martin, Jukka-Paco Halonen, Mia Hägg, Michael Luehrs, Maria Jacobsson, Susan Frei, Paul Kennedy, Jane Vong Holmes, Hugo Slimbrouck, Heather Mason, Staffan Widstrand, Rohit Talwar, Janesh Vaidya, Lotten Sylwan Gordon, Allan Kelson, Marianne de Ray, Polo Looser, Navaz Mistry, Mikael Svensson, Jenny Riel, Mariano Genzone, Miranda Van Brück, Lars Blicher-Hansen, Elisabeth Bugge, Rodolfo Musco, Christine Mulligan, Paul Bridle, Lucienne Renaud, Tomas Dalström, Julie Sheather, Peter Fisk, Nikki Sayers, Mårten Kellerman, Fiona Pelham, Evgeny Loukianenkov, Remy Cregut, Pretty Peculiarities, Mike Van der Vijver, Julie Holmen, Charles– Eric Vilain XIIII, Julie Carberry, Drew Stewart, Anna Valdemarsdottir, Didier Scaillet, Jenny Salsbury, Jordi Savall, Anne Gastinel, Rabih Alameddine… Thanks so much. ¶
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.
2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
Tomas Dalström PHOTOS
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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CHALLENGES | 17
“i’m not here to change the world. But I would like to make it a little better,” says Johan Gorecki the man behind Globe Forum 2004 with the business concept Bringing Innovations and Ideas to the Market. The organisation has helped 140 companies to enter the market, which is only the beginning if you believe Johan Gorecki. He claims that the world is facing huge challenges in the areas of climate, poverty and dwindling natural resources. “it’s not always obvious what
the challenges consist of, what they entail or which solutions will work. Therefore, we must create a culture in which change is natural and where it is easier to be an innovator and come up with ideas. “Neither are solutions found solely by large companies or the academic sphere. They could just as well be found in the kitchen, bathroom or wherever good ideas are born. And the internet can register these ideas, suggestions and solutions.”
Globe Forum works with physical meetings as well as meetings on their online platform. Johan Gorecki does not think that the meetings industry has lived up to people’s needs, but more about that later. Johan Gorecki left his safe Swedish villa suburb on graduating from upper secondary school and moved to Buenos Aires to work for an insurance company. He drove a moped between public agencies to get documents stamped. “I felt very lonely, didn’t know a word of Spanish
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“The meetings industry has a lot to gain from thinking increasingly transparent.”
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CHALLENGES | 19
and stayed at an old woman’s house. I was shocked to see the slums, does this world really exist? It looked like a war zone. My father probably thought I would return as a director, but I came home with long hair, a necklace and bracelets. It was in probably in Buenos Aires that I discovered my real self and formed my own personality.” He travelled to London, studied economics and worked for an investment company. “The only thing they talked about was the banking world and the economy. It was a manufactured world, very synthetic. I felt that it wasn’t the real world. But I just did my job because I knew nothing else. Now everybody knows the consequences. They build avalanches in a non-existent world. Sooner or later this fabricated fantasy world would be exposed and confronted, as is happening at present. The bluffs come to light and everything collapses.” In 1998, Johan Gorecki returned to Sweden and began working for the international media group Modern Times Group (MTG). “That was a fantastic experience. It was like being in a circus with unique artists. Pelle Törnberg, the CEO, was the complete antithesis of all the theories and structures I had learnt at school. There was also a bit of a buccaneering spirit. We broke the ethical and
outside the box right now as society is becoming business rules. It was instructive. Focus was solely on sales and I was a good seller.” After MTG, Johan Gorecki accepted an offer to help develop
Skype together with two former work colleagues. “At the beginning Skype was intended as a community wireless connection. It was not until later that it became what it is today, initially it was difficult to find financing, but things started to roll and it was then that I made my big blunder. I left to run my own set up; Skype was Niklas Zennström’s project.” In 2005, Skype was sold to Ebay for $2.6 billion. “You always make choices here in life and it’s not always easy to get it right in advance. That’s something I have to live with.” Experience showed him the importance of planning, being able to adapt to the situation and having the courage to enter the unknown. Johan Gorecki has always wanted to work with something truly global. He maintains that the demand, problems and urgent need of development will be in developing countries while much of the expertise, culture and structure will be in the western world. “The current system for innovators is too advanced and has too many barriers and disruptive forces. Financing is also difficult to get. If we build new bridges between these worlds then everyone benefits and we can contribute to progress.” Johan Gorecki had no idea how to go about changing the system, just that he wanted to. He started Globe Forum, began looking into the possibilities of working with technology transfer from West to East and travelled to several eastern European countries. “Russia is a lost market without a good business culture. The country is criminal and their antiquated legal system has stopped working. It’s an enormous capitalist society with massive segregation and poverty. “We were 2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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shaken by our experiences of eastern Europe. But there are exceptions: Poland is a good market and a good democracy.” His next port of call was China. Johan Gorecki calls it a country with many problems that will soon become the world’s most influential country. “Due to their lack of natural resources and energy sources they’re investing heavily in Africa. Not many people realise that China operates a non-cash system where it is difficult to sell a product; they offer you something in exchange instead. A lot is required for somebody to accept cash payment. There are no real purchasers in the organisations MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
either, which doesn’t help. And if you’re looking to manufacture you’ll get no credit; payment in advance is the order of the day. Cash is king in most new markets. One important lesson we’ve learnt from our travels is that it would be a mistake for us to try to establish on the new markets.” Back in Sweden, they decided to implement one of their basic concepts, an interactive platform or marketplace. “We knew that initially people would not be mature enough for interactivity, we needed physical meetings and that is our forum. Today our forum costs €450,000 for nearly a thousand people, mostly premises and technology. “We’ve established
contact with leading dynamic cities. Last year’s forum was in Polish Gdansk, one year it was in Stockholm and Dublin, next year in Stockholm again followed by Eindhoven in The Netherlands.” Johan Gorecki says they were naïve when they entered the meetings industry in 2004. They had no experience and made quite a few mistakes. Today they have learnt a lot by taking part in conferences and by testing their own ideas. “Many congresses and conferences are nothing more than playgrounds for adults. During a two-day seminar there are perhaps two speakers who have anything to say that’s
Passion for meetings.
tel +46(0)18-34 90 00 | www.novapark.com +KlimatPositiv +KlimatPositiv
22 | CHALLENGES
“Many congresses and conferences are nothing more than playgrounds for adults.”
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
worth listening to. It takes them ten minutes. I talk with a couple of sector colleagues about something inspirational for ten minutes. The exchange for two meeting days is twenty minutes of vital information. Add travelling time and you’re up to three to four days. “If we disregard the social aspect we can get all we need to know from Google. Therefore, the meetings industry must focus on people’s needs to find the right information during the congress or conference, and make it easy for us to meet the right people.” Johan Gorecki is in the process of preparing a speech for a conference. He has asked the organisers for the delegates’ email addresses. “The organisers don’t give them out. I asked if they were afraid that I’d use them in our business and they said yes. The meetings industry has a lot to gain from thinking outside the box right now as society is becoming increasingly transparent. Also, anonymous communication, advertising, is on the way out and relationship marketing is on the way in. Here meetings are an alternative if they can live up to the new era’s demands on transparency and collaboration.” To enable visitors to their forum to optimise the information search and their experiences, the organisation is working with an in-house developed matchmaking system. “Before the forum meeting you can take contact with all the people who seem interesting. Let’s say that ten people tally with what I’m looking for. I book a meeting with them before the meeting and I already know a great deal about them. I can also read up, get new insights and ideas, send in queries and influence the contents. I create my own meeting. “We know that those who come to our forum are satisfied if they can
solve a problem and help others solve theirs.” They have joint meetings to which everybody is connected. They can take part in 22 online sub-debates and in physical panel debates. They can then break off from this chaos and form smaller groups in a calmer setting. In addition, the organisation engages a few icebreakers, that is to say people who are professional conversationalists. If they see a lone person in a corner they go up to them and begin to speak. “Many people find it difficult to take contact. Our icebreaker helps to bring different people together. We also encourage people in group discussions to change tables to help them get as much as possible from the forum.” Johan Gorecki says that they always have drama, dance and art groups in their forums. Each chapter is interpreted in some artistic way to inspire the participants. “People want to become engaged and have experiences. Our way of working is greatly appreciated and gives us goodwill.” The starting point for their forum and online platform is the business concept Bringing Innovations and Ideas to the Market. One problem, of course, is knowing what to go for. What do people need, how should it be produced, materials, etcetera. And last but not least, the products and services they are willing to pay for. Johan Gorecki has always believed in popular movements as a concept. “Sometimes when I’ve used the term I’ve been criticised. People associate popular movement with something negative, people who just complain all the time. But there is a strength in that. What are dictators afraid of? Large popular movements. Even media pressure is a popular
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movement. It becomes a movement surrounding an issue.” Popular movements and collective intelligence have always been on the organisation’s agenda. According to Johan Gorecki they have a half million members worldwide. “They choose the best innovations. Today they let a person or small group conduct a due diligence process, a well worked-out investigation, before they make an investment. By using our members we improve the quality of this process.” Globe Forum also works with micro financing, “crowd funding”. To share the risks, the organisations offer stakeholders the chance to loan innovators smaller amounts with interest. “Those who wish to loan out money constantly see how our members rank different innovations and they can take part in realising them. We are working with Swedbank to solve the practical side of things.” Globe Forum offers companies a service they call crowd funding and conduct surveys with the help of their members. “I can’t name any clients but it could be a shoe manufacturer. Basically, one out of their ten drives is a real hit and nobody can afford nine flops. They can use their marketing and development department or let our market, our members, have their say on sustainable material, design, recycling, etcetera.” The business is financed through partnerships and they are now working on attracting more partners. “It’s large companies that pay a hundred thousand Euros to get access to another approach, collective intelligence and goodwill.” Johan Gorecki deems new approaches as being vital in finding and financing the best ideas. And there are many challenges to face. He sees the world population
“I felt very lonely, didn’t know a word of Spanish and stayed at an old woman’s house.”
increasing by 40 per cent in the next 50 years amid a growing middle class and dwindling fossil fuel and energy resources. Energy and water will be the cause of world conflicts. “The internet has created a tool that enables people to really communicate. As we speak, movements of concerned and
committed people are being built up around the world.” Globe Forum also tries to understand how the internet develops and to find its own identity. “When we’ve found it we can begin working more structured and with larger volumes.” ¶
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YOU ARE HERE*
*) PSYCHOLOGICAL MEETINGS
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
PSYCHOLOGICAL MEETINGS | 27
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.
THE PSYCHOLOGY of the meeting place or: HOW THE EXTERIOR CAN stabilise or change the interior the furnishings in the lecture rooms at Stockholm University are very basic: rectangular desks and black chairs. Everything is loose and movable. On one of the short walls an ordinary whiteboard, rather wellworn. Before my lecture began most of the students were already seated. Desks and chairs placed in the traditional classroom style. Noses and eyes pointing straight at me as I sifted through my notes. “Good afternoon and welcome,” I began, looking searchingly at the group sitting in front of me, somewhere in the region of forty people. “Why are you sat in this way?” My question was unexpected. A few brows knitted. They stared blankly at me. I tried to explain. “Well, I was wondering why you choose to sit the way you have. All the desks and chairs are easily moveable. But still nobody moves anything and I was wondering why?”
A few students started to look at me, then at each other. One of the more courageous among them raised his voice and asked if I would like them to sit another way. “What I want is neither here nor there,” I said. “It’s far more interesting to try to find out what you all want and why you’ve chosen to sit in the way you have.” “I don’t quite understand,” a woman said. “The desks and chairs were in this order when we arrived. They stood like this. What are you trying to achieve?” “Right now I have no other aim than to discover the driving forces behind your behaviour, that which is occurring here and now, particularly that which occurred when you all entered the room. The furnishing was clear. It’s as though some authority figure had already laid down the rules: this is the way you will sit. What could be of interest to reflect over is the question of when we stop thinking. It seems you’ve already answered that by entering the room and taking your 2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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places here without thinking.” I took a rhetorical pause. Still a few blank stares, but some began to show signs of interest. They looked at me expectantly so I continued: “A traditional classroom setting is
compare with the computer. I’m writing a normal body text and the computer selects Times New Roman and character size 12. I accept that and carry on writing. But wouldn’t it be better, or even
confusion: a half U, a couple of oases, a few desks in their original positions blocking everything else. The discussion that followed was very interesting. Among that which rose to the surface was man’s inner self.
“My question was unexpected. A few brows knitted. They stared blankly at me.” fine if the audience has nothing else to do than keep their eyes on me and consume everything I have to say. But if some form of joint debate is required, a more open discussion in which you also speak, not only with me but with each other, then this type of setting is completely idiotic. Most of you just sit staring at each other’s necks. Those sitting at the rear have little chance of hearing anything spoken by those at the front. Am I right in assuming that on arriving you had no intention of using this lecture room as a meeting place for a mutual dialogue? Am I right in assuming that you had decided to consume only my words and not each other’s?”
* We are seldom aware of everything we do. We are seldom clear about what we want to do. We have a onetrack mind. There’s a track. I’ll step onto it. Where it’s going? I’ve no idea. Why do we step into line in this way? Because we seldom want it any other way. Our inner selves are preformatted. With that I mean that we are driven to a certain type of behaviour based on what our surroundings set our sights on. Let’s MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
neater, to use Calisto or Garamond, or one of the other hundreds of fonts in the computer library or for online purchase? Well, that depends on what the text is used for. Have I considered that? When you enter the lecture room, everything is already in place. You can sit like this but can you sit in any other way? That question might probably cause a disturbance so I quickly tone it down.
* “Okay,” I said to the students. “I’m giving you five minutes to build a room that best represents a good educational environment. Five minutes. Off you go.” After four minutes the room was complete chaos. Some students had begun moving desks to form one large U shape while others tried to build small oases. Others refused to move themselves, the chairs they sat on or the desks in front of them. Murmurings echoed this way and that, the room buzzed. When five minutes had passed, I told them the time was up and everybody should sit down regardless of what the room looked like. Desks and chairs were a complete
What comes first: the interior or the exterior? When we create an exterior, our meeting places for example, do we base it on our inner needs and our inner structures, or does it go the other way: somebody creates a meeting place from which peoples’ interiors are structured? The exact answer is impossible to give, and is probably not needed in any case. Suffice it to say that the formatting of the exterior in some way contributes to strengthening the formatting of the interior, and vice versa. The conventional classroom layout is based on an old, wellingrained power structure. Authority stands behind a rostrum or similar. The people kindly sit at the front, in the middle or furthest back. Such a layout could well be seen to provide stability and a certain degree of clarity. Somebody has the Knowledge with a large K. Others should take in the Doctrines with a large D. Does the teacher create the students or do the students create the teacher? Answer: both contribute to creating each other. The teacher wants students and sets about building a room that underpins the students’ role positions, their identity as students. The students, who stopped thinking prior to entering, want the teacher to attend to that which needs attending. They therefore sit unhesitatingly in consumer positions and ask to be fed. When the code is broken and the natural order is lost, things rapidly become chaotic and fraught with
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conflicts. We don’t want a U shape! No, I don’t want an oasis! Nonetheless the order of things is thus: to facilitate the emergence of creative meetings, meetings that will lead to real processes of change, not just trumped up change, something different needs to be shaped, even in the exterior room.
* For more than twenty-five years I have worked with something called group-analytic psychotherapy. The aim of group analysis is to help participants become aware of how they themselves have been formatted throughout their living years and to find new, inner models and images to help them rebuild themselves. Thus, it is about processes of change. The organisation of the meeting place is a vital part of this.
There is no other defined leader, unless the group appoints one. To begin with this creates discomfort for most participants. They are confronted with an unfamiliar exterior environment and are not sure how to act in it.
* We always mirror ourselves in our surroundings. Within social psychology we talk of people creating their own inner “ego” by seeking the answer to themselves in exterior forces: other people’s mimicry and reactions, but also in the organisational structures we enter: the family, of course, and also its basic values and philosophy — as the home and its meeting places understand them. The exterior makes up the “baking tin”, and my “ego” soon becomes part of that but with some personal shades of colour added: my special energy, my special look, etcetera. As I travel along life’s stream I seek resting places that remind me of the basic, wellknown exterior shapes and forms. I namely seek continuity and context through which I can perceive myself as a whole being. I can, admittedly, now and then, and in short sequences, climb out to the furthermost end of the branch, play being somebody completely different and try new wings, but I invariably climb back to where “I can be the one I am”.
“… the computer selects Times New Roman and character size 12. I accept that and carry on writing.” A psychoanalytic group is normally made up of six to nine people, one of whom is the organiser of the meeting place and the process leader. The group sits in a circle, preferably in similar armchairs. There are no facts, just interpretations. Other furnishings are normally very sparse. The process leader, or group analyst, leads the group process towards the insight and change goals. The group decide the speed and direction. The group analyst contributes with interpretations of the events, regardless of what happens.
* In good time before the part of the course on group and organisational
psychology began, I entered the lecture room, took off my coat and rolled up my sleeves. I placed all the desks along the walls, most of them on top of each other. I placed all the chairs in a pile in the corners. In large letters I wrote on the board: do not move the furniture! I came dead on 2pm when the class was due to begin. The students stood along the stacked tables. Some were pacing back and forth nervously. It was the first class on this part of the course. I stood in the middle of the room, introduced myself by name and said: “This is the introduction to the course in group and organisational psychology. The course goals, as you are no doubt aware, are specified in the course catalogue. Please begin!” I also lined up along the wall shoulder-to-shoulder with the others. What happened next? I’m not going to tell but I might return to that some time. But the following is crystal clear to me: the methods we use to outwardly build our meeting places affect our inner mental and other psychical structures. If we want people to think lineally and submissively, we design the meeting place to ensure that occurs. If we want something else then we probably have to consider something else in meeting place architecture. But the architecture is not everything. We need to be stimulated into asking questions and thinking critically. As for me, I like meeting places with unexpected, somewhat soft lines, not just rooms in a long row. Outside, where people also move about, I like environments that fluctuate in light, intensity and other patterns. What do you like? And what are you going to do about it? ¶
2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
Atti Soenarso PHOTOS
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
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2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
34 | GORDON
Hans Gordon has been a part of Meetings International since we began publishing the Swedish edition in 2003. His columns have always been very popular and have provided countless readers with plenty of food for thought. We are many who have racked out brains as the message has slowly sunk in. Before starting on each number of our magazine, I always read Hans’ text first to get a feel for the work I have ahead of me. We are currently in the process of translating Hans Gordon’s first book Meeting Psychology into English, to be released in early 2011. But who is Hans Gordon? Below is the preface from the book. Atti Soenarso, Editor-in-Chief
i lean back and try to gather my
thoughts. Such things take time. Thinking meets resistance, not only from outside, where a premium is put on rapid and effective action, but also from the inside. Thinking often leads to problematising. We seldom stop at just wondering why something that happened actually happened. Reflections cause old stuffed-down material to pop up, things you want to bury and never see again. Or think about. But it tends to pop up again. In the end I became a psychologist. My mother wanted me to try something else, a cushy job in a government body, the Post Office or a bank, perhaps. Government bodies and large banks were seen as wellpositioned fortresses, a job for life. But I thought it sounded boring and the last thing I wanted to do. I’m not really sure what my father thought. He wasn’t particularly MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
outspoken on serious issues. But I suspected that he followed in the footsteps of his own father, my grandfather, in seeing a doctor’s career as being the ultimate in life. My grandfather was expressive in this matter. He promised to support me financially if I took up medical studies. Actually, I wasn’t beyond persuasion for such a venture, but my upper secondary grades were not good enough to get me into medical school and my aptitude in natural sciences like Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics was not exactly top of the class. Not back then, anyway. Most of my schoolmates applied to technical college or dental college, something I found about as enticing as going to the dentist. I was the only one in the class who gave a hint of wanting to become a psychologist. Actually, I didn’t know a great about what a psychologist did. But I had
2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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a faint idea. Already as a young teenager I wrote a fictitious narrative in school about a psychologist who had a reception somewhere in the heart of Stockholm where he helped families with problems. I don’t quite recall what the problems were, but it was about a couple with two children, none of whom were particularly happy. The psychologist worked hard to show them ways of improving their lives. It pains me to write this because it was of course the family I belonged MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
to. But I don’t think that came into the equation at the time. Those sort of feelings hadn’t begun to mature. I lived as I think most of us do, in a slightly chaotic state of fluctuating emotions and underlying impulses. Quite often we kid ourselves that life, if not exactly fun, was not that bad at all really. It’s not until we lean back and think about it that we begin to realise that there were more conflicts and disagreements than we like to admit. Life is really rather complicated. As an illustration: my
father came from a fairly orthodox Jewish family. He belonged to the Jewish community in Stockholm and sang in the Synagogue choir with his beautiful baritone voice. My mother was blond and belonged to the Christian state church. Despite learning to cook Jewish food and bake Jewish bread she kept her religious affinity. I myself rode a rollercoaster between the Church and the Temple, between instruction in the Jewish faith and Christianity lessons at
GORDON | 37
“People seldom fulfil their ambitions by themselves alone.”
school. At times it was giddy heights and was not easy at all. When I was thirteen I was Bar Mitzvahed, the Jewish form of confirmation. Ten years later I’d left the Jewish community and I’ve never belonged to the state church. With some reluctance I applied to Stockholm University to study behavioural sciences Pedagogies, Psychology and Sociology. The reluctance was rooted in my fear of solitude. I didn’t know anybody else who’d applied. I also had the
notion that only young people from the intellectual aristocracy attended university, people who were already well-accustomed to debating advanced subjects and who would waltz through their academic studies. Nobody else in the family or among my close relatives had an academic background who could lead me into this academic temple. But I soon found out what university was really all about. It was of course extremely multifaceted and it didn’t take me long to settle down — or before I was
offered a position as assistant at the Department of Education. At the time it was led by a young, dynamic professor by the name of Arne Trankell. He had an extraordinarily broad commitment to, and interest in, research and the application of educational psychology. At the side of my university career, where I gradually became a lecturer and after a number of years also senior lecturer, I had several consultant assignments, a number in collaboration with Arne Trankell. They included the aptitude testing of commercial pilots at Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Thai Airways International (THAI), and witness reliability psychological evaluations within the judicial system. I also studied to become a psychotherapist with group-analytic psychotherapy as my specialist field. In 1971, I started the Institute of Psychotherapy in Stockholm with three colleagues. In a very short time the institute became one of the foremost in the country offering psychotherapy in both theory and practice. The professional consultant role suited me very nicely. In 1984, due to a rapid increase in our assignments for airlines and aviation schools, my wife and I (Lotten Sylwan Gordon, Behavioural Scientist and university colleague) founded the Scandinavian Institute of Aviation Psychology (SIAP). SIAP soon became the largest private aviation psychology consultancy in Sweden. We also aptitude-tested ship’s officers and organised training courses for the aviation industry and shipping companies. Other assignments started dropping in and in 1987 my wife and I founded Gordon Consulting. Among other things, we carried aptitudetested prospective leaders within 2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
e r u t u f e h t y t In this ci e r e h y d a e r l a is
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the non-profit, public and private sectors. It was at this point that I left the Institute of Psychotherapy and a few years ago we wound up SIAP. One company name was sufficient: Gordon Consulting. I lean back and try to gather my thoughts. Well, I have done what I thought I’d do when I was very young. On my own steam? I don’t think so. People seldom fulfil their ambitions by themselves alone. A seed won’t grow on solid ground. It needs the right soil, the right mixture of minerals and other nutrients to thrive. I was fortunate in finding a dynamic and exciting university institute where I could put down roots and develop my interest in psychology through informative debates and discussions with colleagues and students. I was also fortunate in meeting my future wife there as well. It’s naturally a great privilege to meet a person who not only arouses physical attraction, but also, in ways that are difficult to describe, becomes an accompanist and stimulus for one’s ideas and thoughts. And so the choices go on. A few colleagues here, a few there. Most become inspirational partners in advancing the cause, but one cannot deny the fact that there are also those who become troublesome, frustrating stumbling blocks. But even that type of process can serve as a development stage. I don’t believe there are any
straight and smooth roads that carry us forward in life. We sometimes have to exert ourselves immensely just to turn a corner. I’ve always enjoyed writing. I’ve published a few handbooks and written a great many articles for periodicals and anthologies. In late 2001, I was contacted by Roger
Kellerman, publisher. He and his wife, experienced journalist Atti Soenarso, planned to start a new magazine that targeted the Swedish meetings industry. He asked if I would like to write an article for the magazine with a psychological perspective relating to the meetings between people. This led to what will soon be a ten-year association with Atti and Roger in which I have been given the
scope to share my experiences and thoughts in each number of Meetings International. In recent years the magazine has also turned to the international market. It is my articles in Meetings International that make up this book. Naturally, my texts don’t cover the enormous field that comes under the name of psychology. I’ve never laid claim to covering psychology’s diverse perspectives and I don’t fetch material and approaches from all the rooms, corridors and cellar vaults of psychology. That would be inconceivable. I write about things that interest me and which I hope will interest a diversity of readers, even those who’ve not yet considered studying psychology. I like the article format because it’s not too long and not too short. Perfect reading on a train journey or in a hotel before retiring for the night. To read aloud for a friend, perhaps, or as a brainteaser in other contexts. My hope is that the book arouses interest and leads to a thirst to learn and understand more of the underlying forces at work in people’s meetings with each other. I lean back and recall. I was very young, about ten. During a lesson we were asked to talk about our dreams and what we wanted to be when we grew up. I said a detective because I enjoyed reading detective novels. Well, my dream has been fulfilled. I became a psychologist detective, a journey into man’s inner world. ¶ 2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
Fredrik Emdén PHOTOS
2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
42 | A CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE
Editor-in-Chief Atti Soenarso calls the paper “an exciting paper that broadens our knowledge on the opportunities and development potential of the meetings industry”. On the authors she writes: “We see three emerging stars on the meetings industry horizon.” But let us wind the tape back a little. Theodora Acar, Emelie Helgius and Alexandra Keyser met during a diversity management course when studying service management at Lund University. They found that
Their interest led to a Bachelor’s paper entitled “Creating Value during a Conference Stay”, which looks into how delegates create value during a meeting. Out of sheer curiosity the trio went straight from their Bachelor’s paper to acquire a new perspective on the subject. The Master’s paper takes over from where the Bachelor’s paper leaves off, namely that a meetings organiser’s clients create their own value at a meeting. The greatest value is created in the work performance during a meeting. The value chiefly
much of the offering at meetings venues focuses on that taking place in the meeting rooms, not the surrounding activities. The unique experience of a meeting has become the norm in the meetings industry. The designer meeting rooms have a symbolic value in sending out the message that the organiser is cutting edge in the creativity stakes. The rooms are one example of the symbolic values that will determine the shape of meetings offerings in the future. But there is a difference between what the customer demands and what the supplier can offer, a fact that was highlighted in a Master’s paper entitled A Different Meeting – the transformation of the meetings industry in the new economy, presented at Sweden’s Lund University in 2008. they had a common interest in the meetings industry and that not a great deal of research had been conducted on the subject. “As it’s mostly people in the sector who analyse themselves, it lacks a critical perspective. They generally focus on the practical side. The sector is undergoing great change and it’s interesting to research into something that is relatively untouched,” says Alexandra Keyser.
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consists of the delegates achieving their goals with the meeting. Therewith, all the peripherals – the design of the room, staff, technology, etcetera – become supporting functions. However, when the trio, while gathering information, visited trade shows and looked at meetings organisers’ offerings they realised their thesis, that a meeting’s value is created in the room, is seldom reflected in the organiser’s offering.
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2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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Much of that offered does not focus on that taking place in the meeting room, but on the surrounding activities. “We wondered where this emanated from. What’s the point when value is created in the meeting room? Why not put the focus there, the place where the success of a meeting is actually determined,” says Theodora Acar. When the students scratched at the surface they realised there was a focus on the meeting room and an awareness of the fact that ideas are born there. Organisers invest a great deal in filling the rooms with modern design and creative meetings concepts. But many designer rooms are left unused. “We have many examples of venues that have developed such rooms but only manage to rent them out a couple of times a year. You could wonder what function they fulfil,” says Emelie Helgius. When organisers focus on things that delegates place very little value on, a gap appears between the client’s needs and the organiser’s offering. “Clients hold meetings in the same way as always: they sit in the same way and the only thing they have to achieve is the aim of the meeting. But why do venues insist on focusing on that area when there is no demand and they can’t hire out the rooms?” asks Alexandra Keyser. The Master’s paper points to the fact that the rooms are used as bait by the organisers. The client wants something new. “You have to bring in all possible actors to make your meeting dynamic. Organisers go out of their way to borrow ideas from theatre, media and the wellbeing industry. But everybody does it in much the same way. They all strive to be unique, but it’s a standardised concept based on a MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
top ten list. The truth is, it’s anything but unique and actually quite uniform. The unique becomes the norm,” says Alexandra Keyser. What should one do to stand out? “One way is to bring in new ideas that openly challenge the thought processes that dominate the meetings industry today,” suggests Alexandra Keyser. “The meetings industry feels rather traditional with regard to human resources. Despite a lot of things happening with meetings designers and creative meeting rooms, hanging chairs from the ceiling and so on, companies are not thinking outside the box with regard to human resources. This is something our work has drawn attention to,” says Theodora Acar.
“What’s the point when value is created
The Master’s paper is based on interviews with experts in meetings environments, such as Clarion, Scandic, SF Bio, Arlanda Conference and Business Centre, and Bokningsbolaget. When the interviews were conducted the trio had no clear picture of what the paper would focus on. It just grew as the work progressed. “The questions we asked were actually quite universal. “How do you develop your meetings concept?”, “What do you regard as important?”, “How do you see the future?”. We
then noticed that they didn’t think that differently. We received similar answers, despite selecting a variety of actors,” says Alexandra Keyser. During their work the trio has also waded through 200 brochures and meetings concepts to map out trends and see the patterns in the offerings. The offerings were grouped into different categories. Efficiency, Creativity and Flexibility are recurring key words. “Just about everybody with a meetings offering pushes efficiency in some way. Efficiency is there
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in the meeting room?”
regardless of the type of venue presented. If the meeting is taking place in the middle of town the efficiency is there to ensure delegates have close communications. If the meeting is outside of town then it’s efficient because there’s nothing there to disturb the meeting,” explains Theodora Acar. The students also found that venues use flexibility as bait. But the trio question the number of options. “If you’re at a restaurant you get a menu with a choice of dishes to choose between. You have several
46 | A CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE
options. But somebody has chosen them for you. It works much the same way in the meetings industry. They let the client think there are options. You can get everything, but what you are offered is what you can choose between,” says Emelie Helgius. “It sounds good when venues say they have four different meetings concepts. But it’s only four. It is possible to cover everything within them, but you set limits for the client as soon as you classify a meeting in a certain way, like calling it a creative meeting, efficient meeting or kickoff meeting,” says Alexandra Keyser. Another tendency identified by the students is that the actors push the clients to ‘live in the future’. Instead of offering the clients what they want, the venues apply a push strategy, meaning they try to push the clients in the direction that suits the venue so they can renew their concept and avoid falling into a stagnation process. The client is enticed with the “latest innovations”. “When we interviewed meetings venue organisers many said “no, the clients aren’t ready for this yet”. Then they say “take this offering, it’s just right for you”. “Take a creative meeting now, it will lead to efficiency in the end,” says Theodora Acar. “It’s a similar thing to flat screen TVs. Nobody wanted one in the beginning. But as they began to swamp the market the demand increased. There are countless examples of this within other product areas. It’s possible that they are beginning to think the same way with regard to meetings.” One of the conclusions made by the two papers is that the push strategy results in increased demand. “But then the organiser in their turn have to develop even more. If the clients start using the rooms in a more creative way then it probably MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
won’t stop there. The organisers will have to differentiate even more. They have woven themselves into a cycle,” says Emelie Helgius. In the papers the students applied the product life cycle, a tool that determines a product’s life cycle by dividing it into five phases. A service life cycle is established to show the relevance of a product life cycle in service contexts. “It was here we saw that the sector is at the maturity stage. Something
symbolic values that will determine the nature of future meetings offerings. At the beginning of the new economy, designer products were developed that were quick and effective. Emelie Helgius takes the mobile phone as an example: “The main function is the phone, but to increase the value they added a few innovative features like music and cool designs. In the same way you give a mobile added values with the help of new products, the meetings
“They all strive to be unique, but it’s a standardised concept based on a top ten list. The truth is, it’s anything but unique and actually quite uniform.”
needs to be done. A meeting is a meeting, and to avoid stagnation it must be developed constantly, be innovative so as not to disappear through the top ten list, be seen,” says Theodora Acar. “These rooms have a symbolic value in revealing that the organiser is at the forefront with regard innovation and can provide the values that the client wants. There’s no status in having been there,” adds Emelie Helgius. Another of the trio’s findings was that in pace with global development the meetings industry will adopt new
organiser can give the meeting room new values. They pluck values from different places so as not to stagnate.” The papers divide how venues increase their values into three groups: e–ification, serviceification and experienceification. A meetings designer is one example of a serviceification of a value offering. E–ification is more or less the same as online electronic booking. “E-ification means that more responsibility is put on the client in the planning of a meeting. Many don’t know how to plan their meetings, which is why they have a meetings
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48 | A CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE
designer to help them out. But e– ification makes it both easier and more difficult for the client. There are several choices, but more planning is being left with the client,” says Emelie Helgius. “The client is perhaps not so experienced. They imagine it’s the same as booking a hotel room. Websites are often very pedagogically laid out and the client can quite easily go in and book more or less as they’ve planned. The problem is that when they arrive at the venue and realise that a school layout was not the best design for this particular meeting, it is here that the experienced value, that which e–ification was supposed to improve, decreases. It is then easy to be critical and ask whether e–ification actually offers increased value for the client or just simplifies things for the organiser,” adds Alexandra Keyser. Experienceification has to do with symbolism, the experienced symbolic value, in the room and is based on the client’s and organiser’s interest in showing a nice façade. In the client’s case the value is in: “we are in a cool place in which our image and brand is fortified”, “we become attractive because we have this room”. In the organiser’s case the room can fortify the brand and contribute to more clients becoming aware of the venue. “One bothersome thing about the meetings industry is all the talk about hardware, a meeting room that you promote yourself with, and that’s not cheap to update regularly. You can’t remake a room every week to offer a new experience for returning guests. So the experience wanes a little every time the guests return. What will entice them back next time?” asks Alexandra Keyser. “When we spoke with the organisers they said: ‘yes, but the clients come here to stimulate their MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
senses and think creatively’. But if you’re sitting in a room that you find stimulating and creative and reach consensus on a lot of issues can you return and experience the same feeling?” asks Theodora Acar. The trio feels that there is also a gap between the self-image of the sector’s actors and reality. Creativity is not as well-developed in the meetings industry as many within it are led to believe. “It’s easy for everything to be cast in the same mould. And then Sweden is still quite far behind with regard to the meetings industry, isn’t it? We’re adept at creating good meetings. But we’ve heard it so many times that we risk resting on our laurels. A little more critical thinking would be nice. Everybody else invests in creative meetings or meeting rooms; is that something for us? Or are we just hanging around because somebody’s been voted the Meetings Actor of the Year? wonders Alexandra Keyser. What do you think the result would be if you compared Sweden to other countries? “We think the new economy has affected most countries. But the experience industry hasn’t affected investments as much in other countries. This is because the Swedish government has made a conscious effort that has paved the way for the transnational initiatives we see today. Therefore, I think that we need to see fewer stage appearances and more efficiency abroad,” says Alexandra Keyser. The lack of previous research in the subject has not caused any problems when working on the papers. Quite the opposite: “It’s enabled us to think freely and fetch inspiration from many sources, from ethnologists, economists and social analysts. We’ve taken bits from a variety of sources,” explains
A CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE | 49
Alexandra Keyser. “I think having more material available would have formed us more. We’d have risked having our thoughts being led down a well-established track. Our universal theories have given us the opportunity to draw our own conclusions based on the patterns and relationships that we’ve interpreted,” says Theodora Acar. The three students were not that surprised by the lack of research: “Our field is relatively new. The researchers that do exist are basically our own teachers. They’re the ones who conduct research in this field,” continues Alexandra Keyser. More research, they feel, would help to develop meetings industry products. One thing that sticks out from their research is the logical link between how the meetings industry develops its service offerings and the development of physical products such as the aforementioned mobile phone. “If you have to draw comparisons with product development, where huge resources are invested in research and development, you could well ask what the crucial factor will be for meetings actors in the coming years,” says Theodora Acar. “One shouldn’t be afraid of education; seeing the great benefits of more research. That doesn’t necessarily mean bringing in a freshly graduated economist as venue manager, but think about offering alternatives to the conventional way of working up from the bottom. There aren’t that many trainee places, which would be one way of bringing new ideas into the company,” says Alexandra Keyser. “If you’ve studied service management and specialised in the meetings industry you must still start from the bottom and work upwards to get in and become a part of creating
something new. Even if you’re full of ideas today you still have to work your way up in the sector for ten years. What’s left of your ideas and critical view then?” asks Theodora Acar. “The practical side of things can always be learnt. If you’ve never worked at a hotel then it takes a year to learn the practical stuff. But critical thinking is something else. That’s something you’ve trained while studying. They should consider that more,” adds Emelie Helgius. What would you like to see more of in the way of research? “A comparison between the meetings industry and other sectors. It helps to draw parallels with how others work. In our work we’ve emanated from the new economy perspective to see how it has impacted the sector. One could take a look at the steps taken by other sectors that have also been impacted by the new economy, and thereafter draw conclusions on how to develop the meetings industry,” expands Alexandra Keyser. “You could draw several parallels. Research should exist that offers a broader view for the meetings industry to take on board. I feel that kind of material would enrich the whole industry.” Emelie Helgius would like to see a more analytical approach to studies within the meetings industry. “Many courses focus on the practical in this sector,” she says. “It’s been beneficial for us to have been able to write about the same subject in both the Bachelor’s and Master’s papers. That’s not so common. We have delved deeply into the subject. This makes us feel that we are not ready because not so much has been done in this field. We could contribute with much more,” concludes Alexandra Keyser. ¶ 2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
SHARMA | 51
In a survey of 22,000 business people ranking top leadership gurus, Robin Sharma was #2, with Jack Welch. Sharma’s books have sold millions of copies in over 60 countries. His new book is ”The Leader Who Had No Title: A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and in Life” (Simon & Schuster). Robin Sharma’s blog is at robinsharma.com.
Q & A on Leading Without a Title You advise the big players of this world on leadership. What do you teach them first and foremost? “I advise them that the old model of leadership is dead. Look at Wall Street firms that have crumbled, organizations that have fallen and CEOs who were once revered, who have now lost face. The new model of leadership is all about Leading Without a Title. That doesn’t mean that titles and positions no longer matter. It simply means that any business that really wants to win in a time of dramatic disruption needs to build the leadership capability of every employee, at all levels. This is Leadership 2.0. and organizations that don’t make the leap will end up obsolete.” Could your teaching also apply to the bosses of small and mediumsized companies? “Absolutely. The game changing idea that the #1 competitive advantage in this time of radical change is building leaders at all levels not only applies to our FORTUNE 500 clients like Microsoft, GE and NIKE but to any business in the marketplace today. In my book “The Leader Who Had No Title” I distill exactly what the best businesspeople
and organizations are doing that most don’t. These tactics include daily innovation, creating a base of fanatical followers who are your customers, building a Leadership Culture and the importance of transparency.” What characterizes a leader? “There isn’t just one thing that makes an exceptional leader – just like there isn’t just one thing that made Mozart exceptional or Picasso great. The best leaders have a bias towards innovation, are ruthlessly focused on just a few things, have remarkable capacity to attract superb talent, have strong resilience in the face of turbulence and are often radically optimistic (while being wildly practical).” Is management a kind of vocation? “Management is obsolete. Any company that is serious about winning, or even staying alive, should stop thinking about management and start obsessing about leadership – especially the imperative of every employee Leading Without a Title. Just imagine a company where every single employee worked like Roger Federer plays tennis. That’s what the whole Lead Without a Title philosophy is about.” 2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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Can we learn what it is necessary to become a good leader? “Absolutely. Exceptional leadership isn’t born – it’s built. The best leaders have trained and practiced their craft. That’s good news for anyone in business today: all that stands between you and world-class is learning the science of leadership and then practicing it every day to mastery.” Did the economic crisis change the expectations of companies towards leaders? “Of course. Given the behaviors of so many once-respected leaders, stakeholders are now demanding only the highest standards of performance, transparency and ethics of their leaders. In “The Leader Who Had No Title”, I write: “It could take you 20 years to build a great reputation and 20 seconds to lose it – in one act of bad judgment.” Which are, according to you, the new important criteria for a leader? “1. Leave our egos at the front door and do brilliant work – that adds remarkable value for your customers. 2. Build a phenomenally great team. A mediocre team results in a mediocre company. 3. Innovate and disrupt the way you think and perform daily in hot pursuit of something even better. 4. Build deep relationships. 5. Be authentic and transparent. Winning companies show they are the real deal and live their brand.” ¶
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
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CREATING PERFECT MEETINGS
54 | SUSTAINABILITY
A GLOBAL CO
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SUSTAINABILITY | 55
Atti Soenarso PHOTOS
during its 12 years existence, the Valencia Conference Centre, VCC, has received over 1.3 million visitors, hosted over 2,000 events and generated over 600 million euros for the city, more than 20 times the amount it cost to build. We met José Salinas, CEO since the beginning, to discover his mindset on sustainability. VCC has received the AIPC Award as the World’s Best Convention Centre. As we see it, it must be your sustainability profile that has impressed the audience most of all. “One of our strengths is sustainability. The Centre, which was designed by Norman Foster, has been committed to the environment since it opened its doors. The concept of a building that takes advantage of Valencia’s splendid natural light, the Mediterranean climate and a desire to blend in with an urban landscape is an excellent starting point to develop a space that also has to contribute to the economic and social progress of its surroundings.” Sustainability is set to be a main theme at this year’s EIBTM with a number of new initiatives joining the event’s already significant commitment. How do you go from already being the best to becoming even better? “Over the last few years, the number of sustainable events has definitely increased. Both organisers and venues have developed and introduced numerous ideas and plans.
We have invested a lot to change meeting standards, so that green events can be held. However, this should not just be a passing phase. It has to be one of the cornerstones that the future of event tourism is built on, not as an obligation but out of respect for the environment and the need to look after our planet.” There are many new standards on the market such as BS8901, ISO 26000, and the Copenhagen Sustainable Meeting Protocol. How do these standards influence your organisation and daily work? “Recently we have all become more aware of society’s need to become more responsible vis-à-vis the environment and social development. Businesses, organisations and the general public must work together to develop new initiatives which are based on these objectives. This is why new standards have been developed which will mark the future of the events industry from the standpoint of social responsibility, i.e. the new ISO 26000, and from the viewpoint of respect for the environment as a brand, such as the new British BS8901 standard. The COP15 meeting (United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen) and the 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London will be a milestone in the organisation of major events and will demonstrate how we can stage them whilst looking after the environment.” The 8,000 m² photovoltaic roof installed at the Centre has become 2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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the largest amorphous silicon solar panel installation ever fitted in a building of this kind. How did it come about? “The solar roof is the culmination of our global sustainability policy. It originated from an internal study of new energy options and renewable energy sources. This is when we considered changing the original aluminium and zinc roof for a highly modern photovoltaic installation. The premise was that it had to maintain the building’s unique design and so the solar panels were fitted on flexible modules which adapted to the roof’s original shape.” How important are the board members in developing the Centre? “The Board of Directors supports and approves the initiatives put forward by the building staff. The team is aligned with a culture of respect for the environment, which is encouraged constantly through the development of initiatives and projects which enable us to grow further.” Bella Centre in Copenhagen, the Stockholm International Fairs & Congress Centre, Swedish Fairs in Gothenburg, the Estoril Congress Centre and many other congress centres are now looking to you when it comes to sustainability. Do you think that the meetings industry, through centres like yours, can be frontrunners for a sustainable planet, and if so why? “We are just another part of society although we are more visible because we are a public meeting space. We must be efficient to serve our direct environment as best as possible. With this in mind, we cannot stand still but must take on challenges and forge improvement initiatives. Large venues are expensive to maintain MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
and this means that any investment which encourages efficiency must be seen as a pro-active commitment. Technology helps us to use less energy by taking advantage of natural resources and passing on a new way of doing things to society, not just at a structural level, in which architects who design buildings play an essential role, but also at a functional level in the development of our activities.” From where do you get your inspiration and new knowledge? “Everything is important. We need to constantly observe and study how to improve and use our experiences. Having a professional team on hand also gives us a broader vision of the world and enables us to take on new challenges.” Where do the greatest challenges lie? “Continuous improvement is a constant feature both for the venue and for the organisation. Management excellence and efficient results are always an objective for us but we continue to push the boundaries even further. This is why we continuously audit our internal performance. The number of events or the economic impact we generate for the city are just some of the parameters we use to measure our improvements.” How can sustainable events save your clients money? “The objective of sustainable events is not just to save money but to ensure that the money used to hold an event has a lower environmental impact. For example, the impact of a customer bringing a lorry from Germany with television screens is not the same as using screens we have here. This means a double saving. We avoid CO2 transport emissions and make better use of our resources. The money saved can be used to hire an organic catering service, for example.
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Nowadays, the cost of integrated crop management in Spain is still slightly higher but we need to measure the return and benefits it brings, both for the environment and for our direct social milieu.” What if the client isn’t interested? “We can’t convince all our customers to make their events green but we can show them the benefits of a green event and the advantages of communicating this to their stakeholders.” As we see it, sustainability is a part of the bigger issue of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). What does CSR mean to you? “CSR is a global commitment. As far as we’re concerned, responsibility includes everything and everybody – our customers, our suppliers, the city we are located in, our own organisation, and our employees. Our efforts must actively contribute to social and economic improvements, and these improvements must benefit everybody. This means going beyond basics to return the benefits we obtain from our business and our work and becoming responsible for the impact we have on our environment and on society in general.” What does CSR mean for the meetings industry? How do you measure what you are doing? “Event tourism has to include social responsibility as one of its cornerstones, not as a profit earner but as something which has to come from every one of us. Our mission as an event venue must be to reduce the environmental impact on our immediate surroundings and we can’t do that if we don’t measure the results of our environmental policy. Nowadays, it may be seen as a competitive advantage or as a way of attracting business, but actually it should be part of a company’s culture
and be just another factor which your customers take into account when choosing your venue.” By the end of 2010, the Centre will have hosted 2,000 events, welcomed over 1.3 million visitors and generated over €600 million for the city, more than 20 times the amount it cost to build. Why don’t other convention centres, and other big meeting and sport venues in the world follow suit? “We has been working to become a benchmark in the event industry for over twelve years. Our aim is to do this via economic efficiency, excellence and innovation. These have been and continue to be our watchwords. We like to observe the market and grow by adding and adapting new trends to our business model. We promote what we do because we believe this sets an example for others to follow and so achieves improvements across the board.” How important are you as the leader and the CEO for the daily work in your organisation? “An organisation needs someone at the head, just like a car needs a driver. We are the only congress venue in Spain to have the EFQM Recognised for Excellence 400+ award which talks about leadership. I am the driver but behind me is a highly professional team committed to obtaining results.” What does the Centre mean for the sustainable work of the rest of the Spanish convention centres? “We have always believed that the Centre has to be a benchmark both at home and in Europe. The sustainability efforts we have made must be included in this objective. We have explained almost all our sustainability actions and the measures we have taken. We have broadcast them in forums and 2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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interviews because we want to be seen as an example for event tourism. If we all join forces to improve sustainability the results will be much more impressive.” The Centre has a Global Sustainability Plan. What does this mean for your business and clients? “Our strategic plan includes the Global Sustainability Plan which is based on two essential points: the efficient use of resources to minimise the environmental impact of our activities, and securing a general commitment to responsible consumption. We use efficient technology, install equipment to minimise consumption and use recycled or recyclable elements. And then we tell our customers about it, in order to make them environmentally aware.” You have a group called Be Green for promoting and implementing your sustainability efforts. What does it do? “This group is made up of staff from different departments who observe and study our initiatives and clients. The aim is to find a sustainable alternative which costs the same if possible. The group constantly analyses investments aimed at reducing our environmental impact and then informing customers and society of the results that can be obtained through good practice.” You are also a part of the United Nations Environment Programme Plant for the Planet. Is this important for your clients as well? “Our aim is to plant a tree for every person that attends a sustainable event. Our customers and visitors to events welcome this idea and we are always looking forward to the next sustainable event so we can continue to contribute to this programme.”
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What’s your definition of sustainability? The sustainability vision for the venue? “My vision of sustainability goes beyond the ecological viewpoint. In my opinion, being sustainable also has social and economic implications. Sustainability is showing respect for the environment but it also means being fair and ensuring your projects are viable. The Centre’s vision of sustainability aims to join the concepts of efficiency and continuous improvement to its ecological commitment. The venue is economically self-sufficient and this independence enables us to be profitable, and to constantly innovate.” What’s the gap between where you are today and that vision? “Although there is still some way to go to reach our ideal vision, our track record demonstrates that we have managed to achieve a lot by reaching milestones instead of setting ourselves one final goal. Being profitable has allowed us to reinvest in the building over 12 years to reduce consumption, use alternative energies, and thus be more energy efficient. We have also achieved many milestones internally such as quality, environment and management standards. However, greater commitment is required from companies and society to reach an ideal situation.” What are you doing and planning on doing tomorrow to close that gap? “We are currently working on our new strategic plan which will mark our efforts over the next few years. However, profitability, quality, efficiency, and obviously sustainability are going to be firm fixtures in this plan. It’s still too early to go into details but we want to grow our sustainable efforts by adding
new elements and consolidate the current features to attract companies that want to hold green events at our venue, so as to become the European benchmark in this field. ¶
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in the borderland between user, technology and design a meeting occurs, a meeting that Kelly Goto, founder of Gotomedia, has devoted her life to trying to understand and develop. Her mission is to create user-friendliness among products with an interactive interface, such as websites, mobile phones and GPS systems. the activities are research-
based and a great deal of work goes into understanding how users of products think and act, and what they would like to do with their communication tools. At the end of the day it is about how technology, with the help of design, can simplify the daily lives of people. “Media design is about under standing how people intuitively use products and services through an interface. That interface is normally connected to a product in which product design and interactive design merge. Whichever way you think about media, whether a mobile MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
phone, TV or a website, you have to surround the product with a shell of interaction. That’s where we come in.” Kelly Goto calls herself a design ethnographer. “But I’m careful when using that term. Until recently I called myself an evangelist in ethnography and ethnographical research. I don’t have a degree in ethnography, but I strive to get companies to understand that people live their lives in their processes and thoughts.” Kelly Goto could well have contributed to ethnography becoming a buzzword in the US
business vocabulary. “Ethnography is the new black,” she says bitterly. “That which has been my message for so many years has suddenly become mainstream. Companies have begun to notice it, newspapers are writing about it and everybody’s talking about it. They say ‘so this is what differentiates a successful company from one that’s not’. But that’s okay. I’m glad that so many companies have begun to understand the importance of thinking in this way.” Kelly Goto talks of emotional design contra practical design. “Sometimes it’s about creating
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a combination of both, but for the most part you have to think about how you want to create an emotional or practical experience. I assume that what I do is interesting because it’s about media and I’ve designed interface for the web and mobile phones, and such like. Design is now turning towards becoming a total experience, and as the experience embraces so much, we even try to get in media as a tradition form of design. It hasn’t previously been regarded as such. There were just architects MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
and furniture designers. We’re finally being taken seriously within design.” Gotomedia chiefly works from the simple formula “design – observe – ask – repeat”, which means that the company simply asks the users for their opinions. But in the hunt for knowledge on how the technology is used, they also apply contextual interviews. “They’re on the border of being ethnographical without being it. We accompany people into their workplaces and shadow them for
a whole day. We get them to keep a photo diary. Using our network we can conduct a quick test in five different cultural settings for a week, which gives us an insight into how the public thinks and uses certain products.” After more than a decade studying how people use interactive services, Kelly Goto and her company are taking a further step in their development. “I’ve dedicated my research into studying how people act. We’re now
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implementation and research. See it as a triangle: you want to get at user-friendly design, but also have to think about the business side, the technological limitations and how the design will get all the pieces to collaborate. We add research to all of that.” Would it be correct to say that you get different types of design to communicate with each other? “Yes, design is a form of communication. The more intuitive and user-friendly you can make it, the better the total experience. People’s positive experiences of interactive design have now begun to reflect in company brands.” But getting these disciplines to collaborate is not easy. This requires ethnographer Goto to use her knowledge of people. What do her meetings with clients actually look like? Well, she locks decision-makers
Many say they believe in it but are not capable of coming down from a management level to where it’s actually used. They think it’s great, but when it comes to the crunch I don’t think they have enough time. “We use the triangle that I mentioned earlier, the one with enterprise, technology and design together with research in order to get a picture of the users’ experience. These meetings are crucial, a lot is needed to get all these decisionmakers into the same room.” You would think that Kelly Goto overdoses the participants with modern, user-friendly technology during the meetings. But she doesn’t practice what she preaches, at least not from a meetings perspective. Computers are forbidden. “We use pens, paper and whiteboards. In my experience people who use computers will
“We’re finally being taken seriously within design.”
going to find out why they act as they do. How do they think? What motivates them? What are their desires? How can we create an intuitive and emotionally enticing experience that helps them feel that they can accomplish what they want and feel satisfied?” You want business strategy to collaborate with strategic design. How does that work? “We’ve created our discipline by introducing a business approach and strategy with technological
in a room for three hours and forces them to go through the most positive user experiences they can imagine and how they can achieve them. During these meetings engineers and marketing people have to collaborate and find common points of contact. “Everything we do has an element of feedback to it. We try to educate our clients in the importance of working with development, design and strategy in a way that they get feedback from real people the whole time, during the entire process.
sooner or later begin to ponder over the font or whether to centre the text or whatever. When you work with pen and paper, all the obstacles disappear and the ideas stream out. And we want the ideas to flow. During the meetings we create the same feeling of experiencing that we want the users to feel. You don’t experience the same thing at all working with a computer. It’s also much more fun. It takes a bit of time to compile all the documentation, but it’s worth it.” ¶
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The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre in Gothenburg – venue of opportunities
The most effective meeting place in Scandinavia The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre is the most effective venue in Scandinavia for developing business, relations, know-how, visions and ideas. We host some 30 exhibitions and hundreds of conference and congress events every year. When people meet in perfect surroundings, something new is born. The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre is about creating the best possible opportunities for just such meetings. With eight modern exhibition halls and 50 flexible, well-equipped conference rooms including a magnificent congress hall, we provide stimulating environment for every imaginable gathering – from small group meetings to a large world congress. Together with trendsetting Hotel Gothia Towers, we
offer world-class accommodation that flirts madly with all friends of great design. Scandinavia’s largest and Gothenburg’s tallest hotel has 704 stylish rooms and suites. Plus: seven very tasteful restaurants and three popular bars. The location is extremely central. The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre is situated in the heart of the city’s intensive event area. Close to Gothenburg’s highly acclaimed amusement, cultural, entertainment and sporting facilities such as Liseberg Amusement Park, Scandinavium Indoor Arena, Universeum Science Discovery Centre and World Cultural Museum. We welcome you. Together, we will create an unforgettable meeting experience.
SE-412 94 Göteborg, Sweden. Tel: +46 31 708 80 00. Fax: +46 31 16 03 30 Visiting address: Mässans Gata/Korsvägen. www.svenskamassan.se E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Edgar Hirt is the President of the International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC); and Managing Director of CCH, Congress Center Hamburg. AIPC is the pre-eminent international association of convention centres, with a mission of encouraging, supporting and recognizing excellence in centre management.
CONVENTION CENTRES OF THE FUTURE – WE ALL HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY one of the most interesting – and
challenging – conclusions from our AIPC Annual Conference was the idea that the expansion, redevelopment and updating of convention centres may be moving from an occasional undertaking to something that is largely continuous. This is interesting for centres themselves and their suppliers and clients. The essential challenge centres face is that they are long-term investments in an industry that is changing rapidly. They must remain relevant and competitive for years despite being constrained by the fact that once built, they have limited flexibility in their actual structure. In recent years, changing market expectations have had to do with not just things like programs and services but even the size and arrangements of spaces. In addition, there are many other new demands, ranging from new technology to sustainability. Sometimes these can be satisfied with changes to operations; often, it requires much more. The result is that even if the new demands can be satisfied in an existing structure, they can be expensive and difficult to implement.
A big issue is that there is a great deal of convention centre product out there. This means competition and thus no centre can afford to remain behind. If a centre is fortunate enough to have good customers, it must do everything it can to avoid driving them away through a lack of appropriate facilities. This means much more work for managers; they need to become ongoing project managers as well as operators. What it means for customers is the opportunity to shape the facilities they use. The greatest imperative in centre design today is flexibility. Knowing we will never be able to predict future demands exactly, the best approach is to design-in the ability to adapt. But it helps to have the best possible idea of what the future demands are going to be, and this is where the customers come in. Event organizers are best positioned to anticipate new directions in meeting formats and by communicating this to centre managers, they help not just the centres but themselves. And the more managers are aware of future trends the more likely they will be to get the kinds of facilities they want and need. This is something to keep in mind
as we contemplate a time when centres will have to be updated much more regularly and there are many ways to encourage better dialogue. For their part, centres should design their post-event surveys to better capture the information and insights clients have about how building changes would create a better meeting environment, instead focussing solely on service. Clients should look at the input process as an investment in their future and take the time to think through what kinds of changes – whether in an existing building or a potential future one – would make the most sense for their needs. The same applies to centre suppliers. These are the people who often know the limitations of a centre and the expectations of clients as well as or better than centre staff themselves. Yet they may often focus more on immediate activities than sitting down to organize this knowledge in a way that can be used for decision making. Let’s take advantage of this trend toward more regular updates as an opportunity for all to take a part of the responsibility to get the best possible input in designing the convention centre of the future. ¶ 2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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last year was an overwhelming year for Charlie Caper: winner of Swedish Talent 2009, second prize in Parlour Magic at the 2009 World Championships of Magic, winner of the 2009 European Street Magic Championships, winner of Stage Magic at the 2009 Nordic Championships in Conjuring, winner of Salon Magic at the 2009 Swedish Championships in Conjuring.
“when i decided to enter for
Talent 2009 I noticed that the Swedish Championships were being held ten days before the first show. It felt like a good opportunity to train my new number. I won my category and was invited to take part in the World Championships. I accepted and decided to enter the Nordic and European Championships to polish the show.” When did you begin conjuring? “I borrowed a book on conjuring at the library when I was nine years old and performed at private parties when I was around fifteen. I began at university and studied philosophy, psychology, mathematics and computer sciences. On graduating I moved to London and began working as a programmer at an IT company. After fifteen months I was burnt out and decided to do something else. “London is the street artists’ Mecca. In Covent Garden alone there are twenty or so artists who live off the money put in their hats. I got to know some of them and in 2002 I decided to learn their trade. “We could be drinking coffee while playing chess and looking at
the performers. Suddenly ten people from the audience would leave. We discussed the reason for this. What would you do in that situation? The discussions continued in that vein. You get instant feedback as a street artist; the audience leaves if you’re poor or puts money in your hat if you’re good.” What did you learn from it? “Legendary street artist, Jim Cellini, claims it’s all about “making them stop, making them stay and making them pay. These are the three things you have to know. Each part of the act contains quite a few surrounding activities, like how to organise an audience in the best way to create the right atmosphere. If you organise the audience wrongly then it’s finished. That’s just the way it is.” What are the success factors in this? “It depends on how tight you pack the audience, the direction in which they’re facing, who has the sun in their eyes, what you do if somebody happens to leave. Should five or six people suddenly leave to catch their train, an unexpectedly large gap appears in the audience.
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What do I do then? There were many such questions I needed to find the answers to.” What do you do then? “It depends on the type of act. But you have to plug the gap or the shape falls apart. I know from my own experience having done between 3,500 and 4,000 performances.” That sounds strange. Do you mean to say that the show could fall apart just because five or six people leave? “Absolutely, the structure of the audience is crucial. It’s how you create an atmosphere. If something’s wrong you feel it.” Do more leave if a few go, do fewer come or is it a combination? “It’s a combination and it can definitely create a domino effect when more leave. I don’t think it accelerates, but it’s hard work having an audience that slowly diminishes. Added to this the show could look worse than it is from a distance. Those walking by could get an illusion that it’s not worth stopping for. And those who remain may feel that the show is worse than what it actually is.” What happens in the minds of the audience do you think? “Something feels wrong with the show. They become slightly hesitant and the artist doesn’t look as selfassured any more. A gap doesn’t just cost in terms of audience numbers but also takes energy from the show. It’s as though energy leaks out through the gap, like a balloon when the air slowly hisses out as you try in vain to blow it up.” Can you ask people to change positions? “It works for some but not for others. It depends on who you are and the contacts you’ve established. There are those who run up to an audience wielding a chainsaw and MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
playfully threaten them to get them to take a few steps forward, it depends on if it works for that particular act. As a street artist I have a few tricks up my sleeve to get people closer to each other. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. “If it’s a salon you have to plan it in advance. Sometimes when I enter the stage I get the feeling that I should have done it another way instead. In a theatre it’s best to have somebody employed to ask the audience to sit as close to the stage as possible. A
with it is a long process. You have to handle everything from screaming children to people who are drunk. During one performance, fifty Hells Angels motorbikes drove between me and the audience. “This also means you have two jobs. You must, of course, put on a good performance but you also have to provide the conditions to ensure an optimum performance. As a lecturer the conditions are usually dealt with for you, but there are always details that you have to consider and
“I’ve toured around the world for seven to eight years and everything I own is in a 25-kilo pack that I take with me.”
few weeks ago I had a company job where the audience only half filled the theatre. Some tried to get them to sit further forward. But not all of them did, so during the show I added something that required them to move closer. “It’s a massive difference doing a show in a half empty theatre where the audience are sitting at the front rather than spread out or at the rear. The energy and contact in the performance is like night and day. The atmosphere in the audience, how they experience it, also has an influence. And that affects me too.” So it’s about audience psychology? “Yes, learning about everything you could possibly face and dealing
improve. Regardless of how good the show is, you are always influenced by its quality and the quality of the surroundings. I would say they are equally important.” How should the audience be placed? “They should sit in a natural way as an audience when I perform. If you plan to hold a dialogue then you have to arrange the audience to facilitate that. They shouldn’t be too spread out or the affinity will disappear. Also, they have to be at a natural distance from the person standing on stage.” How do arrange the audience as a street artist? “This is something we discuss at great length. There exists a Covent
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Carefully craft the links to develop your community just as an artist would craft a beautiful object. Choose the tools best suited to your objectives. Mobilise our international experience across key industry sectors. Commit totally to our clients. Champion innovation, yet remain true to your strategy. These are the beliefs that have today made us one of the key players within the field of Association, Communications and Event Management. Together, let’s build unified and dynamic communities around your brands, companies and institutions.
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Rue de Lyon 75 — P.O. Box 502 — 1211 Genève 13 — Switzerland Phone +41 (0)22 33 99 500 — E-mail: email@example.com
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Garden style for street conjurors that entails starting eight metres in front of the point where the show ends. You begin with a small act for five people and pull the table backwards slowly as the audience grows. It’s easier for you to back than to get the audience to do it. The key is never to move the table backwards between two tricks, always move it during a trick. Then people are hooked, the sensitive point is between tricks because of the greater risk of people leaving.” How do you know when it’s time to move the table backwards? “I’ve learnt the weak and strong points in an act and know when I can take the liberty to leave the structure and manuscript and when not to. And I feel where I have the audience and what I have to do to win them over. I learn something new from each
performance. I always analyse why something occurred and then change it and experiment.” What’s the greatest difference between standing on stage and performing on the street? “On stage there’s not that much to react to and to play with. On the other hand I don’t have to put up with drunk people. Another difference is the distance and height of the stage. A high stage is a matter of course for a star or a rock band. At the beginning I felt that I had come too far away from the audience when I stood on stage. It’s difficult to create intimacy and proximity.” How important is eye contact? “It’s crucial. If I have a small audience, say 30 or 40 people rather than 100, I try to get eye contact with all of them. That can be one goal.
When you know your act inside out having done it so many times you don’t need to think about what to say and even if you get it wrong you always find your way back. It could be a challenge to play a few games. For my part it’s usually small things, like getting eye contact with everybody, for example. This also creates energy and presence.” When working with street theatre you have to read the audience the whole time to make sure they stay. What sort of signals do you pick up? “Audiences will usually stay if it’s a good show, so a good show is crucial. I normally pick up two things from an audience: energy and contact. We could interpret the former as how much they like the show and the latter as how much they like me.” 2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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“You get instant feedback as a street artist; the audience leaves if you’re poor or puts money in your hat if you’re good.”
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Do you wonder what the audience is thinking during a show? “Not what they’re thinking, but what they’re feeling and if they’re into it, to be able to adapt the pace of the show. If you lose contact with the audience then the natural instinct is to talk faster. The right way is to slow things down and talk slower, look at them and be there. Being slow creates focus.” How do you regard the use of our various senses? “I think it’s important to involve them. But also to have contrasts and dynamics, being loud and quiet, large and small, affected and calm.” What’s the most important thing to master as a street artist? “Presence, something every street artist has learnt the hard way. It hurts a lot when a show fails. And on the street this is blatantly clear because everybody leaves. You can’t pretend that nothing has gone wrong. But you also learn that it’s not that bad, you learn to cope when things go horribly wrong. It’s not the whole world. You have to learn from it and improve.” Would it be correct to say that you work with communication? “Yes. It’s about manuscript, pitch, body language and timing. What you say, how you say it, what you look like and the timing. If it works then you’ve succeeded.” People’s short-term memory is very small, it’s always being deleted and filled with new information. Is the limitation of the short-term memory the conjuror’s best friend? “I’m not really sure. I consider our best friend being the fact that the brain takes in that which it expects to take in. When we walk along a dark road and see a bush that looks like a person, the brain rapidly fills in all the details and we become scared. The brain begins
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by picking up a few elements and then determining the situation that it will then complement. What you think, your attitude, has a great significance. What we see is sieved through that filter, which I think has a great significance for magicians. The audience brains fill in what they expect, and when I throw a telephone into the air they see that it disappears.” How do you prepare for a show? “If I’m performing on the street I don’t prepare that much, I’ve done it many times and feel safe in what I do. I prepare in advance by staying in a good mood, trying to eat good food and avoiding disturbances. If I miss a bus then I take a taxi to avoid stress and getting in a bad mood that would otherwise affect the performance. On a theatre stage I can still get nervous. I stretch my whole body and try to warm up my voice.” Why are you more nervous when standing on a stage? “There’s more pressure. People have paid a lot of money to see me so I have to give an optimum performance. The street has different demands. I know I’ll get it together even if I have a bad start. Experience shows this. When I work in the theatre or with company jobs it’s impossible to give 90 per cent.” What’s the difference between being a lecturer and an artist? “I don’t think there’s that much
difference. Both demand a lot of self-confidence, knowing that what you’re doing is good. The majority of speakers today also have to be entertainers. You can take any subject you like and make it interesting and entertaining.” How do you create selfconfidence? “A turning point for me was when I discovered that my act had what it took to be good. I was a few months into my first summer as a street artist, the great turning point came when I began putting faith in the end of the show. When I felt that the end of this show was so good that all who stayed did so because they thought that it was worth it. Feeling that gave me the self-confidence to improve that which preceded it and the motivation to keep hold of the audience. I knew they would be satisfied and that gave me self-confidence.” Did this just grow by itself or had you read some theory or other? “It grew by itself. I’ve not learnt through theories but by doing a good number of shows. I’ve later linked my experiences to various theories and I’ve read quite a lot in recent times. The whole thing has evolved slowly in accordance with Darwin’s theory of relativity. The small show is slowly adapted, because every poor performance hurts as every good one makes you happy. Your experiences change the show gradually and it
becomes more functional. It’s been a long, enjoyable and painful process since I began in 2003. I’ve basically worked all-year-round and spent winters touring Australia.” Have all the awards you have won affected your self-confidence? “I’m not sure if the awards have affected my self-confidence as such, but the Talent Show has because a TV audience votes. I didn’t have much confidence in doing my English show in Swedish and I didn’t have much self-confidence with regard to the TV media and music. Winning a silver in the World Championships was of course important, but the most important thing is knowing that you can put on a good show. That helps self-confidence no end.” But making more money must have meant something? “Yes, I’ve decided to stop travelling and make fewer tours. I’m now doing shows at theatres and companies. This will bring about a large change in my life. I’ve toured around the world for seven to eight years and everything I own is in a 25-kilo pack that I take with me.” Another big difference is that you have to sit in on negotiations and meetings from now on. Is there anything you can take with you from your career? “Presence. Look at everybody and be there. Really be there.” ¶
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. He runs the websites veryimportantbrains.se and readrunner.se.
2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
Dinner on Ice/BrĂ¤ndĂś Adventure Camp/Per Pettersson
Choose Sweden for Meetings and Incentives. Please find out more at www.meetings.visitsweden.com
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TO GRAEME BARNETT the new CEO of EIBTM Will the seminar programme at the trade shows make it harder for organisations like MPI to get delegates to their European meetings and events? “EIBTM as an event is now in its 22nd year. It’s considered the global event for the meetings industry, and last year had a record attendance including members of MPI. In fact MPI is a major partner of EIBTM and of course they also take a stand. Our Education Programme attracted record numbers of attendees in 2009 (4,000 attendees, up 15 per cent on 2008). This year there will be sessions that not only act as thought provoking but also deliver advice and news on trends and industry
updates. Some of the sessions bring the world closer to Barcelona – there will be a focus on China for example. Then there is a look at South America and South Africa post FIFA 2010, plus innovative sessions on Women in Business, and the plenary on branding. The very latest on cutting edge technology updates – this subject alone has grown in stature every year – and special focused streams for corporate and agencies, where MPI delivers its own knowledge exchange – and associations. So, we’re not in competition with MPI or their events, they focus on their members and we focus on delivering a b2b event for the global meetings industry and all
its various stakeholders.” Do you really know who is coming to your seminars? “Yes. Up to the event, we can see who, within the Hosted Buyer programme, has registered to attend their specialist programme sessions, which covers those who are agencies, associations or corporates. All of their sessions have to be pre-booked. All sessions are open to trade visitors, exhibitors and media and are free to all.” Are you not afraid that a heavy seminar programme will take the Hosted Buyers too far away from the floor at the trade show? “The planning of each Hosted Buyer’s PSA (pre-schedule 2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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attendee research highlights any changes that need to be made both in format and content, so we are continually looking to understand what our customers want, and try to meet their needs through varying formats and styles of meeting and presentation.” How important is it to create new programmes for the seminars? “We are continually researching the industry to understand how we should shape the content for our events, reflecting the ever changing needs of our customers and the communities our events serve. The education programme for example, has been described by the industry as “Gold Class Standard”. It is our role to deliver what the industry needs, and this means we consider and consult our stakeholders all the time. We have an advisory board, which provides opinions and ideas, plus we watch and observe the industry to see how we can continually evolve our Education Programme year on year.” Who is the engine in your development of these questions in your organisation? “There is a team of 12 people that make up the portfolio management team from across the globe. Each member has a role in identifying the local and regional needs of their markets, and that information is used to plan the strategy for the Education Programme for each event. On EIBTM, the Exhibition Director in conjunction with the Associations and Education Manager, are ultimately responsible for the creation and execution of the programme, along with marketing and logistic staff who are involved in delivering such a broad education programme.” How do you find new approaches and new speakers?
“By keeping totally connected and immersed in the industry.” How do you work with business intelligence according to your seminar programme? “EIBTM has its annual Industry Trends & Market Share Report, which is delivered by Rob Davidson, Senior Lecturer, Travel and Tourism, Westminster University. This report presents the latest findings from research into the conference and incentive industry worldwide, and identifies emerging trends that are having the greatest impacts on the market. However, the whole education programme in one way or another provides business intelligence, as the sessions are delivered by some of the most influential industry experts. In addition, our CEO Summit members, 80 C level executives from companies and organisations operating in the meetings sector around the world, feed into our ‘collective intelligence pool’, providing a rich source of ideas and suggestions which help to shape the seminar programme.” What is your vision in the seminar work of EIBTM? “The vision of RTE globally is to deliver seminar and conference programmes at each of our events. We aim to not only provide cutting edge information and news, but also allow for debate, insight and thought leadership. It’s also about providing individuals the opportunity to further develop their own businesses and to also improve their own professional development within the meetings industry. Our vision is to provide a quality experience based on relevant content, delivered by experts and suitable and appropriate environments.” ¶
appointments) diary takes into consideration their attendance at the seminar programme, as each of them pre-book their attendance. This in no way reflects from their requirement to undertake a minimum of 6 appointments per day, a destination presentation and the networking events.” How do you work with renewing your seminar ideas? “Erica Keogan is our Associations and Education Manager. The role of her team is to create the Education Programme for each of our events in RTE’s meetings and events portfolio. She has been an industry professional for many years, and attends many of the key industry events around the world, helping to build her knowledge of the issues that are current (be it local, regional or global). Attending these events also allows her to identify the speakers that are able to deliver content and presentations, to provide insight and potential solutions. Each of the events in the portfolio has specific requirements when it comes to education content, for example the requirement and style of sessions in China is quite different to that of the Middle East and it’s important to recognise the needs of the local meetings and events community as well as those who operate on a global scale.” How do you work with renewing the meeting formats? “This year we are building a lecture theatre on the show floor, which will be home to the Daily Technology Hours and all of the Spanish sessions. It’s a new initiative that brings some of the education down to the hub of the event. We have also introduced The Green Room, which will be the place for dedicated seminars focused on the subject of CSR. Our post event evaluation and
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are you born a chief or is it
Atti Soenarso PHOTOS
something you develop into? The difference between being a chief and a leader is a discussion that probably has a long history. In some large companies, being a chief all too often equates with filling your own coffers, as much as possible and as quickly as possible. But thankfully this only concerns a handful of companies. That sort of financial legroom probably only exists in large organisations where shareholders are names on a piece of paper and there is no real dialogue between owners and management. In most cases, companies and organisations are run by people who mean well and who endeavour to develop the people and the company parallel. Increasingly, more leaders are also realising that their operations also embrace social and environmental responsibility. A columnist at a large morning newspaper recently wrote that businesses should not spend their time being “good”. Their task is to make a profit. From that cynical perspective it is gratifying to know that in a world of rapid change and ever-increasing complexity the value of working as a team and learning something new together is on the increase. By developing teams, the individuals in teams and the processes that create value, you contribute to good business development in your organisation. We have taken a closer look at an organisation and pedagogical model called Kaiketsu. Kaiketsu works with organisations to release creativity and effectiveness. Kaiketsu affirms human differences and the ability to jointly seek solutions in a process that increases awareness of the interaction and dialogue and enhances a holistic view of how organisations work. The end product 2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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is a learning organisation where people want to and dare to change, with leaders who create opportunities for others and act through others. Where employees take responsibility with holistic thinking and selfdevelopment in teams where they dare to meet each other’s differences and learn together in continuous quality development with a focus on value creation processes. The starting point is a positive view of man where corporate social responsibility (CSR) plays a natural role and where corporate leaders have an inspiring philosophy far removed from cynicism and short-term personal financial gain. The leaders strive, in words and deeds, to affirm each person’s ability to learn and joy to develop. They ask questions like: What would you like our children to get out of life? Should they be allowed to operate in a society that aspires to be better? Kaiketsu coaches are wellversed in the fact that inspirational environments grow from valuecreating activities in learning societies, where there is also room for initiatives that can sometimes go wrong. What is it that really matters? The things we possess, what we do or what we are? Jim Collin’s book “Good to Great” provides many examples of companies and organisations that have combined success with humility, where the company or organisational development is always at the forefront, where nobody steals from the company or shareholders. The book lifts leaders and teams to the forefront as development torchbearers. In order for a group of people to work well together and deliver shared results, there must be sufficient professional skills to meet the group challenges, but also the ability to open up and utilise this expertise. An MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
artist practices every day to improve. They have to know their craft and the interaction with their audience, where nothing is predetermined. But how do we train our leadership? The lack of clear leadership can cost a business dear in lost revenues and increased overheads due to illhealth and less motivation. Kaiketsu provides empirically based guidance on how significant management deficiency costs can be identified and reduced. What are management deficiency costs? “All development work that we contribute to is ultimately a question of quality. Regardless of whether it concerns meetings, vision work, decision-making, business processes or learning, for us the task is always about being able to assist the organisation’s own ability to raise awareness and develop their processes,” says Thomas Bäckman, one of five consultants in the management team. “This we do with respect for what the leader or employees are part of and can influence. Continuous quality development in small steps, to which all employees and managers are committed is a prerequisite for an organisation to take the qualitative leap that ensures customer satisfaction and employees providing better economy.” As well as Thomas Bäckman, Gunilla Abrahamson is also present at the interview. The management team also includes Mats Olausson, Diego Rebeggiani and Peter Rosengren. How did Kaiketsu come about exactly? “I came with a few ideas to two other people who were onboard at the beginning, Peter Rosengren and Mats Olausson,” replies Thomas Bäckman, the third founder of the organisation. “The original concept was that logic
and intuition need to go hand-in-hand in decisionmaking. We can’t make our decisions based solely on logic. Of course we go wide of the mark sometimes, but if we’re only driven by logic then we go wide of the mark more often. That’s our experience. The concept embraces inspiration, but that is what our pedagogies generally emanate from.” “We work within the sphere of knowledge and ideas,” explains Gunilla Abrahamsson. “We stop, look and observe, give a name to that which we decide upon. We reflect, evaluate, learn together and add to that which already exists. Peter Rosengren and I held a development programme in a Swedish local authority where I was human resources manager. On completion of the programme we wrote a travelogue on the project that we called the “Crow’s Nest Journey” and which everybody who attended had to read. At the evaluation meeting, a few people spoke up saying more or less the same thing: ‘Aha, so that’s the way it was. Of course, now I understand. In the beginning you were so slow. Nothing happened. But when I look back I realise how far we’ve come along the road’”. The pedagogical model used emanates from double-loop learning in the aim of achieving integrated knowledge as opposed to shallow knowledge. They use learning processes in which learning, experience, reflection, self-reflection
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“We reflect, evaluate, learn together and add to that which already exists.” – gunilla abrahamsson
and interaction have integrating functions. The pedagogues used by the organisation mainly include Action Learning, Action-ReflectionLearning, Self-driven Learning, Experience-based Learning, Scenario Methodology, Problem-oriented Learning and Solution-focused Learning.
Has Kaiketsu changed over time as a pedagogical model, are new parts added? “Yes, in its own way,” replies Thomas Bäckman. “But the core has always been there. That which we call the Arena has been added. This is a game board not unlike Sudoku, but which is fed a few other parameters.
It provides the consultants with further insights and perspectives into participants and attempted solutions. The Arena came in and condensed a number of principles.” Thomas Bäckman works with the development of companies and administrations via the personal development of leaders and employees. He opens up to constructive team sparks when logic and intuition come into the discussion. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economy from Uppsala University and a Master’s from the Stockholm School of Economics with the focus on integration. In addition, he has worked as consultant for the development of business and administrative rationalisation, been head of group functions within organisational and management development in Skandia, Bofors and SAS Service Partner, a management consultant and fifteen years as programme director and supervisor of the Mil Institute and a mentor at Mentor International. Thomas Bäckman is also engaged in the European Coaching & Mentoring Council (EMCC) for qualitative development of supervisors, coaches and mentors. “The Arena has helped us see several solutions tangibly, as there are nearly always several solutions,” says Thomas Bäckman. “When we work in teams we people often try to hold on to our own opinion: ‘It’s just as well that we agree to disagree and stop seeing our own solution as being the one and only solution. There’s more than one solution to our problem.’ Naturally I’m also like that sometimes. I also hear that from my colleagues. There’s always more than one way to solve a problem. “One important point to make is that it could actually be a sufficiently good solution,” adds 2010 No 6 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
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Gunilla Abrahamsson. “We don’t talk about the solution we find being the only correct solution, the ultimate solution. We could find this tough to accept ourselves. Here we try to practice what we preach and can put ourselves in our client’s position, particularly the CEOs position. By words the mind is winged.” Gunilla Abrahamsson is a behavioural scientist with an international Master’s degree in Human Services, Leadership and Management, and is a certified coach with the International Coaching Federation. Gunilla has worked for two years as an executive manager in the social sphere and has been head of human resources for four years. On top of this, Gunilla Abrahamsson has 20 years’ experience from management and supervisory positions in Ericsson Shared Services, ABB Energy Information Systems, at the Swedish Ministry of Culture and SAS airline. How often is the problem due to rigid and uncooperative people? “There are all sorts of varieties in both sexes,” she says. “Here we are quite alike. I have a more positive view of man’s will to change when given the conditions for change and daring to climb onboard. I don’t think there’s one CEO who would deny wanting change.” Is it always right to begin the change process at management level? “Not necessarily. We could start at middle level, but communication is a natural part of the management set up. Otherwise it would be difficult to achieve results in the long-term. It could be beneficial not to include the top leader to avoid having their view put a lid on the proceedings. But we’ve also had leaders and CEOs who have regretted not taking part
MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
in the change project,” says Gunilla Abrahamsson. Kaiketsu put into practice administrations’ visions and goals. The pedagogical model shows the way by which to research a team’s possibilities, which are built on individual strengths. Leaders and employees usually collaborate better with regular training in teamwork. It’s all general work and management processes, but also projects and other scheduled assignments.” “Our business philosophy helps companies and administrations develop with the values they deliver to their customers or users,” explains Thomas Bäckman. “This requires constructive links between customer/ user benefit and the financial bearing value and value-creating growth of the company. All organisations are dependent on skilled and motivated employees who receive personal development, training and the support they need to deliver results in accordance with the business strategy.” ¶
kaiketsu’s key terms: » Split vision in a complex world requires interaction between individuals – in teams. » The exchange throughout the team increases with the ability to utilise individuals’ differences. » Kaiketsu means respect for different solutions and personal prestige. » Reducing the cost of poor quality makes work processes more effective. » The cost of poor management is a great potential for companies and administrations.
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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. twitter.com/thekellerman
INSPIRATION, BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE AND BEYOND Paul Flackett, Patrick Delaney,
Ray Bloom, Nikki Walker, Greta Kotler, David Hornby, Robin Lokerman, Roger Tondeur, Johan Johansson, Elling Hamso, Atti Soenarso, Layth Bunni, Tom McDonald, Klaus Goschmann, Guy Bigwood, Christian Mutschlechner, John Hines, Robin Sharma, Sebastien Tondeur, Tom Hulton, Martin Sirk, Anna Valdemarsdottir, Lennart Mankert, Jason Axmith, Bosse Magnusson, Barbara Jamison, Mustafa Gurbüz, Paul Bridle, Björn Masuhr, Rod Cameron, Thomas Hallin, Fabian Stockton, Rohit Talwar, Rolf Nordholm, Carl Lundgren, Maarten Vanneste, Paul Kennedy, Maria Jacobsson, Jenny Salsbury, Joyce Dogniez, Alan Pini, Anant Vithlani, Christian Alçenius, Annette Lefterow, Anthony Hyde, Antoni Lacinai, Aoife Delaney, Vesa Honkonen, Bianca Manteuffel, Bruce MacMillan, Nik Racic, Carina Bauer, Inge Hanser, Charles-Eric Vilain MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No 6 2010
XIIII, Monica Hägg, Charles Massey, Christian Guldager, Lars Blicher Hansen, Corbin Ball, Damian Hutt, Didier Scaillet, Eric Rozenberg, Gerrit Jessen, Hans Gordon, Lotten Sylwan Gordon, Hans Kanold, Hans Henrik Friis, Antonio Gozzo, Angela Guillemet, Henrik von Arnold, Gunilla Mitchell, Pia Jönsson Rajgård, Hugo Slimbrouck, Ejnar Söder, Timo Heinaro, Johan Bjelke, Johan F Lundberg, Jonathan Bradshaw, Jurriaen Sleijster, Ole Sorang, Kevin Cottam, Lennart Rohlin, Lotte Wagner, Marcel Vissers, Mathijs Vleeming, Kjell Ericsson, Devdutt Pattanaik, Kjell A Nordström, Vito Marzo, Martin Essunger, Martin Lewis, Steve Lewis, Michael Qwen, Michael Westerberg, Roslyn McLeod, Håkan Petersson, Miha Kovacic, Mika Lehtinen, Miranda Ioannou, Mårten Hedlund, Thomas Bäckman, Padraic Gilligan, Paul Cook, Paul Cunningham, Peter Haigh, Pier Paolo Mariotti, Remy
Cregut, Rick Taylor, Rob Spalding, Rudolfo Musco, Ruud Janssen, Sus Nygaard, Sara Appelgren, Rob Davidson, Staffan Widstrand, Gary Robson, Marianne de Ray, Joan Eisenstodt, Herry Van Reenen, Magnus Sallbring, Steen Jakobsen, Mady Keup, Michael Luehrs, James Latham, Elizabeth Rice, Tony Carey, Tuula Lindberg, Lisa Heft, Inger Svensson, Terri Breining, Janet Cheung, Charles Drewe, Jukka-Paco Halonen, Carolyn Dow, Carol Krugman, Carl Langly, John Martinez, Carl Palmlund, Patrick Patridge, Fiona Pelham, Polo Looser, Christer Rosén, Prasant Saha, Johan Gorecki, Richard Gatarski, Helmut Schwägerman, Vanessa Sharp, Samuel J Smith, David Zhong, Amy Spatrisano, Vanessa Cotton, Johanna Fischer, Sian Thomas, Mandy Torrens, Ulrike von Arnold, Miranda Van Brück, Sander Beunk, Malcolm Gladwell. Thank you! ¶
MEET. ICELAND. ÍSLENSKA SIA.IS IBI 51337 09.2010
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sea and mountains. 5 minutes walk to the city center, 20 minutes drive to unspoilt nature. Visit Iceland. Be inspired by Iceland. For further information, please visit our website InspiredByIceland.com