The ninth selection of influencers by Kongres Magazine concluded with the award ceremony hosted in Cankarjev dom. The selected influencers are pioneers in their respective fields and help co-create the regional meetings industry. Kongres Magazine’s selection is, in a way, an overview of who is who in the industry.
Q1: In times of crisis, we tend to draw parallels with the past. What have we learned so far to make our industry better and more responsible to attendees and the environment in the future?
One positive learning element is that our business events & live communication industry is understanding and consequently taking the matter of sustainability more seriously, in its whole scope and complexity. Of course, there is still a lot of ongoing noise, smoke screens, and greenwashing, but sooner rather than later, we need to walk the talk if our industry wants to be part of the future.
Q2: What should we stop doing in regard to in-person events? Vice versa, what element should we not abandon at all costs?
Stop finally „treating“ the visitors or guests of our business events as attendees or delegates and start involving them as participants, stakeholders and co-creators.
Q3: What is your take on the various event types, some invented during the corona crisis (live, digital, hybrid, metaverse)? How will we transition in the future?
I am really tired of the ongoing focus on different definitions of formats. We should finally stop talking about all the different event formats or channels and rather re-focus on the purpose, content and outcome of an event. Having answered the WHY first, we can then see about the HOW and the WHAT, including using the fitting event formats and channels.
Q4: How do different event types address the topical problem of human interaction, which is at the core of our industry and a basis for learning?
Quoting a legendary Austrian rock band, only “live is life”. Only in-person encounters create that unique opportunity for human interaction and wild knowledge (Per Schlingmann and Kjell A Nordström). That is our business events & live communication industry’s DNA and purpose. If an event type has that as its core purpose (WHY), it addresses the need for human interaction. If you refer to the different event formats, then any other format besides in-person is a helpful add-on if it fits with the WHY.
Q5: What are your priorities to reach the goal of creating a carbon-neutral meetings industry? How environmentally aware is your organisation? How do your clients see sustainability? Can you illustrate with case studies?
If you know the WHY, if you define your HOW and if you execute the WHAT in any business event, sustainable behaviour and performance is a logical outcome: whether it is to reduce the negative impact, compensate for the unavoidable impact or create an additional positive impact.
Q6: How do you imagine an ideal meetings industry? What should be its core value?
When we have understood, embraced, stood up for and communicated the unique sustainABILITIES our business events & live communication industry has to offer for the greater good of our societies.
Q7: What is your advice for younger colleagues starting their careers in the meetings industry?
Stay curious and remain willing to learn, and keep doing what you like.
Q8: Who do you believe deserves the title of the TOP influencer if you had to select them from the list of finalists?
None of them and everyone 😊. Bring those 10 + 1 finalists together into one place and in person – that would be real influencer power.