They have an often-heard saying in Scotland: to "look after" someone. Far from just a quaint expression, it's the way hospitality is practiced in this strikingly beautiful country. Participants in PCMA's inaugural Global Corporate Summit, held July 22-26 in three Scottish destinations, felt very much looked after by our hosts: the Scottish Exhibition + Conference Centre (SECC) and VisitScotland. Not only did they provide a productive environment for the summit, they gave us a taste of why Scotland, a center of the Enlightenment, is an ideal setting to inspire groups.
While the summit sought to advance knowledge of a somewhat narrower scope than during the Age of Reason, our intimate group of about 25 participants had an impressive sphere of influence, high-level corporate meeting professionals from Australia, the U.K., Germany, Brazil, Belgium, and the United States, representing such powerhouses as IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, McDonald's, Nike, and Oracle, who gathered to work out the best ways to achieve their organizations' strategic objectives through events.
The summit was hosted by the SECC in Glasgow, the U.K.'s largest venue for exhibitions and conferences of 10,000-plus attendees, which will expand even more next year with the debut of the 12,000-seat Hydro Arena. The SECC's attentive staff made sure our small group felt every bit as important as their largest convention client.
The program got off to an energetic start Monday morning with The Medici Effect's Frans Johansson, who spoke of how diversity in disciplines and cultures leads to increased innovation. He then guided the group in exercises that used unrelated concepts as a springboard for inventive ideas for events. The dynamic morning session set the stage for two days of collaboration on three areas critical to corporate meeting professionals: strategic meetings management programs (SMMP), event technology, and outsourcing.
During an SMMP Deep Dive, participants shared their challenges and successes in getting management buy-in, measuring event spend, ensuring the right mix of logistics and strategy, and communicating goals and expected outcomes. A discussion on how to integrate rapidly adopted social-media tools into events was a natural segue into the technology session.
With real-case examples as the focus of the Event-Tech Quick Share part of the program, each planner had 30 seconds to explain how a particular technology was used at an event and its cost. Recommendations ranged from technologies such as telepresence, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, to a radio walkie-talkie app, offered for free.
And outsourcing was a hot-button topic, as the group tried to wrap its arms around rates, goals, and definitions.
During the final Open Sourced session, participants raised issues needing further exploration and discussed how PCMA could help address their challenges. Some of the PCMA resources to look for in the near future:
- Outsourcing model map, various outsourcing models and considerations for each
- Road-tested technology trends, what technologies meeting planners are using and what the next evolution in these products could look like
- Global safety resources, a compilation of resources available to determine safety for taking meetings abroad, particularly in developing markets
- SMMP training for vendor partners and smart practices, opportunities for vendors and suppliers to learn the essentials of SMMP in organizations and how they can best help meet their clients' objectives, as well as a series of programs focused on current SMMP trends, communication strategies, and reports and measurement.
Read a Convene interview with the members of the PCMA Corporate Task Force who helped create the agenda for the inaugural PCMA Global Corporate Summit at convn.org/CorpSpeak