Legacies of Medical Meetings and Alignment to the UNSDG’s

December 7, 2019

Legacies of Medical Meetings and Alignment to the UNSDG’s

IBTM World held its inaugural Policy and Practice Forum in Barcelona last month where industry leaders challenged conventional thinking regards political engagement. One leading medical association revealed its mission-led engagement projects which could change the RFP/bidding process for ever if other associations follow suit. And JMIC President, Kai Hattendorf, warns against ignoring the social and economic pillars of sustainable development in favour of the current trend towards industry impact on ecology and the environment.

From our partners at The Iceberg.

Legacies of Medical Meetings and Alignment to the UNSDG`s from Fred Productions Ltd. on Vimeo.

November 26, 2019

A Handbook for Achieving Actual Legacy Impacts

Denmark has brought together its four largest meetings cities and recently launched a new report on how to make international conventions more impactful for both associations and destinations. Boardroom met with Bettina Reventlow-Mourier, Deputy Convention Director at Wonderful Copenhagen, and Allan Tambo Christiansen, Head of Conventions at VisitAarhus, to learn more about the MeetDenmark report, the study and the new project.

When asked what inspired the study to begin with, Bettina explained that the Danish team went through 500 publications globally on this topic only to realize that “there was a lot of information out there on what outreach and legacy means to different destinations and associations. We wanted to see what it means for us and how we could collect all the scattered legacy-driving pieces under one guidebook.”

 Under the name of MeetDenmark, the four convention bureaus (Wonderful Copenhagen, Visit Aarhus, Visit Aalborg and Inspiring Denmark) together with international consultancy Gaining Edge, 21 associations of diverse fields were interviewed on not only what they expect from their delegates but also what they need from a destination. In the same way, 20 destinations were asked about their expectations from an association and an overlap was sought as to what they both agree on.

Some of the report’s key findings show that while most associations and destinations are aware of meeting legacies, they have differing views and no consistent practices. Also, there is limited ongoing measurement of meeting outcomes and legacy impacts by both. In a world where outreach and legacy are getting a lot more attention, the report comes to paint the global picture of the challenges that should be addressed in order for the desired legacy outcome to be achieved.

In actual practice, outreach activities should lead to short-term meeting outcomes and goals which will then result in long-term legacy impacts. However, Bettina says, “when discussing a legacy program with an association, you need to start at the other end. So we are developing a workshop model not only for Danish stakeholders, but also for international associations, in order to find common ground for the optimal strategic planning of a congress.”

 Based on the findings, the report includes different outreach activities grouped by diverse legacy impact goals, local stakeholders to be matched, success drivers and necessary funding options. And it goes even further as it presents select case studies of best practices in outreach from around the world and five business cases in the form of benefits to meeting planners, government funders and sponsors.

Recognizing the importance and potential of the outreach study, the Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs has decided to support a new MeetDenmark project financially with DKK 2.2 million. Thanks to this grant, MeetDenmark will be able to test different outreach approaches and measure impact for both destinations and associations at nine different congresses held across Denmark in the coming two years. The world’s largest offshore wind energy conference, WindEurope Offshore (Copenhagen 26-28 November 2019) -– is one of these congresses.

The plan is to further strengthen the current legacy programme and the framework for achieving the outcome, impact and legacy goals of the international associations, the delegates and the local stakeholders. Bettina concludes: “Our job is to match the right stakeholders with the associations and the destinations, identify the common ground in the desired short- and long-term outcomes and provide a guided path as to the ways these can be reached through various outreach activities. Through this process we can claim successful socioeconomic change.”

 

This article was written by Boardroom Digital Editor Vicky Koffa. The right to use it, in parts or fully, has to be granted by the Publisher.

 

November 15, 2019

Creating Lasting Legacy in Kathmandu

Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal tucked in the Himalayas, isn’t your typical conference destination. It’s not as easy to fly to Kathmandu as Brussels or Barcelona; air connections are limited and usually require a stop in the Middle East or Asia. Hotels and local suppliers are another concern. But the Reproductive Health Supplies coalition (RHSC) gladly accepted these logistical challenges when planning the 19th RHSC General Membership Meeting 2019 in March. The four-day event brought together 300 reproductive health experts and more than 60 speakers from around the world, leaving a major a legacy on the local community by involving local speakers and attendees.

“This event confirms the high potential that scientific events can have for the shareholders community and how events can benefit from the connection with the destination in terms of contents richness and originality, image and attendees’ experience,” explains Patrizia Semprebene Buongiorno, vice president AIM Group International, which helped organise the meeting for the fourth time.

One of the main objectives of the meeting was to involve the local community in order to increase access to a larger selection of safe and modern contraceptive methods in low- and middle-income countries. Six local non-profits—including USAID NepalUNFPASafe Motherhood Network Federation Nepal and Radha PaudelFoundation—as well as local experts and politicians, like the Secretary of Nepal Ministry of Health and Population (who opened the plenary), were brought into the discussion throughout the event. As a way to share some of the practices taking place on the ground in the community, the RHSC team arranged field visits to healthcare centres and non-governmental organisations, like the Youth Center Information Kathmandu and Marie Stopes Youth Centre Putalisadak.

“The RHSC Meeting held in Kathmandu has been realised with this vision and was effectively able to involve local associations, politicians, professionals and providers giving them a unique and rare opportunity to meet internationals experts and have access to the state-of-the-art products and discussions about reproductive health,” says Buongiorno.

Ties were strengthened with the local community by offering congress bags made by local artisans, morning yoga sessions in the garden led by a local yogi, and local handicrafts and traditions. “Aside from the different time zone, weak land lines, finding a stable Wi-Fi provider and dodgy power lines, we always had to double check that local providers understood and carried out what was agreed,” explains Lisa Stern, project manager, AIM Group Vienna Office. “That being said, the Nepalese people are really friendly, their hospitality culture is amazing, and the local providers were enthusiastic about working for an international conference and with a PCO like AIM Group, so they did their very best, which was evident in the success of the conference.”

Interactive sessions featuring round table discussions, workshops and games helped add an informal air to complement the creative social programme that encouraged member networking and new collaborations. In fact, 85 percent of participants said they established a new contact.

“The impact meetings can have on destinations and local communities is really wide, at different levels. The knowledge or skills transfer, the sharing of scientific and healthcare advancements with local professionals, the empowerment of young people or women in developing countries, the involvement of politic leaders, are all important legacies,” says Buongiorno. “It’s about how events can leave a concrete contribution to the destinations.” 

This article was written by Boardroom Editor Lane Nieset. The right to use it, in parts or in full, has to be granted by the Publisher.

November 11, 2019

ICC Sydney Builds on its Legacy Program

International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) is adding another layer to its Legacy Program as Australia’s premier venue introduces new culinary initiative. ICC Sydney recently unveiled Edible Centrepieces – an innovative, community-driven service which allows both clients and the venue to deliver on their sustainability goals and increase their support for the Matthew Talbot Hostel, a service run by the St. Vincent De Paul Society New South Wales.

Edible Centrepieces allow clients to replace floral arrangements with table centrepieces created from seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs, sourced from the venue’s 129 New South Wales-based network of suppliers. These unique arrangements are able to be displayed in complimentary recycled vases. Post-event, the ICC Sydney Culinary Services team uses the produce to donate nutritious meals to the Matthew Talbot Hostel.

With 7.3 million tonnes of food waste ending up in Australia’s landfill each year, ICC Sydney’s new initiative not only reduces waste but helps give back to those most in need, as the Matthew Talbot Hostel cares for men experiencing homelessness. 

Vinnies Acting Accommodation Manager at the Matthew Talbot Hostel, Mark Purchase, said: “ICC Sydney is more than a venue. It’s an organisation which makes a huge difference to the community. The high-quality food donated by ICC Sydney goes a long way in supporting the 200 men we serve at each meal at the Matthew Talbot Hostel.”

November 8, 2019

Shaping Greener Events

As a way to improve delegates’ overall experience, SQUARE-BRUSSELS CONVENTION CENTRE plans to start with one of the most important elements—the environment.

Thanks to a collaboration between general management and a highly motivated cross-departmental team, SQUARE-BRUSSELS CONVENTION CENTRE gained the ISO 20121 international certification in August 2019, which rewarded its many initiatives revolving around sustainable development and green events. From 2014 to 2018, SQUARE had already obtained a one-star rating as an “Entreprise Ecodynamique” company, a Brussels-only label.

SQUARE does not intend to stop there—every event remains a challenge in terms of creativity, teamwork and environmental impact—and its commitment to sustainability is stronger than ever. Over the past several years, SQUARE-BRUSSELS CONVENTION CENTRE has taken an environmental approach. In keeping with its missions and values (as well as the Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, policies of GL events Group, who manage the venue), SQUARE aims to promote a sense of responsibility by considering all aspects of sustainable development—both environmental and social.

GL events follows a “Think Green” environmental responsibility program, designed by the head office in France. The idea is to be part of a global event cycle, with the principle aim of reducing the impact on the environment. For example, one of the projects will be the ADOPT A BEE program (stay tuned for more on this in spring).

Mindful of the legacy and ecological footprint of our events, SQUARE-BRUSSELS CONVENTION CENTRE has decided to implement sustainable development policies and ground its actions by obtaining the ISO 20121 certification, a standard for the responsible management of events. In order to meet these commitments, and the expectations of SQUARE’s stakeholders, the venue’s activities focus on three key challenges:

  • Optimise waste management
  • Increase the safety and security of individuals and property
  • Develop an environmentally friendly food and beverage service

Designed by Brussels architectural firm A.2R.C, SQUARE boasts 27 meeting rooms—featuring capacity for 40 to 1,200, with a total capacity of 7,000 attendees—and an exhibition area of 4,000 sqm. Another advantage? Within direct vicinity lie 4,500 hotel rooms, meaning the venue can lower its carbon footprint thanks to its city-central geographic location, since people travel less distance.

SQUARE also uses electric vehicles in its loading bay and promotes the use of electric vehicles through access to recharging stations. Eco-responsible caterers serve seasonal and local products, and only reusable or recyclable tableware and cutlery are used at events. Out are Nespresso capsules and plastic water bottles for internal use—which has reduced an average of 20,000 bottles per year. The venue also uses 100-percent green electricity from sustainable sources, and digital energy consumption is monitored and reduced.

SQUARE’s sustainable development policy consists of an active, conscious and collaborative approach. All of the teams and partners of SQUARE-BRUSSELS CONVENTION CENTRE implement good practices and eco-gestures each and every day in their quest for continuous improvement.

Videos on SQUARE’s commitment to sustainability can be viewed here and here.

November 5, 2019

#Meet4impact:
Measure What Matters

When we eavesdrop on conversations surrounding impact, it always seems that it’s about measurement. Yet to us, as Geneviève Leclerc, founder of the ##MEET4IMPACT project, writes, measurement should be perceived as a tool for understanding impact, not as the end goal. Metrics are not enough to fuel an organization’s wish to capture and amplify the overall value it creates. However, using data to assess their impact should be part of an overall impact management program that will help demonstrate their relevance.

In a previous article we mentioned that the practice of social impact measurement relies on the utilization of “impact” as a currency by which an organization is able to report on its organizational effectiveness in carrying out its mission; much like one would report on financial results. To measure the social impact of its activities, such as an event, the association will want to assess the effects on the local host communities, on the event participants, and on its community of interest as a whole. But how to measure the intangible?

Designing Your Data Strategy

The third phase in our impact management program is about learning to measure what matters. Developing a robust data strategy that will support your whole impact journey is key to demonstrate the impact that you have planned for.

Collecting and analyzing the right data informs you on how efficient your initiative is.  Initially, you must think of the entities to which you wish to report to, and what their information needs are:

  • How can you report on the positive change you claim you’re responsible for?
  • What information is relevant and informative to that effect?
  • How can you back up your claims?

You will then plan your strategy around the collection of data informing on the progression of impact over time and relevant to the above questions.

Your strategy will be dictated by three major questions: 1) What are you assessing? 2) What is the data collection process? 3) What purpose will it serve and how will it be reported?

All About Indicators

We already wrote about the Theory of Change (ToC) to guide your impact project, which is a tool used to model how an activity and its short-term results can lead to a longer-term impact. When developing your ToC, it is important to understand how the results on objectives can be evaluated.

Each of the objectives selected should be supported by information/data that can be evaluated in one of four ways:

  1. Qualitatively, by demonstrating a visible change;
  2. Quantitatively, with figures that may indicate a change;
  3. Strategically, by attributing results to previously stated objectives or fixed guidelines;
  4. In a transposed manner, by giving a monetary value to a social gain.

Measuring impact is not an exact science, but it suggests that one must adopt indicators that will make it possible to attribute a certain ownership (of the impact generated) to the organization. Indicators are generally defined as a specific, observable and measurable characteristic. It will show a change rather than just the performance of our activities, and that change measured should represent progress toward achieving a specific outcome. And indicators should give a relatively good idea of the data required and the population amongst whom they are measured.

There are dozens of existing sets of social impact indicators that you can choose from (such as those offered by GRI, IRIS, The Global Exchange, Guidestar, etc.). But some metrics may be missing as most catalogs contain too few indicators linked to knowledge transfer, professional development and innovation growth, which are typical outcomes linked to business events. Therefore, our sector has to develop or adapt its own set of indicators, an endeavor which #MEET4IMPACT has undertaken with the collaboration of industry experts and academics.

Collecting Data

Let’s now go over some notions about impact data.

First, in order to understand the range of outcomes being generated by your project, you’ll need different types of data. When assessing impact, the most common types of data collected will comprise: user data (who participated? Who is impacted?); participation and engagement data (linked to the activities and output); feedback data (user or participant evaluations); outcome data (perceptions of what they got out of it on the short-term); impact data (mid and longer term—the difference your activity has made); and industry & research data (external sources backing up your claims).

Secondly, data may come from different sources. Some are subjective such as the participant or the beneficiary of the impact being surveyed; others can be objective like the one collected by yourself or a third-party, such as measurable variations in practice or performance.

Need help in developing your legacy project?

Meet4impact isa global not-for-profit aiming to build a community passionate about social impact in our sector, helping organisations increase their capacity to generate impact through their activities, deliver more value on their mission and implement positive change.

Keep looking out for updates on social media following the #Meet4impact/ #Associations4impact/ #Cities4Impact keywords; check out our website www.meet4impact.global; or write to us at community@meet4impact.global to tell us your story.

Thirdly, data will be available at different times as impact is not a static occurrence. Impact theory tells us that outcomes and impact will evolve over time, over three major levels:

First level outcomes: observed immediately after an activity and are considered a “Change in Capacity”. It’s the acquisition by a participant of new information, new knowledge, new skills, or an increase in connectivity by meeting new people. Together these nearly immediate results increase the capacity of a person to convert awareness into action.

Second level outcomes: broader, they indicate that more important transformations have occurred as a result of an activity. When one acquires new information, and decides to consider it, research it, and incorporate its new learnings into its practice, there has been a “Change in Behavior”. This is where true impact starts to occur, as an observable change in practice can lead to a change in performance.

Third level outcomes: longer-term impact. They are a “Change in Condition or Status” and are very difficult to track and measure. Most often, a lot of time has passed before they are observed, we might no longer have access to the data readily, and various external factors have contributed to change occurring.

The reason why this is relevant is because each of the previous levels in our logic chain is a pre-condition for the next one to arise. In proper impact practice, the data collection will be done for all of these levels, including the output level (the activity itself). Each level of outcomes should be assessed via its own indicators, therefore giving a better portrait of the evolution in the outcomes and providing richer data.

Now an example. If a meeting aims to increase awareness of the public and decision makers on a particular medical issue, the indicators selected would inform: 1) how broadly the information is disseminated (indicators of exposure, such as media presence around the campaign & tracking of social media postings); 2) how it is received (monitor interactions with the content on social media, observable reactions, on-the-spot interviews with our audience being exposed to the campaign); 3) how it is being used and converted into change of behavior (both self-assessment surveys and third-party external sources should be deployed in this case); and if one has the resources and the time to commit, 4) whether this has improved health outcomes for the population that was targeted over a period of time (this data would be more difficult to compile, would require relationships and engagement of health officials and would demand that baseline data had been previously identified to be able to determine if a positive change occurred).

Finally, various data collection methods will be used, depending on what is being measured and how it will be used. Surveys, focus groups and interviews collecting anecdotal evidence are best to demonstrate that a change has occurred before it can be measured and are very effective at providing “emotionally convincing” data and storytelling, but there may be low return rates and the information can be difficult to evaluate and quantify. The study of documents and case studies can be fairly quick and easy to implement and yield relatively reliable findings, but they may not be useful in demonstrating a cause to effect relationship or identify what triggered the change. And standardized tests and measurements will provide accurate and reliable “hard” data, but they are the most time consuming and often require external expertise. While the quantitative data will tell you how much something has changed, the qualitative data is essential to understanding the nature of what has changed, and how this has affected the beneficiaries of that change.

Using Data

Impact measurement is a process that should always be guided by the need for reporting. In other words, why you need the data will dictate your data strategy. Reporting on impact typically serves three purpose: communicating to stakeholders, being held accountable, and learning from the process. Social impact data analysis should ultimately be used for decision-making purposes—the story told by the data should support a broader strategy and inform on the success of stakeholders in achieving their goals. At all times, a mix of types of data, sources, measurement methods and evaluation at different time periods should be used, and this constitutes a best practice in tracking and reporting the social impact of your activity.

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

October 22, 2019

Association Meetings as Part of the Circular Economy

The Iceberg’s James Latham met up with Pier Paolo Mariotti while he was Faculty Director of the ECM Summer School in London this year. Pier Paolo shares interesting views on the circular economy and how it can rejuvenate convention bureaus as a result of wider industry seeing events as critical to their objectives. Bolzano, Italy, is testament, indeed, to the shift to the strategic role of research institutions and how they connect communities in science and such using ambassadors from these institutions to attract association meetings and the talent and funding they support for the region…

Capacity building in Bolzano from Fred Productions Ltd. on Vimeo.

 

October 17, 2019

Facilitating Interactions Between International Associations & Local Hosts

Can venues play a valuable role in bridging the divide that sometimes lies between the international associations and local hosts/chapters? This is what argues Angeline van den Broecke, Director of Global Business Development and Marketing, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Local hosts/chapters are often an integral factor in elevating the success of a major international congress. While international associations often take responsibility for providing the global perspective and organising the bulk of the programme, local associations have important input in terms of providing destination insights and flavour.

However, the capabilities and experience of local associations can vary wildly. In an ideal world the local host and global association will already be aligned in terms of vision and mission. But there is often a long delivery timeframe between when a bid is won by a destination host and when the congress execution takes place. Another dynamic that influences this relationship is when an intermediary such as an appointed PCO or Core PCO or AMC is involved.

Often the global association organisers, who are often full-time professionals may have different perspectives and expectations than their local counterparts. Host associations, often run by enthusiastic volunteers, may lack regular exposure to the organisation of events of this nature and scale. Communication issues (i.e. cultural and language differences) can also contribute to varied expectations, which can hinder the organisation and ultimate success of the congress.

Building Engagement

In our experience, venues can play a meaningful and valuable role in bridging the divide between the international associations and local hosts/chapters. Venues are often dealing with the local associations/hosts on their national or regional events and have a fairly good understanding of the status of the local association and the primary influences and local players. In addition, interpretation with respect to cultural nuances and local business practice are often an area where the Centre is used as a connector.

In destinations where a city bureau may not exist, such being the case in Kuala Lumpur, the venue is required to often provide a myriad of destination information and a support interface beyond the norm and to work as a partner, not a supplier. This is one of the reasons the Centre set up the Kuala Lumpur Business Events Alliance (KLCCBEA) with a primary focus on providing a one stop solution to support Meeting and Event Planners.

In this respect, the Centre ultimately provides social value; as a partner that maintains a cumulative history, and business intelligence after many years of engagement and execution and client relationship management.

Venues can assist by sharing key learnings and best practices from previous successful events and really get to understand the different complexities and success factors across different demographics, geographies and sector specific demand drivers and to share this knowledge both ways can truly influence the success of the working relationships between all parties.

Case in point: the 29th. International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) 2019, held at the Centre in July. As the Society of Conservation Biology’s (SCB) Executive Director, Dr Debborah Luke, comments: “ICCB is quite a challenging congress to manage because you have the international organisation trying to guide from their global perspective; the steering committee handling the scientific content; and the local chapter, who are generally the organising committee taking care of the on-ground management and ensuring there is a Malaysian flavour included in the event. Trying to integrate and make sure all three parties are on the same page at the same time can be quite tricky. What we learnt from our experience is making sure you define very clear roles, manage expectations and set realistic outcomes for everybody involved.”

By sharing these kind of insights venues can help ensure global associations and local chapters are aligned and better prepared to plan their own international events. “We relied heavily on the venue to provide ideas when we needed input and a business perspective beyond the scope of the local host association,” says Dr Luke.“This related to how we could connect to local business chambers, what innovative ways a previous congress of a similar nature used to boost local participation, and to look at a western vs. a local perspective of the role F&B plays throughout the event. These were just a few examples that helped us to adjust and adopt flexibility once we were on the ground.”

The World Federation of Hemophilia’s (WFH) Director, Congress & Meetings, Jeremias Rodriguez, CMP, who is currently in the process of organising the WFH World Congress 2020 at the Centre, also shares his perspective: “Firstly, use technology to collaborate and share documents to help you communicate in real-time and more effectively. Increasing the number of face-to-face meetings will also help you tremendously to create stronger bonds between parties. Lastly, greater collaboration between the local convention bureau and the chapter is crucial, so they are aware of all the resources available to them.”

In this instance the Centre has really become a marketing and promotions partner of the event and a resource to connect the federation to several local entities and to facilitate and guide some of the engagement when it has been difficult to gain access to the decision maker.

Cultural Nuances

There are a variety of unique characteristics and cultural factors to take into account when organising events in different regions around the world.

As Dr Luke adds, “Local chapters may not have the time and resources to fully analyse the audience and, as a result, cultural norms can be overlooked. For example, in Malaysia we noticed that the variety and amount of food on offer was larger than expected, which caused concerns for some international participants. In Asia, the offering would not be considered out of place, but due to the profile of our attendees it was something we could have altered, or better communicated. In these kinds of scenarios, the venue has the opportunity to play a larger role in offering advice to ensure nothing is missed.”

Of course, knowledge transfer is a two-way street. Insights also have to be passed from local chapters to international associations, and venues can help facilitate this. As the National Cancer Society of Malaysia’s (NCSM) Vice President, Clare Ratnasingham, who was a key member of the national organising committee for the World Cancer Congress 2018, shares: “One of the biggest factors that needs to be addressed by international and national associations alike is cultural differences. Every country or region moves at their own pace. For example, some countries face additional challenges in terms of government or bureaucratic regulations and others deal with the tendency of event registrations being very last minute, amongst many others. As such, there needs to be greater understanding and flexibility towards these differences. In the end, it is all about trust and communication.”

A Sustainable Legacy

By collecting and sharing these golden nuggets of feedback and experience, venues can help educate and guide international associations in developing their communications and relations with local chapters.

The Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor, concludes: Like any relationship, communication is key and venues are often the central lynchpin between all parties. As such, we have an ability to open up dialogue to ensure everyone is well informed. Relationships are our most important asset and by utilising this and our experience, built up over many years, we can help facilitate and foster better bonds between international associations and local chapters, which will in turn result in more successful events.”

 

October 9, 2019

How a Liver Meeting Can Impact Local Communities

The British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) held its annual meeting from 17th – 20th September at the University of Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow. BASL is dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the biology and pathology of the liver for the optimal care of patients.

Aiming to take the subject matter outside of the conference walls into the public, BASL partnered with the British Liver Trust, the UK’s leading liver health charity, and Glasgow Convention Bureau to bring the Love Your Liver Roadshow to Glasgow city centre for two days on the 18th and 19th September.

The Love Your Liver public awareness event gave individuals the opportunity to take the Liver Health Screener, which assesses the potential for liver damage against the three main risk factors of alcohol, obesity and viral hepatitis. Some participants were then offered a non-invasive liver check with a FibroScan machine, the scan then gave an indication of any liver damage and, depending on the result, a GP visit was recommended.

The first day of the engagement initiative saw the Love Your Liver roadshow located on Argyle Street, one of the city’s busiest shopping streets. 71 members of the public took the liver screener test, with 63 then being scanned with the FibroScan machine and 1 in 5 people being advised to visit their GP.

Day two saw the Love Your Liver team bring the Roadshow to the University of Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre during the University’s Fresher’s Week, when hundreds of first year students start their University career, an ideal opportunity to talk to students about their liver health! 89 individuals were screened on day two, 85 of which were also scanned with the FibroScan machine which resulted in 14 people being recommended a GP visit.

Love Your Liver

Over the two days of the Love Your Liver Roadshow the team engaged directly with 160 members of the public, with 17% of those who were scanned being advised to visit their GP for further checks. All participants received free information packs which included advice and insight on how to Love Your Liver with personalised lifestyle tips based on the screener results.

Vanessa Hebditch, Director of Communications and Policy at the British Liver Trust said:“One in three of us are at risk of liver disease and the numbers of people being diagnosed have been increasing at an alarming rate. Liver damage develops silently with no signs or symptoms and people often don’t realise they have a problem until it is too late. Although the liver is remarkably resilient, if left until symptoms appear, the damage is often irreversible.”

She continued: “The British Liver Trust was delighted to be at the University of Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre, together with the British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL), to promote and raise awareness of liver disease to students, academics and the public. The event highlighted important research and innovation in liver care. The Convention Bureau’s support allowed us to showcase our Love Your Liver Roadshow enabling people to find out their risk of liver disease and receive a free non-invasive scan. Approximately 20% of the people we saw on the roadshow need to have further checks from their GP. This is conference legacy in action.”

October 1, 2019

Today’s Business Events Serve Tomorrow’s Generation

What is the real power of association conferences? The hot topic has become part of the core of Business Events Sarawak or BESarawak (formerly Sarawak Convention Bureau) that is now looking beyond the narrow limits of business tourism financial benefits. Malaysia’s biggest state and second-tier conference destination with rapidly-increasing popularity has recently expanded its focus towards the social impact and remote legacy meetings can leave behind.

BESarawak’s Redefining Global Tribes (RGT) campaign began in 2017 and has received much praise among the meetings industry experts putting out tribal values of community, identity and unity. The innovative campaign has helped Sarawak win a place both in conference organizers and delegates’ hearts alike as the state has been moving up the rankings of the global market.

According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)’s global ranking report released in May, Malaysia is ranked 9thin the region with Sarawak being a huge contributor in the nation’s success, while Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, shot to #32 on the city rankings. Such great success means only the beginning of progressive ideas and values for the state, who is yet again rising to the challenge of a new era.

New year, new focus

The start of 2019 found the bureau with a new name, image and a diverse focal point which heightens the intangible payback of business events. Not so long ago business events were assessed merely by delegate expenditure on travelling, shopping, commuting, eating and sleeping. BESarawak’s contribution has reached over RM720 million in total since 2006.

The economic impact is only the facade of what business events can offer society. BESarawak is now eager to demonstrate that the power of knowledge and the power of associations and academia can advance research, science and innovation. Using the global network of an international association new talent will flood in the country creating clusters and higher standards for any industry.

Chief Operating Officer of BESarawak, Amelia Roziman, shares that “BESarawak’s focus this year is on advocating legacy impact in every business event held in this state. This means looking beyond the economic input and expanding our focus to the significance of conferences through the promotion and usage of knowledge exchanged to have a positive effect on various areas of sectors. Asides from sharing knowledge and expanding our education outcomes, we are also measuring business events’ capability to enhance future research capacities and fundraising opportunities, and whether it can reform public policies or even create new ones.”

 The visionary target will not be achieved without close collaboration and support. Business Events Sarawak and the Sarawak government have placed 7 Key Focus Areas (KFAs) as crucial factors, namely Urban Development & Redevelopment (inclusive of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy), Social, Environmental and Agricultural Development plus Service Industry and Digital Economy. These distinctive elements of community growth are set to trigger a domino effect of impactful motions in their respective areas in favour of the state and the nation.

“Associations are vying for a bigger purpose that is closely linked to their objectives, hence government support is unquestionably vital,” Amelia emphasizes. “Regardless of which market we are aiming for (this year we have set our sights on ASEAN countries, Australia and Europe), the support that is received from the government such as local government agencies and industry partners is undivided.” This support is prominent in every step of the way, even before bidding begins, making the planning of a conference as smooth as it gets.

In fact, Sarawak is creating a win-win situation with its Legacy Impact Programme. Through helping associations fulfil their ‘bigger purpose’ and leave a legacy by leveraging from this support, the state reaps the benefits of economic growth and knowledge influx, which in turn leads to better standard of living for the future generations.

Four major pillars of legacy impacts laid out by BESarawak are meant to vest more power to business events in order to extract their full value and drive change. These pillars are identified as Advancing the Field, Economic Outcomes, Community Benefits and Public Policy. The first assigns the leading role to local associations and global networking, which will lead to wider trade opportunities and industrial development. Cultural, social and public welfare outcomes can be achieved for the community, which in turn can also benefit by policy changes.

The forward-looking mentality is already taking root in Malaysia. Conferences such as the 2019 Borneo Coffee Symposium and the 8thInternational Conference on Bioprocessing, both held recently in Sarawak, have had tangible effects in their respective sectors.

The 2019 Borneo Coffee Symposium

Business events had the sweet taste of coffee on 6 and 7 April this year during the very first Borneo Coffee Symposium, held at the Old Court House in Kuching. Over 250 renowned coffee scientists as well as experienced coffee farmers and estate owners gathered in East Malaysia, on the island of Borneo, all sharing the same purpose: to show the world the potential of high-quality coffee cultivation in the area in a sustainable way.

Organized by Earthlings Coffee Workshop, the Symposium was the first of its kind to be held in Borneo and aimed to find the possibilities to produce a sustainable coffee cultivation model in rainforests. Particularly, to solve the lowland and warmer climate challenges by introducing the right species and varieties of coffee and introducing the knowledge of modern coffee cultivation to the Sarawak state.

Coffee cultivation in Sarawak has been growing rapidly, but the local tribes need the right guidance and knowledge in order to enter the global market successfully. The Symposium managed to do just that; well-known speakers and international coffee education systems such as “CoffeeCraftsman Education” from Germany, which was brought to Sarawak right after the Borneo Coffee Symposium, provided tailor-made support for local coffee growers.

Events like the “Liberica Coffee Roasting Competition” and “Cross-Species Coffee Cupping” that happened during the Symposium were also organized to support the direction of the right coffee species for the region. Dr. Kenny Lee Wee Ting, founder of Earthlings Coffee Workshop, believes that “with proper coffee education and the thorough understanding of the global coffee market, coffee is a type of environmentally-friendly crop that would benefit Sarawak not only financially, but also in terms of helping to protect our natural environment.”

The Symposium made great impact within the government. The Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development has already increased financial investment for coffee planting and is now looking into socio-economic benefits for farmers in crop diversification, moving from subsistence to specialty production, recognition of farmer identity and their contribution to labour and identity of state too.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Sarawak government represented by Department of Agriculture Sarawak (DOA) and Earthlings Coffee Workshop on the last day of the Symposium proves the point of collaboration and mutual benefit deriving from business events. Based on BESarawak’s drivers, the acquired knowledge and skills gained at the Symposium provides a platform for the formation of new associations in the industry with the goal to educate the younger generation and put Borneo on the world’s coffee map.

The immediate impact of the Symposium is indisputable as every coffee related business segments in Sarawak or even entire Malaysia will benefit from the rise of local grown coffee independent of brand identity or cost considerations. In the long run, such a knowledge intensive symposium will stir the waters for coffee players in Malaysia, forcing them to update their products and market knowledge in order to catch up with the international competition. According to Dr. Lee “this would lead to a healthier competition throughout the whole coffee industrial chain in Sarawak. If everyone in the industry demand better quality coffee and have the knowledge to produce it, they will surely work with the local farmers to reach the desired result.”

The full version of this article, written by Boardroom editor Vicky Koffa, is available in the September issue of Boardroom. The right to use this article, in part or in full, has to be granted by the Publisher.