Meet in Switzerland’s Highest-Knowledge City

September 19, 2019

Meet in Switzerland’s Highest-Knowledge City

A congress city with a long tradition of hosting meetings of all sizes and formats, Davos is perhaps best known as the venue of the World Economic Forum, which gathers around 3,000 leading figures from the worlds of business, politics and science every year. As such, it has all the expertise and the capacity to host association events, as Professor Geoff Richards, Director, AO Research Institute Davos, can surely testify.

The highest-altitude city and the largest municipality in Switzerland in terms of surface area, Davos has since long been established as a congress, research and clinic destination. What was once only a health resort has developed into what is known today as Science City Davos. The knowledge accumulated here – primarily in the fields of natural science and medicine – has been passed on since the beginning of the 20thcentury.

In that regards, the AO Foundation leads the way in the treatment of trauma and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Founded in 1958 as a medically guided, not-for-profit organization led by an international group of surgeons, it has now a global network of over 200,000 healthcare professionals.

Knowledge sharing

Director of the AO Research Institute Davos, one of the four institutes of the AO Foundation, Professor Geoff Richards has been organizing the eCM Conferences for some time now. As the place where clinicians and industry meet, it brings together, by design, a rather limited number of participants (max 200) to ensure ample opportunities for knowledge sharing in basic, translational and clinical research. In this context, scientists of all kinds, including biologists, engineers and material experts, bring clinical problems to the table, consider industrial requirements of possible solutions and often initiate collaborative projects to answer these clinical problems.

“But our flagship congress is the one that the AO Foundation has been running every year in December since 1960 in Davos and since 1969 at Davos Congress Centre”, says Professor Richards. “It brings togetheraround 1,500 surgeons from different specialties, from craniomaxillofacial and spine to trauma and veterinary and now re-con (joint replacement). The Foundation is the biggest educator in this field in the world. We run numerous courses around the world every year: there were 832 educational events (courses, seminars and symposia) in 2018, plus 53 courses for operational room personnel (ORP) and our pinnacle courses are in Davos. Overall we taught around 61,000 surgeons and 2,400 ORP last year on operations skills and basic knowledge behind surgeries.”

Historically, because there was a need for a place to hold some advanced training courses in several fields, the Davos Congress Centre (pictured) was built in 1969, where the AO Foundation world flagship courses have run ever since and where the World Economic Forum has been held every year since 1971. As Davos progressively developed into an internationally known congress location, the Congress Centre was extended in 1979, and again in 1989 and 2010, to cope with an ever-increasing number of participants. Today, Davos Congress Centre has an overall capacity of 5,000 participants.

“With respect to holding a congress at Davos Congress Centre, nearly everything can be organized for you by Davos Congress and its PCO service, which is very convenient.” says Professor Richards. “Accommodation can be booked through their website, from budget hotels to all-stars facilities. In general, rates are cheaper than in the rest of Europe, and the quality is good. Davos Congress Centrecan cater to all needs from budget congresses to high-end events such as the World Economic Forum of course, which I personallyattend each year. The venue is really of top quality and its staff very flexible and professional. There are many rooms that can be used for parallel meetings and its large, lecture hall can accommodate up to 1,800 pax. I have just run my eCM congress on bone infection there, and it was flawless.”

More info on and on Switzerland: This article was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Remi Deve. The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.


September 16, 2019

A Brief Guide to Association Digitalization

Digitalization is already underway, so embracing it is not a matter of if, but instead of when and how. In this article, Frank M. Waechter takes a look at the most effective strategies and solutions that associations can use to achieve this.

According to the World Economic Forum, digitalization is one of the key disruptors of the 21st-century[1]. This process has caused profound changes in the way we interact and go about our lives, and has also transformed the nature of work and organizations. Ernst & Young suggests that the digital transformation is here to stay[2], and so it’s essential for associations to jump on board, embrace the digital mindset, and bring added value to their members – especially to new generations who are digital natives.

Should Your Association Go “All Digital”?

The first step to kick-start a digital transformation strategy is deciding what to implement, how to do it, and in which time frame. Although it might be tempting to go “all-in” on digital, this isn’t always practical or necessary. Implementation success rates seem to be rather low – under 30% according to the McKinsey survey[3].

On the other hand, those who are successful take an incremental approach to digitalization. Digital organizations don’t become so overnight, they work and rework their strategy until they are able to create new and stronger forms of engagement with their members. Therefore, it is wise to make gradual changes strategically, using carefully chosen digital tools to enhance existing and more traditional operational models.

Low-Cost, High Impact Solutions

Mindset is as important as tools when it comes to the digitalization of associations. The process starts with building digital skills into the association’s culture[4], bringing key stakeholders on board, and breaking down silos before going all out. You can achieve this with limited financial resources – it all starts with the right mindset and with the disposition to make small-scale changes that have a significant impact.

Free content analytics tools are an excellent place to start. These tools enable data-driven decision making, which forms the basis for digital strategy. With this anticipatory intelligence, you can discover which content drives interaction best and which digital technologies your members are already using. The information can be used to predict what your members need and to formulate digital marketing campaigns using the format and channels your members prefer.

For example, setting up an online community on a social media platform allows members to share and network 24/7 using tools with which they are already familiar. Some organizations, such as the Association for Clinical Research Professionals, have created their online community platforms[5], whereas others (like Trades Union Congress) offer their members online training in a webinar format[6], all through their website.

Another cost-effective tool is marketing automation. While not free, these software packages can save on labour costs and, at the same time, deliver highly targeted communications that reach the right person with the right message at the right time. Also, consider the products or services your association already offers and how can they be digitalized. With marketing automation, it is possible to segment members based on their interests and goals, and offer them tailored content.

Digital tools such as machine learning or artificial intelligence have enormous potential for success, and they don’t need to be costly. Chatbots can be quickly built on social media platforms and drive a conversational approach to member interaction. And since they can learn autonomously and become more accurate over time, they are a sound investment.

Other Opportunities

Conferences and events are other areas of opportunity. Event apps are replacing printedconference guides, making them more portable and user-friendly. Organisations like the National Association of College and University Business Officers are building membership value into their events using year-round, multi-event apps that not only deliver smooth registration, networking and personalized content but also engagement, interaction and intelligence[7].

Another example of how digitalization can strengthen the reach of events: BILD[8], a Toronto-based land management association, went paperless for its annual awards event. To do so, they implemented a CSP (content services platform), which bridges the gap between digital experience management (DxM) and content management. For the annual event, this move allowed members to submit and manage applications on a self-serve basis, reducing greatly time-related inefficiencies and risks of human error. Content management systems can be pricey, but there are affordable options too. In the beginning, association leaders may want to explore basic packages and solutions, making sure their features target the most important goals for a particular event.

The digitalization of associations is complex and multi-faceted, but its benefits outweigh the challenges. Taking a gradual approach to digital transformation can help your association remain competitive, future-focused and member-oriented. Start taking steps now to give your association a strategic advantage and establish it as a trusted leader in your field. It is never too late to become digitally aware and lead transformation successfully.

This article was provided by IAPCO, the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers, author Frank M. Waechter, founder and CEO of | Digital Marketing. IAPCO represents today 135 companies comprised of over 9,100 professional congress organizers, meeting planners and managers of international and national congresses, conventions and special events from 40 countries. \ \ The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.











September 10, 2019

Speaking the Language of Leadership

The inaugural AC Forum and Leading Centres of Europe (LCE) collaborative learning experience in July took the theme of the language of leadership, with delegates joining forces to improve their communication skills.

Clear, authentic communication is essential in the associations sector, so mastering how to get your message across effectively is a must – especially for those in leadership roles. The first AC Forum and Leading Centres of Europe (LCE) collaborative learning experience from 1-2 July united a small group of 20 members from both organisations to spend two days at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow honing their communication skills.

The event marked the culmination of months of planning and discussions between the two bodies, which started with a speculative phone call. “AC Forum was looking for new avenues to collaborate with industry partners. They contacted the SEC to discuss possible partnerships, and I suggested that the Leading Centres of Europe might be interested. After a number of exploratory conversations, we came up with the idea of a long-term partnership focused on a one or two-day educational event, with content that was of mutual benefit. By learning together, we build even greater industry insight from which we all benefit,” says Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales at the SEC.

Pink Elephant

The content of the inaugural event was designed to improve the performance of the individuals in both their business and personal lives through learning the ‘language of leadership’. Both organisations agreed the theme would offer value to their respective members, and would provide a strong start to their events partnership: “We wanted to have something that was beneficial for both the AC Forum members and the LCE attendees,” explains Carola van der Hoeff, Secretary of the AC Forum and COO & Congress Director at the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). For me it was a well-invested time to be with everyone – meeting my peers, networking, learning and reconnecting with all the members.

After arriving at the SEC Campus and checking into the on-site hotel, delegates enjoyed a brief welcome reception before getting down to business. Glasgow-based communications consultancy Pink Elephant, led the learning experience, beginning with an introduction to ‘the golden rules of communication’ – a set of rules with a purpose of helping those that use them to communicate effectively and with confidence, no matter what the situation. “The most important one for me was ‘get to the point quickly’ – within the first seven seconds of your communication ideally,” says van der Hoeff. “Also, eliminate ‘pink elephants’ from your communication. We learned that ‘pink elephants’ are unnecessary negatives,”she adds.

The second day of the event was all about delegates putting what they had learnt into action. Will Whitehorn, chairman of the SEC, kicked off the morning with an inspirational breakfast talk. In it he spoke about the value and importance of brand and innovation, drawing on his experience working with major brands including his time as president of Virgin Galactic and as a special advisor to Sir Richard Branson.

Delegates were split up into pairs – with one LCE representative and one AC Forum representative – and interviewed on pre-agreed scenarios relevant to their working environment, giving them the opportunity to practise their new skills. “They really had to trust each other to manage their way through the testing interviews,” says Warden. “It also helped to break down the sense of buyer and supplier – everyone was equal, and that felt like true partnership.”

The interviews were filmed, then played back in front of the whole group to be constructively analysed. “Being interviewed live, and filmed, and critiqued in front of your peers pushed everyone out of their comfort zone. And everyone rose to the challenge,” says Warden. By the second round of interviews all of the participants had improved their performance, demonstrating that new knowledge had been acquired and new skills had been developed. The whole exercise inspired ‘true learning’. “When you are out of your comfort zone, your primal instincts kick in – fight or flight – and flight was not an option. So everyone had to rise to the occasion and there was a great feeling of achievement from all of the participants,” says Warden.

Educational ambitions

The feedback from the first event has been extremely positive, from both sides of the table, as new skills, that will benefit the participants in their business as well as in their personal lives, were learnt collaboratively.

As Adrian Ott, President of the AC Forum, concludes: “The virtual world has developed extensively, and the format in which people want to learn has also changed. As an organisation, we want to link strategic and operational considerations together. Through this experience in Glasgow, AC Forum’s educational ambitions came a big step closer towards a natural synergy which fosters peer-to-peer education, innovation by sharing good practice, expanding thinking, and finally, neutrality by providing a forum free from commercial influence.”

Plans for the next event are already underway. In October, the collaborative learning experience will travel to Geneva, Lucerne, and Basel and has been specifically designed for senior-level association professionals, with the exception of a featured workshop on congress management geared towards junior members.In 2020, AC Forum and Leading Centres of Europe will organise another workshop in the city of Milan at MiCo MILANO.

This piece was written by Boardroom Editor Chantelle Dietz. The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.



September 5, 2019

Washington, DC: A Model for Sustainability Across the U.S.

Washington, DC has built a path towards greener living and meeting with more LEED-certified buildings than any other city in the U.S. and an accessible environment where every government building is powered by renewable energy. DC has become a leader in sustainability, helping its businesses reduce their carbon footprints and sharing a common vision for a sustainable planet.

A large talent pool is formed by so many like-minded companies in the area. Major domestic and international sustainable startups are here, such as Clean Choice Energy and Arcadia Power. Potential Energy DC is an incubator of 16 organizations dedicated to propelling energy and sustainability startups in DC, while the US Green Building Council, the creator of LEED certification, is headquartered in DC.

Washington, DC is committed to sustainable practices:

  • The Department of Energy and Environment is the authority on energy and environmental issues effecting DC and employs approximately 300 engineers, biologists, toxicologists, geologists and environmental specialists.
  • As one of the largest buildings in the nation’s capital, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center recognizes the importance of implementing sustainability initiatives with a color-coded recycling and waste minimization program, 100 percent paper products throughout the center, LED lighting and more, which you can explore here.
  • Washington, DC is part of the C40 initiative, a grouping of 90+ cities around the world dedicated to finding evidence-based and bold climate action solutions.
  • Mayor Muriel E. Bowser is a member of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

Washington, DC also happens to be a great place to host meetings without the use and added expense of a shuttle. With 40+ hotels within walking distance of the convention center, the ease of commuting within the city continues to add to DC’s appeal for business travelers.George Washington University’s research on walkability portrays DC as a model for other cities, with walkable urban places across all types of real estate development.Fifty-eight percent of commuter trips in DC are by bike, walking, or public transit (Buildings Magazine, 2017) and groups such as the American Geophysical Union, that hosted 28,000 attendees without using a shuttle at the 2018 fall meeting, are increasingly leveraging the city’s local sustainable transport options.

“DC is incredibly diverse, which matches our attendee base,” said Christine McEntee, executive director and CEO, American Geophysical Union. “Sustainability is so important to us. How great is it to be in a city that recently passed the nation’s first 100 percent renewable energy bill, Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act, which sets a mandate of 100% renewable energy by 2032?”

Washington, DC is where great minds gather for meetings in sustainability, but also technology, biotech/pharmaceutical, education, medical, transportation and government advocacy sectors. Meeting planners will find to the country’s leaders and lawmakers in DC, which benefit their attendees, sponsors and exhibitors alike.

Washington, DC’s landscape is ever-changing. The city is dedicated to developing initiatives and investing in new opportunities by adding to its strong industries with $11.2 billion in development, 15 hotels in the pipeline and many new and renovated special events venues in the works. The REACH at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is opening Sept. 7, adding 72,000 square feet of performance and events space, 130,000 square feet of landscaping and gardens, terrace seating for up to 1,600 people and a scenic walkway leading to nearby monuments and memorials.

This article is powered by Destination DC. To learn more green facts about Washington, DC and submit an RFP, visit us at You can also write to

September 4, 2019

Putting Expertise to Work

Holland’s network of thought-leaders play a vital role in helping attract international association events and enhancing the country’s reputation as a knowledge hub. They provide an essential link between not-for-profit organisations and convention bureaus or destination marketing organisations. Their areas of expertise may be widely different – from science to healthcare and education – but they all have a common goal: to share and exchange knowledge for the greater good. Boardroom Magazine meets four influential figures instrumental in winning bids for their cities.

Research in Mathematics Education

The Netherlands is a hotspot for education and pedagogy, with Utrecht boasting expertise in the field of mathematics. Utrecht University’s Freudenthal Group – named after the Jewish-German-born Dutch mathematician Hans Freudenthal – carries out research into the didactics of mathematics in early childhood education, primary education, special education, and vocational education.

One of its leading researchers Michiel Veldhuis, is also a member of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (ERME). He and his colleague, professor Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, saw the potential in bringing the association’s eleventh annual congress to Utrecht earlier this year. “The Netherlands, especially Utrecht University, has a long-standing experience in researching and designing mathematics education for which Freudenthal and his collaborators laid the foundation about half a century ago. Since then it has further developed as a strong research community with theoretically and practically relevant output,” he says.

Michiel Veldhuis

Confident Utrecht would provide a “fruitful academic environment for sharing knowledge” Van den Heuvel-Panhuizen and Veldhuis worked alongside the Utrecht Convention Bureau and professional conference organiser Congress by Design to prepare a bid. “After ten successful editions in other European countries, we hoped to be able to organise this prestigious meeting for the first time in this beautiful city in the heart of the Netherlands,” explains Veldhuis, who has a PhD in mathematics education.

Having successfully won the bid, they collaborated on setting a budget and sourcing venues for the conference sessions and gala dinner. The historic Dom Square was chosen as the focal point for the event, which took place from 6-10 February, welcoming 1,000 delegates. Plenary sessions were held in the Dom Church (St. Martin’s Cathedral), one of the oldest buildings in Utrecht, while parallel sessions for 34 thematic working groups were hosted in historical buildings surrounding Dom Square, all within 10 minutes’ walking distance.

A winning combination of location, setting and expertise is what won Utrecht the bid says Veldhuis: “One distinguishing factor for the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education choosing Utrecht was its central local in Europe. The city of Utrecht combines the tradition of the old historic buildings and canals and the new world architecture and infrastructure. Finally, a very important factor for choosing Utrecht is the high reputation of Utrecht University.”

Tuberculosis Foundation

Kitty Van Weezenbeek has a career in tuberculosis (TB) related organisations stretching back over 37 years. She started her career as a provincial TB officer in the Netherlands, moving on to hold leading positions at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, and the WHO Western Pacific regional office.

As executive director of KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation (KNVC) – the world’s leading TB expert organisation – she was responsible for attracting the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health to The Hague at the end of 2018. “Since KNCV’s headquarters are in The Hague and our organisation celebrated its 115 years anniversary in 2018, we decided to bid for the conference,”she explains.

Kitty Van Weezenbeek

KNCV had already established itself as a trusted partner of the event, having acted as a local host to the conference in 1932 and 1967, in Amsterdam. Van Weezenbeek was certain her foundation would make an excellent local host, prompting her to put in a bid with support from The Hague Convention Bureau. The conference’s organising team agreed and so the work to facilitate the network, introduce potential speakers and sponsors and identify suitable venues began.

“We worked together with the venues, the local authorities, including protocol departments for the presence of the Crown Princess of Japan, HIH Princess Kiko of Akishino, and Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, private sector partners, the Japanese Embassy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health,” reveals Van Weezenbeek.

The four-day event from 24-27 October attracted clinicians and public health workers, policymakers, researchers and advocates working to end the suffering caused by lung disease from 125 countries across the world – each presenting their own research findings. It specifically helped to generate more attention around TB in the Netherlands, which was amplified by some groundbreaking results in the field of childhood TB delivered by KNCV.

Van Weezenbeek says The Hague offered a unique and easily accessible setting for the conference: “The many direct flights to Schiphol [Airport] and the easy accessibility of The Hague to and from this airport was an important strength. The Hague is a relatively small city with excellent public transport, cosy restaurants and the seaside nearby.”

International AIDS Society

Physician-scientist Peter Reiss partnered with the International AIDS Society (IAS) to host the 22nd International Aids Conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam from 23-27 July last year. A professor of medicine at the Amsterdam University Medical Center (UMC) and a former governing board member of IAS, Reiss has been working as a HIV researcher since the early 80s and is an advocate for HIV and AIDS education, prevention and treatment.

As co-chair of the conference, he brought together key stakeholders from Amsterdam and the Netherlands to secure their support in raising as much awareness of the event as possible. “We needed to do this jointly, so we got a group of representatives together including key NGO’s, ministries and affected patient communities together,” he explains. “Because we are a relatively small city and country the lines between people are short, and you can make a lot happen by getting the key people round a table.”

Peter Reiss

Against the background of AIDS 2018 the Dutch government committed to setting aside a rather large €10m fund for HIV prevention and making antiviral drugs more accessible for vulnerable groups particularly in regions where the disease is continuing to spread such as Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and West and North Africa.

Reiss knew getting the local communities and other stakeholders involved in the build-up to the conference would play a major part in raising its profile. Two and a half years prior to the event he helped set up a planning group formed of various sub-committees responsible for overseeing a plethora of complementary events, alongside those directly organised by AIDS 2018. “We kept an inventory of ideas and logged what people were working on so we could bring that information together and communicate it centrally so our delegates knew what was going on. It was also a great way to prepare the country for what was going to happen,”he explains.

Reflecting on the conference, Reiss says it was this collaborative approach that made it such a success: “I’d like to see the same model we used for AIDS 2018 applied to events for other life-threatening conditions, like diabetes for instance. But to make it work all parties, including the local community, need to get behind it.”

Patient-centered care

Professor Jan Hazelzet is the clinical lead of the Value Based Health Care (VBHC) programme – a healthcare model focused on patient-centered care – at Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC) in Rotterdam. “The topic of VBHC is becoming more and more popular and important from clinical, economical, and policy perspective,” he explains. “My research is focused on the added value of our care to patients and exploring what are the outcomes that really matter to patients in relation to the costs and energy needed to achieve this.”

Hazelzet is also one of Rotterdam’s official knowledge ambassadors, having previously helped to bring association events for the city. This network of ambassadors helps to promote Rotterdam as an attractive congress destination and was established by the Rotterdam Partners Convention Bureau. It encompasses 87 academics, researchers and other experts connected to the Rotterdam region.

Jan Hazelzet

It was through his research into the VBHC sector that Hazelzet was able to persuade the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM) to host its 2019 conference in the city from 2-3 May this year, bringing 1,250 delegates. “ICHOM is heavily involved in VBHC – it’s their reason for existence. Erasmus MC was their first strategic partner. Since the Netherlands are front runners in this field, it made sense to try host the ICHOM congress in the Netherlands, and in Rotterdam in particular,” he says.

With support from the Erasmus Congress Organization Center and
– the city’s convention bureau – Hazelzet secured the event without having to enter into a formal bid process. He and Rotterdam Partners then worked together to book the conference venue, source speakers and provide accommodation. “Everybody is still talking about the Rotterdam ICHOM conference and the far majority of the 1,250 participants were very happy and enthusiastic about the congress facilities,” says Hazelzet.

He is full of praise for his city as a host for association events: “We have excellent congress facilities and hotels centrally located, no-nonsense mentality, efficiency, a modern image and architecture, moderate prices, excellent international access and of course Rotterdam Partners with their pleasant efficacy.”

Contact – This piece was written by Boardroom editor Chantelle DietzThe right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.



September 3, 2019

An Industrial Revolution in Nantes

The International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) define the 4th Industrial Revolution as the convergence of digital technologies (such as Big Data or the Internet of Things), biotechnologies and the physics of the infinitely small. And this is precisely what they will talk about at La Cité Nantes Congress Centre, who will host their 36th World Conference (IASP2019). The great promises of this revolution are to seduce consumers with unique and personalized products, as explains IASP consulting director Jean-François Balducchi, from Atlanpole, the science-based business incubator for the whole region Pays de la Loire.

What kind of role has Atlanpole played in Nantes’ candidacy for the hosting of IASP2019?

Back in 2017, Atlanpole initiated the candidacy of Nantes at the IASP World Conference in Istanbul. Competition from other global destinations was fierce, and we chose to highlight the strengths of the Nantes Saint Nazaire Metropolis and, more broadly, the Greater Western Region of France – and France as a whole. The challenge was taken up across the whole shareholders chain, including Nantes Métropole, the Pays de la Loire Region, the University of Nantes, the Chamber of Commerce, etc., who followed and encouraged us from the very start.

In addition, as the IASP from 2014 to 2016, I had every intention to bring this conference to our shores. So I waited for the right opportunity to apply. This win is the confirmation that Nantes is recognized for its virtuous innovation ecosystem. The region has undeniable assets in the field of the industry of the future, with the competitiveness cluster EMC2, the French industrial cluster dedicated to advanced manufacturing technologies, the IRT Jules Verne, the French Institute for Technology, or Atlanpole Biotherapies which focuses on the health of the future. So many strengths that will allow us to best address the main theme of our conference: the 4thIndustrial Revolution.

To what extent are Nantes and La Cité the ideal venues for this event?

La Cité Nantes Congress Centre has been our privileged partner for 30 years, we’ve been working together on different types of events for a long time – and always with successful results. Ideally located in the heart of the city, it is very accessible from Paris, and thus from all major European capitals and beyond. We also like their commitment to CSR in general, and how they approach events in environment-friendly terms. La Cité’s infrastructure makes it possible to organize our world conference in the best conditions. Their professional teams provide bespoke services which guarantee a flawless execution of events in general.

More broadly, Nantes was labeled the European Green Capital in 2013, and it has many advantages outside the quality of life. It’s a dynamic, green, innovative city which delegates can easily enjoy after a hard day’s work at a conference.

What kind of support did you receive exactly?

From the very start of the bidding process in 2017,the teams of La Cité were quite keen for us to win IASP2019. They really acted as our partners in this, providing all kind of support. We of course rent their spaces, along some dedicated technical support, but what we like the most is that they also guarantee a permanent follow-up of our project, by putting an account manager as well as a production manager at your disposal. That makes the execution of the event very smooth to say the least.

This piece was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Remi Deve.. The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.



August 31, 2019

The Green Goals of Nancy

France has long been a pioneer protecting the planet with environmentally friendly practices. Nancy in particular is stepping up on the sustainable scene and emerging as a premier locale for green meetings. The French capital of Art Nouveau — and capital of the Duchy of Lorraine — has made sustainable development one of its core missions, with the city convention bureau, DESTINATION NANCY, working hard to obtain the ISO 20121 certification, which was renewed this year.

It’s not news that events take a heavy toll on our resources, society and the environment, sometimes generating significant waste and occasionally even igniting tensions with local communities. This is how the international standard ISO 20121 was born, guaranteeing best practices in sustainable event management and promoting the motto that every action counts, whether that be tap water vs. plastic bottles or taking public transport instead of private transfers. Thanks to initiatives like ISO 20121, Nancy is now making a name for itself as a responsible business events destination.

The proof sits in the center of the city, where you’ll find the Prouvé Convention Center, which can accommodate up to 2,400 people. A roof comprised of 1,000 sqm of solar panels, bees and honey, a trained staff with an environmentally responsible attitude throughout the entire event process, and an overall policy of sustainable development are just a few of the green credentials to brag about. But take a look at the Nancy Exhibition Centre, with a capacity of 4,900, and you’ll be just as impressed.

Green initiatives

The trend toward green initiatives has tricked through the city, with DESTINATION NANCY working hard to combat food waste, earning a Special Sustainable Development award by France Congrès et Evénements last April as a sign of its success. Another area the convention bureau is honing in on is responsible purchasing: 100% of what Nancy sells and buys, whether it be a service or a product, has a CSR component to it. And, for the past three years, DESTINATION NANCY has worked attentively on waste management via a comprehensive food rescue and redistribution programme co-organized with a local association.

All of these elements are placed into a broader context in Nancy’s ‘welcome pack’ (pacte d’accueil) for major events. For associations choosing Nancy for their next conference, they will be hosted by a city and a greater region that places sustainability and care for its people—as well as the environment—at the forefront. In fact, the city developed a whole green ecosystem, or “EcoQuartier,” in 2009 with help from the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Accommodation. In this pedestrian-friendly zone developed around the train station, the quality of life has been significantly improved for residents and visitors like conference attendees.

Next step on the horizon: Nancy aims to become an international green destination like a handful of its French counterparts, working within the confines of a programme launched by France Congrès et Evénements, with the support of Green Evénements and the G7 General Secretariat (only 9 destinations in France are now engaged in this approach). At the rate the city is establishing its green footprint, it’s no doubt Nancy will soon make its presence known around the globe as a hub for green events in Europe.

This piece was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Remi Deve.. The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.



August 31, 2019

Medical Success in the South of France

Located at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur region is not only an easily accessible destination, it also boasts 300 days of sunshine per year, rich culture and UNESCO-listed heritage sites. A key player in life sciences, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region has been attracting the attention of European and international associations with its dynamic medical ecosystem that promotes opportunities in a variety of different ways.

In France, Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur ranks second in terms of patent filing and boasts more than 170 health and life sciences research laboratories. The region specializes particularly on research topics such as infectiology (infectious disease), immunology, oncology, neuroscience and ophthalmology, looking at these topics not only on a national level but on a European one as well. Four regional universities—Aix-Marseille, Avignon, Nice Sophia-Antipolis, South Toulon Var—as well as competitive clusters such as Marseille-based Eurobiomed with more than 280 members specialising indrugs, diagnostics, implantable medical devices, and e-health, fuel the region’s strong research network.

The South of France also offers plenty of opportunities for sponsorships. The region is a well-trusted and competitive destination for many companies in the pharmaceutical and AI industry but also in the management of big data, digital biology and medical imaging, with some leaders headquartered in the region.  As a getaway to the EMEA region, Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur has become a worldwide leader in the hosting of large medical events, which attract on average 20% more participants than anywhere else.

No surprise

It comes as no surprise, then, that Cannes (pictured), Marseille, Nice and Toulon continue to draw more medical congresses each year that comply with the guidelines of the MedTech Europe Code of Ethical Business Practice, which regulate all aspects of the industry’s relationship with healthcare professionals and healthcare organisations. Forthcoming examples include the Congress of the French Society of Vascular Medicine in Cannes (1,000 delegates); the European Macrophage and Dendritic Cell Society Convention (2,500 delegates) and the European Public Health Conference (2,000 delegates) in Marseille; theEuropean Congress of Pathology (2,500 delegates) and the Movement Disorder Society Congress (4,500 delegates) in Nice; and the conference of the French Society of Emergency (400 delegates) in Toulon.

In response,

the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regional authority launched the ‘Attract Congresses and Events’ regional programme, aimed to improve the bidding and hosting experience for large international events. Designed to financially support events of a structural nature in sectors of excellence, such and healthcare, the aim is to generate substantial spin-offs in terms of economics and image. Eligible congresses and conferences include those that combine over 800 nights. The programme is managed by Provence Côte d’Azur Events, the regional convention bureau.

One prime example is the NeuroFrance, which was organised by the French Neuroscience Society in Marseille in May. The region’s “Attract Congresses & Events” programme was a major factor in the organiser’s decision to host the event in the South of France.“The importance of the local community in neuroscience, the commitment of the South of France in the areas of research and health and the attractiveness of the city of Marseille were decisive elements in the selection of this destination for the 14th edition of our biennial conference,” explains Lydia Kerkerian-Le Goff, President of the French Neuroscience Society.“All in all, it was an easy process, and we would like to thank all our partners for their support of the project.”

Contact: / / This piece was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Remi Deve.. The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.



August 28, 2019

A Global Focus with a Strategic Plan

Given the fact that BICSI’s Vision Statement is to be “the worldwide preeminent source of information, education and knowledge assessment for the constantly evolving information and communications technology community,” it’s easy to see why the organization would call itself a truly global association. In this particular case, being global is the direct result of a clear, planned strategy, as explains Paul Weintraub, CAE, Vice President of Global Development & Support at BICSI.

Expanding any association globally is a big step that requires careful preparation. In order for the expansion to be successful, it is critically important to develop a thorough plan including objectives, market situation, entry strategy, financial and ROI analysis, goals and measurement. All this is very hard work, yet it comes with great opportunities for growth, such as getting and retaining new members, brand awareness, new products and services, and the possibility of making your organization truly competitive.

Avdvancing knowledge

With membership spanning nearly 100 countries, a satellite office in Dubai and affiliate offices in Tokyo and Melbourne, BICSI, whose purpose is to advance the knowledge and success of its members, their customers and the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, has become global surely and rapidly.

“As with any organization, the journey toward becoming a global entity has not been without its challenges, though” says Paul Weintraub. “Language barriers, time zone differences, pricing, and other high-level considerations all require thought and strategy to determine best practices and courses of action when expanding your reach globally. BICSI has approached its entry into global markets by making global a focus of our Board of Directors’ Strategic Plan; creating a task force to determine where to focus our efforts; and developing objective decision matrices and a weighted point system to take a fact-based approach to global expansion.”

Establishing a satellite office in Dubai has given BICSI the ability to better service its members and stakeholders who operate on a completely different time schedule from Florida, where the organization is headquartered. “That includes Africa, Europe and, of course, the Middle East,”explains Paul. “Having support from the Dubai office means customers can call and speak with someone who can assist them during their normal business hours. It also means that BICSI staff are more “local” to them and more attuned to global concerns, such as differing communication styles, cultural nuances, and the process of relationship building. We have found that opening the Dubai office and having affiliate offices in Japan and Australia, has given BICSI a more global face and local reach.” 

In Dubai in particular, DAC, the Dubai Association Centre, has been an indispensable resource in providing local market and cultural insight and “boots on the ground” to BICSI’s expansion in the Middle East. “DAC provided support and a clear, easy-to-understand process we followed when opening our office in Dubai. From there, they provided the required handholding to get things done locally like opening a bank account and establishing mobile telephone accounts, all the way to recruiting and managing of local staff,” says Weintraub.

The Dubai Association Centre was formed in 2014 as a joint initiative of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) as a “response to the surge in the demand for association engagement in the UAE and the Middle East.” Now, more than 60 associations fall under DAC’s umbrella, which acts as a platform for dialogue and education for associations interested in expanding their presence and activities in the Middle East.

Increased demand

There’s no doubt that, if executed properly, globalization can bring your association many benefits, the first and most obvious being getting access to a much larger base of members and partipants for your events. If your services are proven added values, you can enjoy increased revenues while at the same time helping an exponentially greater number of people find the answers to the questions or challenges your association helps solve, this way improving your reputation.

In BICSI’s case, because information and communications technology (ICT) is everywhere, there is an increased demand for product design and that’s where the organization’s added values lie. “There is an ongoing – and even rising – need for skilled digital infrastructure designers and installers experienced in Smart Cities and Buildings, Data Centres and Cloud Computing, 5G Cabling Systems, IoT and such are needed more.” says Paul Weintraub. “BICSI trains and certifies ICT/ELV professionals using BICSI standards and best practices that are recognized worldwide and included in many tender and design documents for a variety of commercial buildings and projects including airports and stadiums.”

And when asked for a piece of advice he would give anassociation wanting to ‘internationalize’ itself, Wintraub concludes: First and foremost, determine exactly why your association wants to expand globally and what the opportunity cost may be of not doing so. Make sure you gain Board support, and have a global focus included in the Strategic Plan. Remain objective, using decision-making tools including a SWOT Analysis, a points-based and weighted decision matrix, and a lot of fact-based research. Staff should spend time in the region of expansion and learn the local way of doing business. It also greatly helps to have enthusiastic volunteers willing to lend a helping hand in the regions into which you are expanding.”

This piece, written by Boardroom Chief Editor Remi Deve, is part of the exclusive partnership between Boardroom and the Global Association Hubs Partnership (GAHP), which comes as an innovative response to the increasing decentralisation of international associations, as they look to develop their activities globally. www.associationhubs.orgThe right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.



August 27, 2019

Stepping into a Thriving PCO Scene

Out of 130 agencies across the world that are members of International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO), Hamburg is home to four Professional Congress Organisers (PCOs)—INTERPLAN, CPO HANSER SERVICE, Conference Partners International and MCI—a pretty big deal for Germany’s second-largest city.

Often referred to as the gateway to the world, Hamburg boasts a centuries-old relationship with the Far East (China and Japan in particular), as well as the Baltic, serving as the German or European headquarters for many international businesses. Couple these factors with its role as one of the most important reloading points and ports in global trade and the third largest civil aviation location in the world and it’s no surprise that the green waterside metropolis, perched on the shores of the Elbe—Germany’s second-largest river—has emerged as a meetings mecca, where over 60,000 events and more than two million participants congregate annually.

The rising number of Hamburg’s PCOs—including this year’s newcomers, Conference Partners International (CPI) and MCI Hamburg—show the city’s steady development, growth of facilities, and economic strength, in addition to giving customers the opportunity to “draw on the know-how of four first-class PCOs in Hamburg for planning, realization and successful conduct of their events at the new Congress Center Hamburg,” explains Heike Mahmoud, Chief Operating Officer – Congress Center Hamburg (CCH) (pictured).“This quartet of expert organizations puts us even more closely in touch with the latest trends and innovations in the meetings industry. They are an enrichment for our city, and above all for prospective and naturally also existing customers.”

Growth Strategy

MCI’s new partner, “Wolf trifft Jäger,” will help shape the agency’s North German launch, and their new office in Hamburg and the CCH will “enable us to continue successfully with our sound growth strategy and to enhance our agency profile,”says Andreas Laube, CEO MCI Deutschland GmbH.“The new CCH will be an ideal conference centre for the vibrant city of Hamburg, and its new spaces and technical facilities will give plenty of opportunities for the systematic and successful development of the ‘congress of the future.’”

The new Congress Center Hamburg is a little less than a year from opening, but the city is already receiving a slew of event bookings in anticipation of the new venue—which hopes to attract even more international clients to Hamburg. CCH will sit in the heart of the city, a few steps from the Dammtor train station and just an S-Bahn ride away from the airport. When completed in 2020, the congress centre will measure 36,000 square metres in total and feature 50 conference rooms offering over 12,000 seats for attendees—making it among the largest on the continent.

According to Jaime Bennett, Sales & Marketing Director CPI, the opening of CCH will be a huge boost for business, adding to Hamburg’s overall attractiveness as a congress destination.“Hamburg has some of the best features you could expect from any city – from outstanding event venues to an outstanding cultural scene,” says Jaime Bennett, Sales & Marketing Director CPI, who adds that this will be CPI’s first German outlet in Hamburg. “Having this conference centre right on our doorstep means we can encourage our regular clients to hold more international conferences in Hamburg.”

This article was written by Boardroom editor Lane Nieset.  The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.