“AIPC – Shaping the future” by Sven Bossu, CEO AIPC

Date: 04/06/2021


by Sven Bossu, CEO AIPC

AIPC CEO Sven Bossu presents a new programme and an energetic approach to helping future leaders in the industry.

It is now a little more than a year since I took the helm at AIPC and, as for many of you, the last 12 months have been a professional rollercoaster. At this moment, the sentiment is turning more positive and that is not only due to springtime weather in Europe. 

The high-speed US vaccination programme is resulting in a high number of national events taking place in the US from June. Test events are taking place throughout Europe, providing the data needed to create a much-needed framework for organised events. The low number of cases in Australia also allows that country to re-open for national events and the same goes for China and Japan. And then there is Dubai, which has been open for international events for many months now. 

At the same time, this is not simply ‘Back to 2019’. Convention centres – in collaboration with the other stakeholders in the event value chain – need to re-think the delegate experience to create maximum value for both the organisers and participants. Low touch technology, in combination with data collection and mining, is likely to be part of the road ahead.

In addition, the last year has also provided us insights into different ways of bringing communities together. Although many of us are ‘zoomed out’ by now, digital has structurally enriched the product and service offering of convention centres and will continue to do so going forward, allowing them to reach new audiences unserved till now.

Future Shapers

As a result of all this, the outlook for convention centres is both challenging and inspiring. It will take hard work from our best talents to make it happen. That is why it is important to offer these future leaders the opportunity to connect with their peers, to learn and – together – shape the future of convention centres.

Therefore, AIPC is launching its Future Shapers programme: a 12-month, free-of-charge, elevated management programme, with a maximum of 20 participants.

The Future Shapers programme supports the development of the high performers within the AIPC community to think and act like leaders. Participants will be senior managers on a path to the highest leadership roles within their organisations. Through education, a community of peers and mentors, and a platform to perform, the programme will support these future leaders to become future shapers of our industry.

To be perfectly clear: this is not a management course. This is an interactive roadmap towards excellence in convention centre management, requiring the commitment and engagement of the participants. In exchange, we offer the candidates the opportunity to help shape the future of the AIPC community.

The ambitions are high and the result of a very focused team effort. The Task Force which pulled all this together in record time is composed of four members and I do take the liberty of mentioning them here: Kathleen Warden of the Scottish Event Campus, Elaine Wan from the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, Samantha Glass from ICC Sydney and Kareem Salvant from the Javits Center in New York. It is a truly diverse and global team (finding the right time to meet can be a bit of a challenge) and all the members are on a shared mission. They want to shape the future of convention centres by embracing Peter Drucker’s motto: “The best way to predict the future is to create it”.

The joint effort and output are a great reminder of what our industry is about: bringing people together around shared objectives, enabling trade, innovation, and collaboration.  The careful re-opening for organised events and the transformation of convention centres into multi-channel platforms, allow for optimism. The creation of programmes like the Future Shapers, by a small team of great people, provides energy. The combination of both is the key to a bright future. 

This story originally appeared in the May/June 2021, issue 112 of Conference & Meetings World (CMW). For original layout click here (p.10).

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