How to make our industry smarter?
There come moments when you just want to drink a cup of coffee with your friends in a coffee shop somewhere. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, it seems that Ivo J. Franschitz can also read minds because he made our wish come true last week. He invited us to join him for coffee in an authentic Viennese coffee shop, where an open debate would transpire. As the logistics of coming there physically would be quite challenging for most of us, we joined Ivo online.
Coffee culture in Vienna is something unique and we were able to experience parts of it on Thursday, 1 October 2020 at the Vienna Coffee House Chat. Having something sweet while you drink coffee is an unwritten rule in Vienna. Ivo made sure we didn’t break that rule by sending us ingredients for baking Gugelhupf. Mine came out very delicious, despite being a bigger fan of the classic Sacher cake.
Sharing their thoughts at the online event were my colleagues, fellow meetings industry media professionals. It was amazing to meet Roger Kellerman, Christoph Berndl, James Lancaster, Jose Garcia-Aguarod, Rui Ochô, Sjoerd Weikamp, Remi Deve and event organisers Rosa Reyero, Henrik von Arnold and Ivo J. Franschitz, despite only seeing their faces in little tiny virtual frames.
The theme of the event: “The future belongs to the SMART ones” tackled the current turbulent situation in the meetings industry. But not in the sense of complaining and surrendering to faith. We all agreed that we’ve heard enough of that already and each started to shed light from our own perspective. Asking: “What is SMART?” in a time when the industry is fighting a battle for survival might seem inappropriate. We do not see it that way. Posing that question is necessary if we want to move forward.
Maybe we finally got closer to answering the provocative question posed by Ivo Franschitz: How to make our industry smarter? We brainstormed some answers, kept them simple and stupid (KISS) and collectively realised that a smart meetings industry is collaborative, inclusive, sustainable, aware, holistic and responsive.
I felt like we were celebrating the start of a new age, a future that depends on how well we are able to answer the aforementioned question. A future that depends on SMART destinations, SMART event planners and a SMART meetings industry. A future, where we are willing to make events better not just safer. In order to achieve this, we need to be creative. However, creativity alone will not get us far without policymakers, emphasized Roger Kellerman.
We all agreed with Ivo when he said where we should focus our attention: “Moving forward, thinking and working for the day after COVID-19.”
In a flood of different online events, there are some that really get close to the real experience and the Vienna Coffee House Chat was one of them.
The core of the event was a friendly, open discussion about the present and future state of the industry. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed an online event so much and almost felt like attending a live one. I can’t wait for the second edition. Viva la revolución!