The IAPCO Annual Meeting & General Assembly was this year a true celebration as it marked the 50thanniversary of the organisation. As a non-profit, IAPCO aims to boost and enhance the quality of the meetings industry as a whole and help its key players network around the globe.
For Basel as a meeting destination – but also for Convention Bureau Basel – being able to welcome the international conference industry for a “home game” as they called it and be present in the international spotlight created a major opportunity.
The Council of the International Association of Professional Congress Organizers, presided over by Mathias Posch, put together a program that was both provocative and attractive. Together with Congrex Switzerland, the local PCO that was in charge of organising the event, they came up with an innovative concept: the traditional, theater-style format with classic chairs and stage was replaced by an interesting combination of different types of tables and seats, creating a nice ambiance to sit and chat instead of just listening passively to various sessions.
And the content was highly qualitative. The idea behind the choice of topics was to stimulate new thinking and to be innovative. After all, the end clients of all IAPCO members – associations among many others – have to make sure they are innovative themselves if they want to remain competitive and attract attendees. So PCOs have to lead by example and realise that the traditional way of organising a conference has to be adapted in future as well. Professor Zeilhofer made this clear during an interesting session called ‘Innovation Snapshot’ while introducing the surgical robot CARLO who is set to become a game changer in the surgery field. Will the congress world similarly have to deal with disruptive ideas?
Other subjects stayed more in line with the usual topics but were innovative in their own way. Subjects such as ‘Positive Leadership’, ‘Adapt your business model to create greater value’, ‘Innovate or Die’ or ‘Cathedral thinking’ gave the 130 international attendees ample food for thought.
One session stood out by being a bit provocative when a hostage situation took place on the scene, as an experimental learning session on team bonding and leadership development. I still cannot figure out what to make of this, but needless to say it was very intriguing.
Attendee Kaoru Shibuta from Tokyo’s Congress Corp commented: “I was very impressed with all the ‘eco’ aspects of this year’s meeting. For all the social events for instance, we used public transportation instead of a chartered bus. It contributed to making the conference green, and also gave us plenty of opportunities to enjoy the town of Basel’.
Oh and by the way the food served by Congress Centre Basel was excellent. Refreshing, modern, often with vegan options, and nicely presented. They say if the food is good, you will remember the event even more fondly. That definitely what happened in this nice Swiss city.
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