Rotterdam. Make It Happen.

May 1, 2018

Rotterdam. Make It Happen.

A city of distinctive character, Rotterdam is bold, energetic and constantly changing. Rotterdam and its inhabitants never shy away from experimentation. In fact, they would rather seek it out. This has always been the Rotterdam way. Like the river Maas, the city is constantly changing, reinventing itself, moving forward.

Buzzing city

Rotterdam never sleeps, there is always something going on. Every year, new, original festivals are launched. New restaurants, bars, coffee bars and clubs are opening at exciting locations all the time. Leading museums and art institutions, such as the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Kunsthal Rotterdam, continue to attract attention with high-profile exhibitions. And also the range of shopping opportunities grow day by day, from famous international fashion stores to cool design shops selling products produced locally.

Quick facts about Rotterdam

  • + 40+ destinations from Rotterdam The Hague Airport
  • + 26 minutes away from International Airport Schiphol
  • + Thriving cosmopolitan city: 630,000 inhabitants
  • + 170+ nationalities
  • + 2nd tier city: competitive rates
  • + 8,000 hotel rooms in Rotterdam region
  • + Capacity largest venue 10,000


It is no surprise that the eyes of the international public and media are increasingly directed at Rotterdam. Whether it is in architecture, the creative sector or the smart port, Rotterdam is often trendsetting. The city on the Maas is home to many leading architectural practices, including Rem Koolhaas’ OMA and the MVRDV and ZUS practices. Rotterdam’s universities, educational institutes and knowledge centres, including the flagship Erasmus University, have an international reputation for high-quality research and education.

Entrepreneurial and innovative

Rotterdam is the city where the Make It Happen mentality is felt and visible wherever you go. With people, organizations and companies who choose Rotterdam and who find their take on Rotterdam’s mentality and ‘can do’ spirit. The entrepreneurial spirit and innovative hubs in the region such as Erasmus Center for Entrepreneurship, SuGu Club, CIC / Venture Café, BlueCity010, RDM Rotterdam and YES!Delft are all testimonials to the ‘make it happen’ way of doing things, supporting start-ups and connecting people, companies and knowledge and research institutes.

Events and congresses

Rotterdam is also a prime location for corporate events, fairs and congresses. The city holds top venues, hotels and business locations, each with their own specific feel and facilities, all situated within walking distance or a short public transport ride from Central Station. Examples of Rotterdam’s top event venues are Rotterdam Ahoy (which is currently developing a whole new Convention Centre, scheduled to open in 2020), De Doelen ICC and Postillion Convention Centre. The city is easily accessible from two international airports (Schiphol and Rotterdam The Hague Airport). The wide range of leisure activities on offer in and around the city and the buzzing social scene and night life make for great social programme options. In short, Rotterdam has so much to offer.

Want to find out more about Rotterdam as location for your next event or congress? Check out this short animation. Or find out what Rotterdam Partners Convention Bureau can do for you here or via this short video.

This article is powered byRotterdam Partners Convention Bureau. More info on Rotterdam as a convention destination is available here.


May 1, 2018

Caring for Health in Nantes

Through its dynamic economy and attractiveness for companies, Nantes Métropole has established itself as the leading economic centre in France’s Great West. The health sector is one of the priority areas for Nantes’ economic growth and, in this context, La Cité Nantes Congress Centre (pictured) has been instrumental in getting the destination on the map, hosting numerous major medical congresses, like the FIAPAC Conference in September 2018.

Over the last decades, Nantes and its surrounding region have witnessed anexponential growth in both the number of companies created and in laboratories and researchers. Thanks to an ambitious scheme designed to make the destination a leading one in terms of R&D, many research organisations, such as INSERM, CNRS, INRA or IFREMER, and innovative businesses have made Nantes their home, and transformed it into an undisputable player in the health field.

As a tool for ec­onomic development, La Cité Nantes Congress Centre contributes to the national and international outreach of the sectors of excellence in the region. It has developed close ties with regional competitive clusters and unveiled a strategy to host events related to what it is good at, namely life sciences, to mention only but one. This excellence has led La Cité win the bid for the next congress of the International Federation of Professional Abortion and Contraception Associates (FIAPAC).

Professor Philippe David, Conference Chair and Gynecology and Obstetrics surgeon at the Clinique Jules Verne, explains : In September, over two days, the care provision of abortion and contraceptionwill be re-explored and discussed, a little more than 40 years after the adoption of the Veil law. The aim of the conference is to facilitate and trigger professional reflections, with an ethic view of woman health, and the control of reproductive life and sexuality. Nantes is the ideal place to do that, as it boasts a very dynamic and engaged community in the field, as well deeply involved citizens and local authorities.

When asked about La Cité itself, Professor David says the venue has shown its ability to host majorconferences in the past, and the know-how of its teams is no secret. La Cité Congress Centre is located in the heart of Nantes, opposite the high-speed train station, only two hours from Paris, and at walking distance from most hotels. So accessibility is good, even for the participants who will come from far. But what matters to me the most is the people working there. There has been a close relationship that has developed between myself and La Cité over the years; we initiatied and won the bid for the FIAPAC Conference together. I know we can trust them, and they surely can deliver.he says. Altogether, Nantes is a very attractive place.”

It comes hardly as a surprise, then, that La Cité recently won the hosting of another major health-related event. The Congress of the International Society For The Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids will take place in 2022, with an expected attendance of 700 participants.

More information: \


April 30, 2018

Emerging & Cybersafe Rennes

Rennes might not be on every association’s mind, but this is certainly due to change thanks to a few interesting infrastructure developments the capital of Britanny in France is currently undergoing. Building on these projects, Rennes has also emerged as a hub in a number of sectors, ranging from digital technology, health, agri-food, the environment and automated production, with a number of ground-breaking achievements attracting the attention of associations.

Only an hour and half from Paris by high-speed train, Rennes, the capital of Brittany, is situated at the heart of a dual carriageway network linking Brittany to the French capital and Normandy and to the areas south of the Loire divide. A vibrant yet quite relaxed city, Rennes is also the place to enjoy some Breton culture and medieval heritage. Pleasant parks and gardens, as well as a delightful old town with restored streets and squares, colourful traditional timber-framed houses, outstanding buildings by famous architects and one of the biggest outdoor markets in France, complete the picture.

On the academic side, with engineering schools (INSA Rennes, Bretagne Telecom, Centrale Supelec…), the European Graduate School of Art in Brittany, Sciences Po, a business school and two universities, Rennes attracts young people from around the world – there are about 66,000 students in the city. A hub of excellence with four of Brittany’s certified business clusters – the internationally renowned Images et Réseaux and Mer Bretagne clusters, as well as Valorial (foods for the future) and ID4car (the name is self-explanatory!) – Rennes boasts an interesting ecosystem that fuels high-level research and innovation.

Perhaps lesser known is the city’s excellence in cybersecurity, a field which might well embody Britanny’s leadership, and a government priority. Its vocation is to draw together the expertise from across the region, from an education, research and technology point of view, in all fields of technical expertise such as cryptology, micro-electronics, equipment, industrial systems, soft and hardware. The cluster works in close relation with the French Defence department, and training establishments like Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan are able to support it directly, while 75 leading businesses such as Thales or Orange work in the field as well. There are also SMEs delivering technological solutions covering the whole cyber security value chain, and 13 academic research teams working in cyber security, including seven working in cyberdefence, like IRISA, a joint research centre for informatics, or Lab-STICC, an IT lab, to name only but two.

Rennes has also been in the news lately with the brand-new Couvent des Jacobins Convention Centre (pictured). Boasting two auditoria for up to 1,000 people, 4,000 sqm of exhibition space and 25 meeting rooms, it is housed in a former convent, making it really one-of-a-kind. With 4,000 hotel rooms, 2,100 of which are in the city centre, a stone’s throw from the Couvent, Rennes might well be your next event destination.

More information /


April 25, 2018

Research & Development
in Hauts-de-France

With a network of eight major association destinations, from Lille to Amiens, from Dunkirk to Arras, Hauts-de-France definitely plays along the big champions of the meetings industry. Offering a wide range of facilities for congresses for up to 4,000 people, it boasts all the knowledge and expertise you might expect to find in major cities and regions, along with several competitive clusters of world fame. It is these very specialised fields you, as European and international associations, can connect with.

With a seemingly unstoppable globalisation, France is facing increasingly rapid economic changes, to which it has efficiently adapted. The reinforcement of its many competitiveness clusters, is testament to the country’s commitment to research and innovation to remain competitive. In this context, Hauts-de-France differentiates itself as it has transformed from a post-industrial region to a very dynamic destination, with a number of centres of excellence, ranging from intelligent transport and materials to textile innovation, from commerce and distribution to health, from fishing resources to environment.

Beating energy

In fact, the Hauts-de-France region, is committed to an ambitious and innovative policy: the Third Industrial Revolution (TIR). Initiated in 2013 and following the model of the American activist Jeremy Rifkin, this process is at the meeting point of the energy transition, digital revolution and new economic models.

Supporting its members’ national and international efforts inthree areas of excellence – energetic autonomy, with the Energeia cluster, digital uses, with the ADN cluster, and eHealth, with the le Bloc cluster –the Amiens Cluster Association structures, for instance, a network of companies, research laboratories, training organisations and institutions in several fields of expertise. Over the last few years, Amiens, in fact, has turned into the R&D capital of energy storage, sitting at the heart of a great European project to support the creation of the battery of the future.

Six Clusters

If Lille is known as a historical and cultural destination offering a large range of meeting facilities, it also captivates with its creativity and vitality. As a knowledge hub, it boasts seven sites of excellence and six clusters: I-Trans, for the railway industry, sustainable multimodal and urban transportation systems, Up-Tex which works on innovative textile, NSL, designed to stimulate and support collaborative research between private companies and academic laboratories in projects at the crossroadsofnutrition, health and longevity, Matikem, for all  materials related to domestics use and, last but not least, Pole Team² , a cluster for environmental technologies and circular economy.

And, as Rob Davidson, Managing Director of MICE Knowledge, added: Hauts-d-France is packed with refreshing novelty value for jaded participants. You’ll not only find that you save on travelling time and costs, but you’ll also find a warm welcome and efficient partners who will make your event memorable, for all the right reasons.’’

More information on Hauts-de-France:  & Amiens: & / Lille Convention Bureau:

April 20, 2018

Belfast is Born Again

Once renowned for its shipyards – the Titanic was built there – Belfast seems to have found a new lease of life. Now a vibrant city full of energy and knowledge in many areas of endeavours, it has, in recent years, undergone major rejuvenation, resulting in a modern hub that attracts associations from all around the world.

If Belfast was once known for its strong industrial base and its oft-troubled past that has now fortunately become part of its history, it is now the shopping, retail, educational, commercial, entertainment, and service centre for Northern Ireland and the seat of many of its largest businesses and hospitals. Wandering through the streets of its historic centre, its gracious parks and its tidy residential neighbourhoods, you realise Belfast has much to offer to association planners looking for a destination with a twist.

Walking distance

First and foremost: everything is at walking distance. When you arrive at one of the city’s two airports (Belfast City Airport, right in the heart of the city, or Belfast International a mere 25 minutes away – and there’s also Dublin International Airport, only 90 minutes by road), you figure out quickly that you won’t lose time commuting between your hotel, your conference venue or your gala dinner. The city’s compactness makes it easy for delegates to network outside the traditional networking opportunities they are presented with since they are likely to run into colleagues and peers simply walking around…

If Belfast’s traditional manufacturing specialties, linen and shipbuilding, have declined since long, the sectors are now overshadowed by service activities, food processing and machinery manufacture.Educational institutions include Queen’s University at Belfast (also a popular conference venue) and the University of Ulster. Northern Ireland, as a whole, is a global leader in the aerospace industry with big corporations such as Airbus or Boeing working hand in hand with Northern Irish aerospace companies. Northern Ireland is also the #1 location in the world for investment into cybersecurity with the highest percentage of qualified IT professionals in the UK and Ireland.

As the middle point between America and Europe, Belfast is a major port, with commercial and industrial docks dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline, including the famous Harland and Wolff shipyard, where the well-known RMS Titanic was designed, built and launched. The site now houses Titanic Belfast, a gigantic museum that tells the story of the famous ship, from her conception in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to its maiden voyage and subsequent place in history. Titanic Belfast boasts the largest dedicated gala dinner space in the city.

A true renaissance

If the opening of Titanic Belfast (pictured) in 2012 may have marked the beginning of the city’s recent revival, Belfast’s renaissance was actually prompted by the Good Friday Agreement in the late 1990s, putting an end to years of violence. The fact that there is now a common effort, a unified message to attract association conferences is also helping Belfast being on the meetings map like she has never been before.

Infrastructure you would expect in large metropolises have pride of place in the city: Belfast Waterfront is the largest conference facility in Northern Ireland and can cater for 5,000+ delegates over 7,000 sqm of meeting space, right on the banks of the River Lagan in the heart of the city, with nice riverside views and easy access to transport links, hotels, restaurants and attractions. Like Dr Thomas Kauffels, the chair of European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) observed:“Belfast Waterfront’s city centre location and convenience to the region’s two airports have proven extremely beneficial to our international delegates – members can fly in and go straight to a meeting, hassle free.”In terms of accommodation, there will be 10,000 hotel bedrooms in Northern Ireland by 2020, with 1000 coming this year alone, including the Grand Central with 304 bedrooms.

Last but not least Belfast is where the first seasons of TV series Game of Thrones were shot and, in terms of pre- or post-conference tours, you can hardly do better! The famous nearby Causeway Coast is also a draw, offering something unique to the most demanding association planners or delegates.

More information on Belfast as a convention destination: 

This article was written by Rémi Dévé, Boardroom Chief Editor (





April 16, 2018

Register to ASAE’s CEO Symposium in Amsterdam

How do you optimize a solid and strategic partnership?  How can you align the governance roles and responsibilities of your CEO and volunteer leader? ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership has designed the CEO Symposiumto provide leadership discovery and direction in an ever-changing association workspace. Held in Amsterdam 23-24 May, the Symposium encourages association executives to evaluate annual priorities and offers insight on how best to work with their incoming leader.

For more than 30 years, both first-time and past attendees discuss the value of attending an ASAE CEO Symposium, which provides current information and direction on the emerging issues that the association community faces.  CEOs return with their newly elected officers and establish mutual trust while learning ways to strategize on governance issues and volunteer culture. Isabel Bardinet, Chief Executive Officer of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) said, ‘This one programme had a profound influence on how we now develop policies, design committees, and the day-to-day interactions between permanent and volunteer leadership.  We passed along many of the lessons to our directors, which improved the functioning of their own teams. ‘

Making connections and establishing a common ground among top members of the leadership team developsa sense of ownership and stewardship within the association and ultimately createsmeasurable results on the overall mission and success of your organization.With unparalleled expertise and a proven track-record facilitating the CEO Symposium both domestically and internationally, faculty from Tecker International, LLC will deliver valuable insights for immediate application to the realities of your own association. Optimize your partnership, create mutual return, and foster effective governance by participating and applying:

  • + Current and anticipated challenges facing leaders of contemporary associations
  • + Value of research and strategy in decision making
  • + Relationships of board and staff in association governance
  • + Leadership behavior and its impact on change, innovation, and organizational culture
  • + Successful practices in strategic planning and thinking

Glenn H. Tecker is chairman and co-CEO of Tecker International. He has more than 35 years of experience assisting associations and corporations in planning for change. Glenn is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost experts on leadership and strategy. He has worked in an executive capacity with businesses, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations and served as a board member for many nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Glenn’s expertise in the areas of governance, program strategy, organizational design, research analysis, and presentation skills will be critical to the effort.

Newly added program:

Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Foresight:  Empowering Associations for the Future

Senior association professionals and volunteer leaders are often called upon to consider how the ever-changing business, technological, social, and political landscapes will transform the organizations they represent. Leaders must be equipped with the tools, resources, and skills to guide and direct dynamic conversations around environmental scanning and planning for change. This evidence-based program will draw from ASAE Foundation’s new research initiative, ASAE ForesightWorks, to deliver key information about current business and association drivers of change. The two-part session will address the value of foresight, creating a culture of foresight, and how associations may exemplify the “duty of foresight” into their board and committee orientations. Program resources will be used to demonstrate how a continual stream of intelligence about anticipated trends can be applied and integrated such that it stimulates meaningful discussions and action.

Register at to facilitate strategic conversations around your association’s strategy, digital transformation, research and analytics, engagement, and resource allocation.

April 12, 2018

Monaco Helps You Comply

Recent years have seen increased regulation from government bodies within Europe, and from the industry regulators implementing more stringent codes and guidelines pertaining to the interactions between the pharmaceutical and medical-device industries and healthcare professionals. These factors have had direct impact on medical associations and their meetings activities. In this context, the Government of Monaco, together with all the key players in the business events industry, have converged towards the values of transparency expected in this sector.

With 530 healthcare professionals, Monaco has always aimed to achieve a high level of medical excellence and is renowned for the quality of its facilities in several fields, ranging from cardiology and gynaecology to emergency medicine and medical biology. In the fight against cancer, the CentreHospitalier Princesse Gracehas been standing out for many years. The range of disciplines available on site, collaboration with societies and links with various companies and industries has allowed many patients to access the most innovative strategies.

Monaco as a whole boasts a very dynamic healthcare cluster. If the Scientific Centre of Monaco (CSM), a public establishment founded by Prince Rainier III in 1960, is well known, the Monaco Cardio-Thoracic Center (CCM) gathers experts in diagnostic and interventional cardiology, anaesthesiologyandthoracic and cardiovascular surgery, while the Monaco Institute of Sports Medicine and Surgery (IM2S) is dedicated to surgical osteo-articular treatments. Recently, the emphasis has also been put on clinical research, as the Principality strongly believes the management of diseases is optimal wherever clinical research is associated with care.

In this ever-changing world, Monaco, which boasts a strong track record of welcoming medical conferences, can provide a full range of support to organisations wishing to hold their next event in the Principality. As a destination, Monaco can help you ensure that the overall medical ethics are always respected and that regulations are duly followed. In Monaco, simply put, compliance will be the key word that is going to be applied to every aspect of your event, especially according to the guidelines of MedTech Europe, which is committed to a high level of ethical business practices and which advises on how to collaborate ethically.

Catherine Decuyper, CEO, Conference Manager with EuroMediCom, who organises the Aesthetic & Anti-Aging World Congressevery April since 2005,puts it like this:“Choosing Monaco as a venue for the Anti-Aging World Congress was one of the keys to its success. Monaco is an exceptional destination on many counts: superbly located and with a climate that is mild almost all year round. Monaco Tourist and Convention Authority is a real partner, keen to offer help and advice at all stages and the Grimaldi Forum Monaco is a perfect congress centre. 

This article was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Remi Deve / More information on Monaco as a conference destination:

April 5, 2018

Associations and Data Management Plans

In social and scientific research, data are extremely important. Dealt with first as raw material, but then processed and analyzed by professionals in the framework of a research plan, they produce, in the end, knowledge. Associations – and not only of a scientific nature  –  generate a lot of data and today it is essential for them to handle, preserve and store most of it.

In practice, a Data Management Plan (DMP) summarizes the way in which researchers monitor their data over time, no matter their origin or type. Data can in fact come from a functional magnetic resonance apparatus or a particle generator, but can also contain texts, graphs, images, tables and so on.

In reality, some scientists, such as geneticists and astronomers, have used data-related methods for a long time, but, for others, they represent a novelty they now have to deal with. Geneticists, for example, can already count on over 70 metadata information systems, which can range from viruses to oncological images. However, each research community has its own metadata management system, as shows.

Open Science

DMPs are required to fully realize the so-called open science, whose aim is to make scientific research quickly available and as accessible as possible. Data retention makes it possible to reuse them, compare them and duplicate searches. It also prevents some from embarking on roads that have not led to concrete results.

In addition, when the amount of data is big, artificial intelligence can come in and deal with it much better than humans, especially in the medical field. Healthcare planners, providers and researchers are perfectly aware that the data they collect every day can be translated into valuable information for patients worldwide. Let’s just think, for instance, about the millions of mammograms that are processed everyday…

The fact is that US federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, but also the European Commission, require DMPs to obtain funding.  And it is actually requested not only to specify the way in which the data will be produced, but how they will be stored when the research project comes to an end. Those who do not provide open access to the information they have collected for reasons related perhaps to intellectual property or security must have adequate reasons.

Lack of information

The problem lies in the fact that many researchers are not informed thoroughly. A survey carried out last year among over 1,200 young European research fellows and PhD students shows that only a quarter of them had generated a DMP and another quarter did not even know what it was. Many complained about the poor support from the institutions to which they belonged.

Unfortunately, each scientific discipline produces – qualitatively and quantitatively – a big amount of data, so that the variety of DMPs that can be needed is very high. Clearly, a particle generator provides an enormous quantity of data, while an anthropologist typically produces less. There is also research of a conceptual nature, or of a theoretical nature, that do not require any DMP: it is simply impossible to preserve every source, even minimal, of information. A fundamental step, however, concerns the indication of who, after a research project is finished, will keep the data. Choosing a physical person will be unwise; a library will be more appropriate. But even in this case, since libraries do not store personal data, it is advisable to include the data in a specialized computer archive.

Sensitive Data

There is also the problem of sensitive data, especially the medical ones, more than ever vulnerable in our ‘big data’ era. A lot of companies accumulate personal data in order to resell them to third parties, allowing them to hone their marketing strategies or propaganda. These ‘gatherings’ of information are based on individual, demographic and geographical data. Those called “psychographic” are focused on behaviours and attitudes, and usually come from the illegal fishing from smartphones and social networks. Some agencies – as shown during the last presidential campaign in the US – even managed to collect data on voters. The aim was for them to tailor their messages, and, in the end, influence the election.

In this context, as some sensitive data can clearly be obtained in an illegal manner, many research institutions are looking for ways to control them. Trust protocols have been adopted that allow for transparent exchanges. And, to accelerate the acceptance of what some consider as being just another administrative burden, science professionals and research associations must work to streamline the process and to explain its benefits. Funders and institutions, then, must ensure that data management, and the basic skills of exercising it properly, becomes widespread.

Clearly, some steps are fundamental to producing a good DMP. Online help is available to develop a DMP that fits the requirements of the funding agency on the basis of the association field. Clear objectives about how the data will be archived will clarify the storage space and the formats needed. Other aspects to be touched upon include who will use and manage the data, how and when data will be shared with people outside the association.

We are all perfectly aware that technology can outpace its regulation. But we cannot be afraid of sharing and, at the same time control, the data we generate considering our codes of ethics.

This article was contributed by Franco Viviani, the former President of the International Council for Physical Activity and Fitness Research (ICPAFR) and a professor of Anthropology at the University of Padua, Italy.



April 1, 2018

In the Shoes of the Secretary General (Part II)

A member of Boardroom Advisory board, Mohamed Mezghani has been appointed Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) in January. Boardroom has asked him to contribute a monthly column in which he explains all about the challenges of holding such a position. This is Mohamed’s second contribution, in which he argues that it’s all about the members.


An association is by definition member-focused. It seems obvious. But actually the way members are involved differs from an association to the other. And hence the focus on members doesn’t have the same scope. The more I meet my peers in other associations the more I realise the diversity of approaches.

The specificity of associations is that their shareholders are their customers, i.e. the members. They govern the association, decide on the rules, membership fees and programmes, and then they produce and consume services. It means that they have to safeguard the general interest while assuming the consequence of their decisions at an individual level. There is a risk of conflict if the governance structure and bodies don’t reflect the diversity of membership. Therefore, it is important to have rules all members can follow equally.

There is also a risk that the Secretariat or the staff of the association takes the lead forgetting that their role is to facilitate and support members and not to decide on their behalf. In that regard, associations are not companies: the owner is the member and not the CEO. The challenge is to make sure members dedicate time and effort to run the association. Even if the Secretariat has the expertise and resources to prepare papers, carry out studies and develop services, the legitimacy of the association is brought by the number, quality and profile of its members. They have the practical experience, they are the ones taking risks to innovate in their businesses and to develop their market, and the peer-to-peer exchange is what makes the association credible.

The association offers them an often international network and the bigger picture that they generally miss in their day-to-day job. We help them open their horizon, take a step back from any daily issue they might face and make them stronger by relaying their voice and joining it to that of their peers.

In an increasingly digitalised and competitive word, it is key to find new ways of engaging with members besides physical meetings which, to this day, remain one of the main reasons why people join an association.

Digitalisation, in a way, forces us to progress quickly, allows shorten timelines for project delivery. Because of it, we have to be more agile and react to changes faster. If our members are used to new techniques in their daily activities they must find the equivalent in the association. We have to commit to achieving such objectives.

Members also expect transparency and accountability from those managing the association. This is a great opportunity for us because they feel more concerned and therefore will engage more. Let’s be frank, our satisfaction at work often depends greatly from the interaction we have with our members. We are in a people’s industry. The more people are engaged, the better we feel, and the stronger the association will be. And when dealing with people, we must develop a culture of service excellence to keep them satisfied. And this is only feasible with happy staff… But this will be the topic of one of my next contributions.

March 28, 2018

Tokyo Gears Up for the Future

With more than 37 million people living in greater Tokyo, the city is probably the largest metropolitan area in the world, giving it a bustling feel. As the 2020 Summer Olympic Games are approaching, Tokyo is growing even busier with preparations on its infrastructure, transportation and human resources. However, these plans are but a small part of what Tokyo is envisaging for the future in other sectors, building on the important groundwork it has already laid.

Looking at statistics, the city appears in the top 10 cities worldwide of almost every financial ranking. Half of all major Japanese corporations are headquartered here as well as 76% of foreign companies in Japan and almost all Japanese banks, making it a major economic player. Considering it as an academic hub, it boasts over 140 universities and 160 public and private research centres, especially in the medical field, with achievements like the use of 3D printers and robot engineering. It is no wonder that most pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers are based in the area.

A City with a Vision

But this restless city has a vision for further industrial and academic growth daring innovative projects. One example of this, pharmaceutical companies and research institutions have joined forces in the Nihombashi and Tokyo Station area in an effort to turn Tokyo into an international hub for life sciences and drug discovery. And it becomes more interesting when universities join this flow of progress giving birth to ventures which capitalize on their R&D capabilities, like developing biofuel using euglena, a type of algae. This vision could not leave out the latest trend in Japan, Monozukuri, namely sophisticated manufacturing by small to mid-sized businesses. In fact, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has launched the “Medicine Manufacturing Cooperation HUB Agency” to promote the development of medical devices, coupling technology with healthcare.

The business events industry is in the centre of this fever of development, since the capital of Japan offers quality convention venues working hand in hand with businesses and universities and supported by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. 5,000 seats, 34 meeting rooms and an exhibition hall are the numbers describing the enormous boat-shaped glass Tokyo International Forum, the city’s largest convention facility, followed by the International Convention Centre Pamir with a capacity of more than 3,600 people and the Prince Park Tower Tokyo offering a plenary space of also 3600 people. What is more, unique venues like theatres and museums as well as hotels have developed suitable convention facilities for any size of meeting.

Association Wins

The two airports, Haneda and Narita, are located in easy travelling distance from the city, while fast trains connect most of the surrounding areas. Furthermore, 96,000 hotel rooms in central Tokyo are available for all budgets.

Conventions like the International Bar Association Annual Meeting in 2014 with 6300 participants, the 25th Conference of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver in 2015 with 4200 participants or the IFHIMA Congress two years ago with 3500 participants are proof to Tokyo’s efficiency. Future congresses for the city include IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition this year and the International Congress of Nutrition in 2021.

This article was written by Vicky Koffa, Boardroom digital editor. For more information on Tokyo as a convention destination, visit