Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

December 29 2015

The Surprising Way Your Colleagues Mapped The Future Of Medical Meetings

David McMillin



Changing pharma codes, an emerging generation of attendees with new learning preferences, competition with for-profit conferences, dwindling sponsorship dollars — the list of issues facing today’s medical meeting professionals continues to grow. In November, PCMA invited some of the most experienced planners and suppliers in the industry to Scotland to tackle the challenges at the bi-annual Global Medical Meetings Summit. For four days, the group worked together to discuss how emerging trends will impact their organizations, their attendees and their individual professional responsibilities. It was a serious conversation, but a surprising tool paved the way: LEGOS.

No, attendees weren’t building cars, robots or the list of other childhood favorites. Instead, they were using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® process. “This LEGO activity forces you to have a different thought process,” Kelly Peacy, CAE, CMP, Senior Vice President, Events and Education, PCMA, says. “You have to think metaphorically about what each block means, and then you determine how to explain and articulate each idea.”

 Using LEGO blocks, groups worked together to imagine how their meetings will look and feel in 2018. The date on the calendar is only two years away, but medical meeting professionals designed environments with a range of new possibilities in mind. From wearing virtual reality goggles to showcasing live on-site surgeries, it’s clear that medical meeting professionals are embracing a range of big ideas. The LEGO activity offered insights into how they can secure the necessary resources to bring those ideas to life.

"That process of articulation is crucial for today’s meeting professional,” Peacy says. “When you’re working to move an idea up the ladder and motivate senior-level decision-makers within your organization to execute on them, being able to vocalize why you believe in the idea can make a big difference.”

Building A Bond Block By Block 

Using LEGOS did more than allow the members of each group to have some fun while thinking about the future. The process also helped break the typical cautious barrier that exists in first introductions. “A childlike activity such as using LEGOS can make people feel a bit vulnerable,” Peacy says. “When that happens in small groups of people, they tend to bond really quickly.”

That bond can last longer than a few hours or a few days, too. The group plans to have a reunion meeting at Convening Leaders in January. 

“They want to be held accountable to each other,” Peacy says. “They’re planning to get together to see how each of their colleagues is using the takeaways from Scotland to transform their organizations’ meetings.”

For a look at the insights from the 2015 Global Medical Meetings Summit, click here. If you’re interested in learning more about using LEGOS with your own attendees, check out the official website.

PCMA would like to extend an extra note of appreciation to our partners in the United Kingdom for their dedication to innovation. With strong support from VisitScotland, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, the meetings industry will feel the impact of the 2015 Global Medical Meetings Summit for years to come.

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