How a Venue Can Help Build the Capacity of Local Associations

July 23, 2019

How a Venue Can Help Build the Capacity of Local Associations

With the continued focus on the relevance of engagement and value creation to enhance the association journey, both from the organiser and delegate’s side, the role of congress centres and their responsibility as advocates, connectors and advisors has clearly evolved over the years, as argues Angeline van den Broecke, Director of Global Business Development and Marketing, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

When a global association starts thinking of choosing a destination and more specifically a venue to host an upcoming international congress some of the most obvious factors that influence the decision are venue availability, location, space, technical capabilities and pricing. These technical and commercial considerations have historically driven the purchaser/supplier relationship between associations and venue providers.

Another key factor that global associations have to consider when choosing a destination is the capacity and capability of the local association or host partner, to contribute to the success of the proposed event, particularly their ability to assist with supporting the organization of the event, contributing to content, delivering participants, and providing cultural communication support and an ease of doing business from a local context or perspective.

Building capacity through partnership

Recognizing the importance of the role associations play in advancing social and economic value, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre)in partnership with the national bureau Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) are investing in building the professional capacities of local association executives. Using their connections, resources, experience and knowledge this collaboration has led to them playing an active role in secretariat support to the Malaysian Society of Association Executives (MSAE)

This support role by the Centre in Malaysia, has assisted to highlight the important role association’s play as a vital business segment of the meetings industry and just how importance it is to invest in understanding the needs of associations beyond their meeting and event requirements.

Most recently, the Centre hosted an educational visit for AMC (Association Management Companies) Institute. As part of the programme the Centre, in collaboration with MyCEB, organised an Association Education & Knowledge Exchange session. Over 200 Malaysian stakeholders, including many national association executives, attended the event where five AMC Institute board members shared their invaluable knowledge and experience on six association-related topics. These included ‘Disruptions facing associations, ‘Engage membership and volunteers to thrive and survive’ and ‘Challenges facing associations in today’s environment’, to name a few.

Commenting on this the Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor, explains, “Convention centres are ideally placed as advocates, connectors and advisors. Our entire existence is based around facilitating knowledge transfer, so it is a natural extension for us to use our resources to help build the capacity and capability of local associations.

Sharing her experience AMC Institute Chief Executive Officer, Tina Wehmeir, CAE, CMP, says, “The level of maturity of associations varies from market to market and even within markets. While Malaysian associations may not be at the same level of development as those in the US, for example, what I did see in Kuala Lumpur is the right environment, enthusiasm and tools for them to build their capacity. Initiatives such our knowledge sharing session, facilitated by the Centre and MyCEB, play an important role in enhancing the capabilities of local associations, as well as triggering excitement and opening up new horizons such as running for international boards or hosting their association’s global meeting in Malaysia.”

Long-term commitment

Pryor continues: “We view our investment in developing local associations as part of long-term strategic objective to grow their capabilities. We feel that this partnership approach helps differentiate us from our competitors. Even if local associations go on to bid and host meetings in Malaysia that end up going to other venues, we see this as a positive and part of our ongoing contribution to the development and growth of the local business events industry and the country more generally – which benefits us all.”

An important contributor to the success of their capacity building work with local associations has been a commitment to the programme’s sustainability. The Centre has been working closely with Malaysian associations since it first opened in 2005 and for Pryor this has been a key part of its success. “Our focus on viewing associations as partners rather than clients has been part of our organisation philosophy since day one. We have built on this using our unique position to attract national, regional and international partners to share their expertise with Malaysian associations,” he adds.

In 2018 the Centre partnered to host the PCMA-ICESAP Knowledge Exchange Kuala Lumpur, which provided an avenue for business event professionals to explore how changing digital, political and economic climates can be effectively responded to, turning possible threats into unique opportunities. They also partnered to host the UIA (Union of International Associations) Associations Round Table Asia Pacific. These events were designed to promote engagement, advance professional development and provide a knowledge exchange platform and were well attended by local associations.

Pryor concludes: “We see the capacity building of our local associations as a long-term commitment. As key players in business events, venues such as ours have a lot to offer associations beyond our facilities. Convention centres are well-connected and perfectly positioned to help associations develop their full potential if a partnership mind-set is adopted on both sides.”

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

July 15, 2019

Growing with a Global Agenda

Who doesn’t know the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the international organization working in the field of the wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment? Just the name conjures up images of cause-driven individuals fighting against habitat loss, climate change, illegal trapping of endangered species… and the list goes on. What might be lesser known is the organization’s growth strategy, which has to take into account all kinds of local characteristics, as Sid Das, Director, Digital Engagement, WWF International, explains here.

The WWF is a global organization. How do you define ‘global’ in your case?

WWF came into existence in 1961. From its origins as a small group of committed wildlife enthusiasts, WWF has grown into one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations – supported by 5 million people and active in over 100 countries across five continents.

Over this time, WWF’s focus has evolved from localized efforts in favour of single species and individual habitats to an ambitious strategy to preserve biodiversity and achieve sustainable development across the globe.

From numerous initiatives, priority areas and priority species, the entire WWF Network focuses on six major goals – forests, oceans, wildlife, food, climate & energy, and freshwater– and three key drivers of environmental problems – markets, finance and governance. As a network, we organize ourselves around communities of practice with one for each goal and driver. We are becoming more focused and more targeted in our efforts while building on the interconnectedness of each of these issues within the global agenda. WWF aims to bring the weight of its unique local-to-global network to bear and drive these issues forward cohesively.

Can you explain your growth strategy to be even more global’ and what it implies?

Our mission is to ensure that people and nature thrive together. Our growth strategy is two-pronged. On one hand, we are looking to actively engage a billion people to care for nature. Nature not only provides us with all the things we need to live – from the air we breathe to the water we drink, and from the shelter we need, to the economy we rely on – but also makes our lives better. However, its growing loss puts this all under threat.

On the other hand, we are looking to get nature up the political agenda. The world needs to come together to set ambitious targets to reverse nature loss as it did for climate. We will have a tremendous opportunity to influence the future direction of some of the world’s most important policy instruments for sustainable development in the year 2020. We need policymakers to reset the agenda so that by 2030 the loss of nature starts to reverse.

What are your challenges as a global organization?

We are living in a time of unprecedented risk but also an unparalleled opportunity for the future of our planet and our society. A time where the world’s wildlife has halved in less than a generation; oceans, rivers and forests are struggling to cope with our growing pressure upon them; and where we are still on a path toward catastrophic climate change impacts.

As a global organization, our challenge is to balance local conservation priorities with the global agenda. We need to constantly align ourselves to the direction that is increasingly being set by governments, civil society and businesses. Additionally, the smooth flow of information between all of the offices in the world is something we put a lot of effort and emphasis toward. We choose innovative platforms like Facebook Workplace to ensure our employees and volunteers get all of the information they need.

Can you explain how you decide to locate regional offices and why?

We decide regional offices based on conservation needs. While we have ‘Network offices’ that focus on the conservation needs of a country, the regional offices look to bring countries together to weave a cohesive conservation strategy and its implementation. We also look at other factors like access to regional talent, attitude to environmental conservation amongst numerous other criteria. Currently, we have regional offices in Singapore, Woking, Nairobi and at our headquarters in Gland, Switzerland.

You’re based in Singapore. Why is that so? How does Singapore respond to the needs of your organization?

Singapore is at the forefront of conservation in Asia Pacific. The mission of WWF across the Asia Pacific is to ensure a future for both people and nature. WWF has been working to conserve Asia Pacific’s astonishing wealth of biodiversity for over four decades and has considerable experience in engaging with partners for conservation solutions that benefit people, economies and the environment. Singapore satisfies all of the criteria for WWF’s regional hub. We are able to liaise with teams around the region easily and have access to regional media, creative agencies, fantastic corporate partners and a wide pool of talent which truly helps us build a global organization.

This article, written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé, 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.

July 13, 2019

Making Good on Green Promises

Monaco is steadfastly stepping beyond its reputation as a playground for the rich and beautiful to take its rightful position as a leader in the global fight for a more sustainable and healthy planet. There is a storied and adventurous history behind its dedication to cleaner oceans and air, which is today available for all to see who enter the pristine seaside country.

Prince Albert II founded the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation immediately upon taking his role to support public and private projects including limiting greenhouse gas emissions, developing renewable energies, protecting biodiversity, managing water resources and combating desertification.

The government is leading the way with a strong whole-of-a-city approach – that includes the entire Monegasque society and visitors in the major energy transition – which means adopting new habits and evolving as a society.

“The Grimaldi Dynasty has always been very involved in studying the environment to better understand the link between humanity and the planet. It started with Prince Albert I, who is internationally acknowledged as the father of modern oceanography, in the early 20th century. He created the Oceanographic Institute in Paris, the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, and led many sea expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic region,” explains Olivier Wenden, managing director of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

The Foundation’s efforts stand out for their ambitious targets — the Principality will need to cut emissions four times faster than the current rate to achieve its goals — as well as a commitment to achieving them with practical initiatives. Monaco’s unique positioning is part of what makes it such a powerhouse in this area. Its sustainability efforts extend beyond the 2-km country itself; it has a global plan with a real sustainable vision.

“Monaco is one of the smallest countries in the world, but it has always been very open to the world, to the sea, to trade, and to different cultures. We are very blessed with our economic growth. The whole intention of the residents and government is to give back. It is a very natural path to follow, to give back not only for education, health, and society – but also the environment. We cover the whole scope of the environment in the [Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation] mission statement including the fight against climate change, the promotion of renewable energies, the protection of biodiversity at land and sea, and access to renewable water resources,” says Wenden.

Single-use plastic ban

Although Monaco’s efforts have a global impact, there are exacting measures being taken at home that even a first-time visitor will note.

Monaco banned the use of single-use plastic bags in 2019 and will ban the use of plastic straws, cutlery, and glasses from January 2020. It also became the first country to ban bluefin tuna from the Mediterranean after learning the species would become extinct within two years if action was not taken. Other countries involved in the International Union for Conservation of Nature refused to join, given the popularity of the rare fish.

“You have to understand the power of the market. We lost the case [to ban bluefin tuna among UN participants], but it caught the attention of media The EU started to raise quotes to better monitor fisheries and serious work was done with the fisherman in the region. The stocks are back after five years,” says Olivier.

Monaco also has one of the few marine-protected areas within its perimeter, which was formed in the 1970s. Only 3 percent of the Mediterranean is protected and 1.6 percent of that is due to principality’s efforts.

The Principality has also been actively engaged in the fight against climate change through the ratification of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and more recently the Paris agreement.   Its efforts have shown considerable results: It is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of 50 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Monaco has become a pioneer in the ‘ecological transition’ necessary for creating a world that people can live in and enjoy for generations to come. It is vital to note how the country’s efforts go far beyond the marketing initiatives and “greenwashing” that other destinations often prescribe to. It instead looks to involve every level of government, business, the local community and even visitors in reaching its ambitious but attainable goals through consistent change.

Across the whole supply chain

To further this deep commitment, the Monaco Convention Bureau launched a digital campaign this year to elevate awareness of its environmentally-conscious approach. The campaign’s tagline “Business is Green” helps to highlight the very tangible efforts happening across the principality and the environment that associations and business travelers can learn and interact with while there. There is a clear shift among business seeking cleaner and more responsible events that match their concerns around the environment, our planet’s sustainability, and their role within that transition.

The sustainability of Monaco and commitment to its efforts is one of the most important factors in drawing associations to its shores today.

The attraction to Monaco’s congress centre, the Grimaldi Forum, goes beyond the history, quality, affordability, stability and beauty of the destination. The venue has a strong sustainability policy where visitors seen the use of eco-friendly materials, photovoltaic panels on the rooftop, and sustainably-powered air conditioning at work. The majority of its 2,500 hotel rooms are certified by Green Globe, Green Key and Planet 21 by Accor, all while maintaining four and five-star quality of service.-

Visitors can dine at the first 100-percent organic Michelin star restaurant Elsa, enjoy a tour of the organic urban gardens run by Terre de Monaco, or take a tour of the green efforts taking place throughout Monaco. “As sustainability becomes more and more important to company’s strategies, either to their shareholders or customers, they make the move to Monaco,” concludes Wenden.

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

July 8, 2019

AIPC Conference Rejuvenated Thanks to New Format

There were a lot of expectations in Antwerp at the AIPC Annual Conference this year. Hosted by the Flanders Meeting and Convention Center – the ‘Room with a ZOO’ which played a key role in providing a wide range of distinctively different spaces, the event kept delegates engaged in new and varied environments and experiences – something that had not necessarily been the case in previous years.

AIPC, the international association of congress centres, represents a global network of over 190 centres in 64 countries with the active involvement of more than 1,000 management-level professionals worldwide. It encourages excellence in convention centre management, based on the diverse experience and expertise of its international representation. To do so, it is engaging in a variety of educational, research, networking and standards programs.

Its Annual Conference is part of those efforts to bring excellence in all areas of centre management: 2019 saw more than 150 delegates converge to Antwerp and its one-of-kind convention centre – it sits next to the city zoo, and is literally a stone’s throw from the train station – to tackle the overall theme of “Practical Strategies to Meet Changing Expectations”.

As usual, the Conference started by a keynote speech which put things into perspective. In that regard, Dr. Linda Yueh, a globally recognized economist and authority on trade issues, delivered a realistic picture of how current economic and geopolitical issues are re-shaping the business environment of centres. At the end, technology futurist Sophie Hackford shared her insights about the future implications of rapidly changing tech capabilities – and how these will accept meetings in general.

Innovative this year

What was really new this year is how the programme had delegates get to work. In that regard, the “BrainShare” session was developed as a unique opportunity for participants to address the challenges associated with growth, from scalability to resourcing and from accessing talent to resulting adaptations to business models and ecosystems. Developed Oscar Cerezales, it asked key questions in the context of immersion-scale orientation, with dedicated topic stations and discussion labs used to arrive at conclusions that were then merged to create an overall change strategy.

Of course, I, like the rest of the audience, was particularly interested in a session called ‘Insights from Key Clients’. After all, how associations and congress venues can work better together? What’s the overall experience of clients when it comes to convention centres around the world? Chantal Van Es, Head of Sibos, Isabelle Bardinet, CEO of the European Society of Cardiology, Kai Hattendorf, CEO of UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, and Jurriaen Sleijster, representing IAPCO, the international association of PCOs, all  shared their perspectives on change and evolution in the industry.

Chantal, for instance, explained that “our last conference took place at ICC Sydney, and they understood our needs like maybe no other venue before. Sibos is all about financial compliance, all about anti-money laundering, and all about cybersecurity, amongst other things. The goal is to bring people together and make them think about how to solve common challenges and that is what we’ve always tried to do with an event like ours. If convention centres understand what we want to achieve and they can be part of it, then it’s win-win situation. At Sibos, we see meetings as a premium service that’s becoming more and more rare: that’s why we have to provide one-of-a-kind experiences.”

More generally, Isabelle Bardinet pointed out that if we all must demonstrate our open-mindedness, flexibility and forward-thinkingness, by experimenting with meeting environments for instance, we must not forget the basics of conferences. “If the basics are taken care of – and believe me this is not always the case – we’ll be eager to do more and be open to new ideas and formats,” she said. “One thing is certain, tough: meeting and planning are fundamental pieces of what we do at the ESC. The more problems the world will unfortunately have, the more people will need to meet. Simply put: we’re going to keep meeting. Even if there is an economic downturn, we’re just going to adapt.”

Concluding on an event that delegates enjoyed, from the informal survey I made, AIPC President Aloysius Arlando said “This year’s Annual Conference was a significant departure from previous events – but that reflected the kinds of big industry changes we see happening around us. By using our own interactions at the conference to learn and grow as managers we are continuing a great AIPC tradition of sharing for mutual benefit – something we will only intensify as we grow into the future”. 

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

July 3, 2019

‘3 Ps’ of a Successful Secretariat

Reflecting from Manila, Octavio ‘Bobby’ Peralta, CEO & Founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE), highlights the three key pillars of purpose, performance and people when it comes to an efficient association secretariat.

I was going over my old office files during the weekend when I came upon a set of transparency presentation materials. Remember these filmy, clear sheets of cellulose acetate that you write on or print over texts or graphics and lay over an overhead projector? For the younger generation, you probably do not know what I am saying since you came into this world using Powerpoint as a presentation tool!

Today’s column, however, is not about presentation technologies nor techniques; it is about the content of the transparencies that I have uncovered. It was on how to successfully manage a secretariat organization and this is what I wish to share with you. Entitled, “The 3 P’s of a Successful Secretariat,” it highlights the three key pillars of purpose, performance and people.

The first “P”—purpose—is based on Peter Drucker’s definition of the purpose of business, which is “to create and retain customers.” In the context of an association, the customers (and in fact, its owners, too) are its members. The challenge of the secretariat, being the management/executive team of the association, is not only to recruit members, but also how to retain, engage and increase them. In essence: to build and sustain a community of believers and advocates to fulfill its purpose.

To grow and sustain membership, the secretariat has to perform and deliver demand-driven services to its members. This is the second “P”: performance. But mere “performing” is not enough in today’s world. The challenge is to come up with new and “refreshing” services that benefit members. As such, the secretariat has to act in Internet speed and do it with a passion to succeed. Not doing this will compromise the association’s ability to generate the necessary funding and continue achieving the association’s purpose. Performance, therefore, is essential to raising and accumulating financial resources.

The third “P”—people—is the lifeblood of the association. Without good, dedicated, and talented people, the secretariat will be unable to perform well and drift aimlessly. So the challenge is twofold: one, the drive for excellence of the secretariat staff must be sustained and, two, its ability to network and collaborate with others must also be nurtured. In short, people is the engine that drives the secretariat to perform and accomplish its purpose.

Although I must have written this piece decades ago, I believe this is still relevant today. These “3 Ps” remain as guideposts in my continuing work as an association executive at ADFIAP and at PCAAE.

Bobby Peralta is presently the Secretary General of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP), the focal point of 106 development banks and other financial institutions engaged in sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region. With over 25 years of experience as an association executive, Bobby Peralta is a long-standing member of and contributor to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the CEO & Founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE).




July 1, 2019

All Eyes on Dubai Association Conference 2019

How can the association community grow in a way that creates a positive impact on society? This is the key question the five-year-old Dubai Association Centre (DAC) aims to address in the second edition of the Dubai Association Conference, being held 9-10 December at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, the two-day conference will gather top association executives from around the world, as well as industry leaders, government representatives, and university faculties and students, to discuss how working together can “create an ecosystem for associations to prosper,”explains Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

“As Dubai continues to grow as a knowledge hub, associations have immense potential for driving growth in our rapidly transforming economy,” Kazim continues.“Along with being a catalyst for business opportunities within a thriving ecosystem, they have the power to fuel innovation and creativity, which ultimately contributes to the wellbeing of our communities and society.”

Creating true value

During the inaugural Dubai Association Conference held in December 2017, one of the major concerns expressed by associations and speakers was how their work and main activities are impacting global society and creating true value. This year’s theme, “The Societal Impact of Associations,” addresses this topic head-on and will offer deep dives into how associations can and should develop core strategies around sustainability and social impact in order to become key drivers of positive change. The conference will also touch on the value proposition of associations going beyond direct and indirect economic benefits—and how a community like the one growing in Dubai can help.

“Dubai has strengthened its reputation as a regional association hub in recent years, and global associations are fast realizing the attractive advantages and expansion opportunities that the emirate can offer them,” says Hassan Al Hashemi, vice president of international relations at Dubai Chamber. At the same time, Dubai is benefitting from the city’s fast-growing association community, as these organisations make a positive contribution to the economy and society by bringing with them best international practices, valuable expertise, and international events that support the emirate’s knowledge economy and enhance its long-term competitiveness.” 

To aid associations in developing a cohesive and systematic approach to creating large-scale impact, this year’s Dubai Association Conference will break down its programme into four pillars: Impact and Legacy — Key Concepts; Designing an Impact Management and Measurement Programme; Organizational Resilience and Foresighting; and The Art of Collaboration. Each session will explore at least one of these four areas of impact: Community Well-being, Business and Opportunities, Knowledge and Research, or Creativity and Innovation.

The host destination, Dubai, will act as a living case study for the subjects addressed during the conference, discussing how the association scene in the city has evolved since the inaugural 2017 conference, as well as the legacies the event left behind.

Dubai has been at the forefront of positioning associations within various sectors to ultimately achieve their highest potential,” says Mahir Julfar, senior vice president of venue services management at Dubai World Trade Centre.“Since its inception, the Dubai Association Conference has successfully bridged the gap between like-minded international and regional experts that share a combined passion for transformation, creativity and innovation.”

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.

“We’re honoured to have witnessed the evolution of education across industries through intercultural knowledge exchange, which in turn will make an impact on the city’s economy,” Julfar says.“We look forward to another edition of the Dubai Association Conference—one that will help businesses flourish, innovate and encourage key dialogue for those looking to explore business opportunities in the Middle East.”

Key Concepts of Impact & Legacy

With issues like the growing pressure to attract and maintain members, associations are questioning how to improve their value proposition to stakeholders. In the first pillar —Impact and Legacy – Key Concepts — a TED-style session will explore how associations can set themselves apart from competitive offers and understand and measure the positive social impacts their activities are leaving behind. Attendees will also analyse goals to create a 2030 strategy similar to the blueprint drafted by the UN in 2015, which pinpoints 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Experts will take this concept and adapt it to the association sector, showing how goals can be integrated into long-term strategy to create impactful business models that make the shift from being activity-driven to being motivated by the positive outcomes created for stakeholders. Attendees will hear first-hand how associations and stakeholders in Dubai are weaving some of these Sustainable Development Goals into their own strategy, in addition to how putting impact at the forefront of a business model can create new opportunities in terms of value sharing and growth.

While we only touched on the first pillar here, we will dive deeper into the conference’s three other pillars in upcoming issues of Boardroom, sharing more about the strategies and sessions that will help associations create more social value for both their members and their communities.

For further information regarding registration, please contact Mr. Junjie Si via or visit

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

June 24, 2019

Taiwan’s Record for Innovation Attracts International Conferences

Year after year Taiwan proves its value both to expats who voted the island as the best place to live and to meeting planners who recognise its value when hosting international conferences.

Enjoying one of the best public healthcare systems, high safety numbers and cost-effectiveness, Taiwan has made great strides in accessibility as well as infrastructure. Direct flights from around the globe give way to local transportation, where the high-speed train comes into play, and technologically advanced convention centres cover the needs of any type of business meeting—all under the wide umbrella of MEET TAIWAN.

Strong Science & Technology Presence

What gives the country a competitive edge for receiving business events is that Taiwan is now one of the region’s most dynamic economies, with industry specialties in IT, communications, semiconductors and bicycles.

As a matter of fact, the island remains among the world’s leading producers of the ICT industry via policies prioritising promotion of the local smart technology sector and involvement in projects like the Asian Silicon Valley Development Plan. Heavy government-driven and foreign investment assists Taiwan firms with venturing into full-of-potential areas like artificial intelligence, blockchain, fifth-generation telecommunication technology, gaming, Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual reality.

Bolstering such progress are the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, pictured) and the Institute for Information Industry (III). They provide platforms for digital transformation and have been integral during the establishment of several now internationally prominent companies, such as the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and United Microelectronics Corp.

Taiwan’s major advantage are its three science-based industrial parks: the Hsinchu Science Park in northern Taiwan, Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung, and Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan. These represent an educational base of operations for the country’s high-tech industries.

From manufacturing to R&D facilities, and a strong talent pool from top universities, the science parks provide all-inclusive services for companies, hence fortify stronger industry clusters throughout Taiwan. While the tech hardware produced in all three parks is of a varied assortment, each park has its own areas of specialty. The Hsinchu Science Park focuses on semiconductors and optoelectronics, the Central Taiwan Science Park on precision machinery and optoelectronics, and the Southern Taiwan Science Park on medical devices and green energy.

An Appealing Destination for ICT Conferences

Resulting from such progressive projects, like-minded conferences pile up in the list of events organised in Taiwan. COMPUTEX TAIPEI, the leading global ICT and IoT show, took place earlier this month in Taipei, attracting 42,495 international buyers from 171 countries. The five-day tradeshow connects businesses along industry supply chains and opens up infinite possibilities in the tech ecosystem. Taiwan is the centre of innovative applications driven by advancements in AI, IoT, and 5G, plus the technologies that process a massive amount of data and high-performance computing which will drive global growth of the sector in the future.

Web Conference 2020 is planned for April 20–24, when more than 60% of the world’s population will be connected. To be held in the Taipei International Convention Center (TICC) with an estimated attendance of 1,500 people, the conference will be hosted by Academia Sinica. Three keynote speakers and various research tracks, workshops, tutorials, a Ph.D. consortium, as well as several theme-based tracks will be introduced, such as AIoT (AI+IoT+5G), History of Web, The Intelligent Web, The Web Renovation, and The Asia Silicon Valley Plan. The event will bring together some of the most prominent and influential researchers, developers, policymakers, and thinkers in the areas of big data, artificial intelligence, healthcare, computer science, computational social science, public policy, law, and human rights.

In the same light, and the same year, Taipei City’s advanced technological connectivity attracted the IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM) to be held this coming December 7–11. Expecting over 2,000 scientific researchers and their proposals for program sessions to be held at the annual conference, the three-day conference will feature an extensive exchange of knowledge to provide users with information regarding high-speed, seamless and cost-effective global telecommunications services.

More information:

Organized by Bureau of Foreign Trade, MOEA / Taiwan External Trade Development Council / Ad. by Bureau of Foreign Trade, MOEA

This article was written by Boardroom Digital Editor Vicky KoffaThe right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

June 21, 2019

Mentoring: Low Tech, High Return

Giuseppe Marletta joined the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) in February this year. As a member of Boardroom Advisory Board, we have asked him to contribute a column on his experience as he goes about his new role. This is Giuseppe’s second contribution.

There is certainly no shortage of best practices for professionals these days, from adapting new technologies to managing stakeholders’ relationships. One, however, seems quaint: mentorship. Mentorship is the cultivation of a relationship, an extended conversation between two people. It requires no algorithms, complicated business plans, internal microsites, or considerations of spend.

But despite its low-tech status, mentorship is hugely important for an organisation’s health. Studies show that for instance lawyers who were guided in their career by a more experienced colleague are more self-sufficient, better versed in soft skills, and more likely to rise further in the ranks of the department. This is especially true for female and minority staff.

Mentors, in turn, not only have a better sense of their junior colleagues’ needs and strengths, but tend to operate in a much wider, cross-pollenating peer network.

Data and anecdotal evidence from the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), a global association of over 45,000 in-house lawyers in 85 countries, point to an uptick in the number of lawyers interested in a mentorship relationship, within or outside their company. To that end, ACC began a partnership with a nonprofit dedicated to mentorship “matchmaking,” in December of 2018. According toone of the founders, “In-house lawyers are looking for opportunities to connect with their peers, to learn from more seasoned colleagues, and also to give back to up and coming generations of experts. It’s an exciting yet challenging time to be an in-house counsel. Departments insource more work, regulations change rapidly, and the profession is focusing much more on business strategy and leadership skills. Mentoring and networking help in-house counsel looking to grow in their careers and bring new ideas to their companies.”. And the same trend can be identified in a number of professions and associations which are adopting mentoring as one of the drivers for talent development.

Nor are the mentor-mentee roles fixed.. Senior staff increasingly report interest in being mentored by younger staff, especially as technology and social mores change.

But what does mentoring look like, and how can professionals best take advantage of it? Elizabeth Colombo, corporate counsel at Konica Minolta, distinguishes between mentorship, coaching, and sponsoring. Mentoring is a relationship in which an experienced person guides and encourages a less experienced colleague, in or out of their department or organization. Mentorship is broad in scope, and usually informal. Coaching is a more active relationship, based on specific advice and feedback for a definite task. One mentors a new rising star, but coaches them in how to deal with the C-suite, or how to manage their teams.

Sponsorship is the least interactive of the three. It entails advocating for a junior colleague, making them more visible to leadership. It takes the least commitment from either party, but can be particularly effective for female and minority staff, underrepresented and often invisible to leadership.  Indeed, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) has identified mentoring as “instrumental in helping minority and women lawyers break through the glass ceiling.” It’s an important consideration for leadership, especially as companies begin to grapple with diversity.

Leaders set their organisation’s ethical tone, and not just through explicit policy decisions. It is the leaders’ reasonability to identify those staff who could benefit from mentorship; a formal program can be helpful, if not always practical for smaller groups. It is also the leaders’ duty to recognize these relationships as a crucial element of strategy – a tool for making an organisation more cohesive, better informed, and more diverse.

June 14, 2019

How to Appeal to the Next Generation

With Millennials entering the market and baby boomers exiting, it is more and more crucial for scientific associations to involve young physicians and facilitate an easy handover. Associations have to think about younger generations increasingly and to take action in a way that will deliver value to them. Association congresses are, for example, a great time to promote it.

But the increasing of the membership of young professionals is not enough, and should not be considered as an objective in itself. The challenge for associations is to engage the young generations as an active part of the association’s life, giving them direct responsibilities, creating volunteer opportunities, speaking their languages and answering their specific needs.

There are multiple ways of engaging the new generation, here are some best practices, taken from recent events.

The first example involves young physicians at the highest level, where decisions are made. For instance, you can create a “parallel young board” alongside the executive board, with a representative in the executive board and supporting the congress organisation with a focus on the needs of the younger generation.

Social Ambassadors & communication multipliers

Millennials were born with smartphones in their hands, so you can attract them if you are on social media and communicate with them consistently, with stories preferably. It is a great way for you to explain, for instance, why the association can be useful for their professional development.

Young delegates, in addition, can be involved as social ambassadors and contribute throughout the congress to post and share content and videos on social media. The young social media ambassadors can play a key role when it comes to finding the right action to engage younger generations… because they are perceived as spontaneous, trustworthy and eager to share their personal experience. The ambassadors do not use a standardised language, but they speak about an activity or event they attended, filtered by their own experience, adding a more tangible feature to the ‘content’ that is produced this way.

Also, the young professionals, who play the role of volunteer ambassadors during congresses or other initiatives, will consider the association as a body that takes them into consideration, thus develop a stronger sense of belonging and will easily become ambassadors of the association itself.

Dedicated sessions and networking

Meeting people, exchanging ideas, sharing opinions are always on top of the positive experiences people take home after a conference. Yes, it is important for everyone, but those who are younger are not always aware of that and they go to a conference or follow the association’s activities mainly to develop their own knowledge. That is, of course, one of the key objectives of the association, but networking is also important, and young delegates sometimes need help to network.

Dedicated sessions like speed-dating between young delegates and industry leaders, for example, are a powerful way to establish fruitful contacts. Or, since young physicians have their own specific needs and experiences to share, it is also useful to organise dedicated sessions for this age group. You can organise a “Young Evening” or provide dedicated masterclasses or practical courses where a senior expert is available to openly interact with a small group of young attendees. Or you can arrange parallel meetings giving the opportunity to have 15-minute informal chats with senior doctors in a lounge area for instance..

This article, whose full version will be available soon in the July issue of Boardroom, was provided by the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers, author Patrizia Semprebene Buongiorno, Vice President, AIM Group International ( IAPCO represents today 133 companies comprised of over 9,100 professional congress organisers, meeting planners and managers of international and national congresses, conventions and special events from 40 countries. /      

June 9, 2019

Geneva: Switzerland’s Space Centre

This September, around 2,000 participants from around the globe are anticipated to attend the European Science Planetary Congress (EPSC-DPS 2019), hosted at the Centre International de Conférences de Genève (CICG). Taking place every four years, the congress features oral and poster sessions, as well as workshops and panel discussions designed to facilitate interaction and discussion between participants on one broad theme: planetary science. Boardroom caught up with Stéphane Udry from the local organizing committee to hear why Geneva and the CICG (pictured) were selected and what they hope the event will achieve.

Why is Geneva an ideal host destination for the EPSC-DPS 2019?

The EPSC-DPS is organized jointly every four years by the European Society of Planetology (the “Europlanet Society,” which organizes the annual European Planetary Science Congress – EPSC) and the Planetary Science Division of the American Astronomical Society (DPS / AAS), and it alternates between the United States and Europe.

The 2019 congress is emblematic for Geneva and Switzerland for several reasons. First of all, Switzerland has made history in the realm of planetary sciences on several occasions. Two of the most remarkable instances relating to the congress are the Apollo 11 mission, which, in 1969, had been initiated by Professor Johannes Geiss of the University of Bern. The other took place in 1995 when Professor Michel Mayor and Dr. Didier Queloz of the University of Geneva detected a giant, gaseous planet that was the first extrasolar planet to be discovered around a star similar to the sun.

These two historical milestones have also marked the beginning of the current evolution of the field of planetary sciences, which aims to bring the exploratory activities of the solar system and the study of planetary (exo)systems closer together, especially when it comes to the potential to shelter life. We must take advantage of the detailed knowledge of the unique system in which we live, and of our new, more distant but statistical knowledge of other worlds out there. This is the goal of the National Research Center PlanetS, established by the Swiss government in 2014 (and co-directed by the universities of Berne and Geneva).

In terms of European infrastructures that support this kind of research, these activities are carried out within the framework of two major bodies related to astronomy: ESO (European Southern Observatory) for ground observation and ESA (European Space Agency) for space missions. In connection with these two organizations, Geneva occupies a preponderant place in the field of planetary sciences.

This is why the congress offers an excellent platform to showcase the scientific activities that are carried out in Switzerland and Geneva, particularly with the international organizations of the field. These organizations, both European (ESO, ESA) and American (NASA), support the congress and will actively participate in it.

Does CICG serve as an actual partner, as opposed to a service provider?

In order to organize a conference that brings together thousands of people, potentially from all over the world, it requires the implementation of a set of specific services and associated know-how. It’s not just about having rooms big enough to accommodate the participants—or enough of them to organize parallel sessions. It’s a delicate combination of logistical elements (security, AV, catering, etc.), access to public authorities, tourism professionals or the media, academic and educational features, etc. Often, the organizers are not professionals—this is definitely our case—and the intel and local help provided by the CICG are of paramount importance for the success of the event.

As a convention destination, what does Geneva offer associations?

Geneva is an internationally known city. Pair its global reputation with its attractive tourist attractions (such as the lake or mountains), and you’ll see why Geneva is so highly regarded around the world. The perception of Switzerland and Geneva of being clean, efficient and serious also instills confidence in the participants in terms of both safety and the quality of the congress.

For delegates like scientists, the presence of CERN in Geneva greatly increases the attractiveness of the city. I imagine it’s the same thing in the political field when it comes to the international organizations that are based here. Attendees come to Geneva for the congress, but they can take advantage of the trip by visiting institutions that are close to their own interests.

Last but not least, from a geographical point of view, the location of Geneva in the centre of Europe makes it easily accessible and encourages visits to neighbouring countries for delegates coming from far away. Another perk is how convenient transportation is to and from Geneva, whether you’re arriving by train or plane.

This interview was conducted by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé. More informationon CICG: / ; on Switzerland as a convention destination: / The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.