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News: Associations News

Partnerships: The key to successful events

09 March 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Olivia Palmer
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Location, transport links, accommodation, technology, catering and leisure are all vital elements of successful event planning. And so are local partnerships, relationship building and lasting legacies as the International Society for Professional Innovation Management demonstrates.

According to research last year by the IACC (International Association of Conference Centres) meeting planners are looking for ‘flexible spaces intertwined with meeting goals and design’. Innovation and creativity are what conference organisers expect from venues of the future, but not surprisingly technology is the top priority.

Today’s meeting planners insist on high-speed internet access so that delegates can manage their outside lives while attending events. Interactive technology is also essential for smartphone audience participation, conference app use, video and live event streaming, virtual attendees and online learning.

Showcasing innovation

Innovation, creativity and state of the art technology are key to successful meetings, but each association also has its own specific and unique requirements to take into account. 

We contacted Iain Bitran, Executive Director at the International Society for Professional Innovation Management, to find out how the ISPIM engages and negotiates with destinations and venues.

The key message is ‘how can venues and destinations help the ISPIM choose their city for its conference?’ All cities that are popular conference destinations have good transport connections, hotels, venues and visitor experiences, but what the ISPIM is looking for are cities where local innovation partners can get involved in their event, where relevant relationships can be built locally and a subsequent legacy can be left behind.

The ISPIM ensures that potential destinations and venues know all about the Society; what it is and what it does, including its regular conference, forum and summit events.  

What does an ISPIM conference look like? And what is a successful conference? These are questions to which the answers are spelled out clearly for destinations and venues.

A successful conference has 25% local and 75% international participants, vibrant cross-fertilisation of local and international ideas, best practice and opportunities. Commitment to the local element is key to improving international knowledge, connecting local and international academics, business leaders, consultants and public bodies to the worldwide innovation community and future opportunities.

So the first step in organising an ISPIM conference is for destinations and venues to start liaising with local innovation communities and find out which partners are interested in working with ISPIM to bring an international innovation conference to the city. 

Successful joint ventures

One example of a successful joint venture was with the National Innovation Agency of Portugal (Porto 2016). The partner objective was to connect local businesses with members of the global innovation community and promote Porto as an innovation hotspot. Fifty local businesses attended the conference to engage in an industry matchmaking forum. Five innovation visits were organised for delegates to ‘get under the skin’ of successful local firms. The Agency also facilitated introductions to local speakers and sponsors. 

Another ISIPIM partner was the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (Budapest 2015), whose objective was to position Budapest as a Central 
European hub for digital start-ups and business. The event attracted 30 local delegates from large technology companies like Ericsson, who promoted their success stories at the conference and provided financial support. It was also a showcase for innovative Hungarian companies such as the engineering company Evopro. 

Building good quality relationships with partners and venues is crucial for event success and lasting legacies. Conference planners need to get to know partners and venues and build up a network of valuable relationships. 

People you know and respect are going to be more willing to work with you and easier to negotiate with, making for an all-round more pleasant and successful working relationship and events.

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