Collective agility, strategic innovation and foresight are keys to future success, according to the new IMEX Power of 10 findings released today at IMEX. (This is the research I was eager to hear about yesterday.) The study by Fast Future Research builds on the findings of its earlierConvention 2020 report (of which IMEX was a founding sponsor) and includes interviews with more than 100 leaders, practitioners, innovators, change agents and future thinkers from across the industry. The findings affirm some of MPI's own research, especially its Future of Meetings initiative, which also taps industry experts, in addition to experts from outside the field.
The research explores both the internal mechanics of the meeting industry itself and the full range of business sectors it serves. As well as looking 10 years into the future, the study also looks back over the last decade to trace and define the key lessons learned from past experience. Three dominant themes
The study identifies three main themes that look set to dominate the decade ahead and therefore hold the key to success for the industry as a whole and, more urgently, those companies, associations and destinations that serve it.
- An uncertain global economic outlook and the challenges presented by hard to predict macro-economic shifts
- The rapid availability and penetration of new technologies, whose quality, cost and diversity are touching every aspect of our lives
- The everyday reality of shorter and faster business cycles
As the report makes clear, many other industry sectors are currently wrestling with similar challenges. However, for the meeting industry, these challenges raise specific and sometimes fundamental questions that must be faced quickly—and faced collectively—if the sector is to fulfil its highest potential as a universally respected and strategically valued business tool within the next 10 years.
A snapshot from the global survey findings on key factors shaping the industry’s next decade:
- 71 percent expect global economic uncertainty and instability to have an impact across the sector worldwide
- 49 percent believe we will start to experience the impact of improvements in the quality and cost of technology alternatives to live meetings
- 47 percent believe shorter and faster business cycles are expected to play a significant role by , while 46% anticipate growing political and economic influence coming from Asia.
Interestingly, all of these trends mimic trends MPI has been reporting on in its bi-monthly Business Barometer
. Rethink the event experience
At the operating level, there is a clear expectation that the industry will need to undergo both evolutionary change and radical transformations in a number of areas if it is to keep pace with developments taking place in client sectors. The report addresses specific findings and recommendations for corporations, associations, venue owners, hotels, convention bureaus, agencies and industry service providers.
In order to both improve its resilience to economic shocks and address competition from the growing range of communication and knowledge sharing alternatives available to clients, the research reveals a strongly-held view that the live business event sector has to demonstrate and raise the perception of its direct value to those involved. (Our Business Value of Meetings
toolkit, to be released at AIBTM, will help you do this.) In all, 91 percent of survey respondents strongly agreed or agreed that the business event industry must demonstrate tangible returns on investment for event owners, delegates, sponsors, exhibitors and other key stakeholders to reduce vulnerability to economic cycles.
The Power of 10
report also shows that the forces of change are already being felt in the areas of event design and the delegate experience which, in turn, are producing fresh priorities for event owners, including a range of new design and delivery challenges for in-company events, corporate events and conferences and exhibitions. Six sub-reports
To enable the industry to embrace and act on the true scale and depth of the research, the full findings are set to be released and presented in six detailed sub-reports over the coming months:
- "The Big Picture - Reflections on Past and Future Factors”
- “What will the Future Event Experience Look Like?”
- “Maximizing Learning and Value - The Role of Knowledge Management, Technology and Social Media”
- “Event Ownership - Fresh Perspectives and Event Economics”
- “Beyond Tourism - Evolution of the Industry Value Chain”
- “Shaping the Future - Grand Challenges and Winning Scenarios”