Ideas for the congress of the future to give away

CONGRESSES How should conferences and congresses be designed so that visitors learn as much as possible, meet and network, and also enjoy themselves? These and other questions were addressed by the experts at mice lab 2014 in Vorarlberg at the end of May. Around one hundred industry representatives were inspired by the researchers' findings. Opportunity to meet and exchange experiences [...]

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The approximately one hundred industry representatives took advantage of the opportunity to meet and exchange experiences during the open space workshops.In addition, the mice lab was present for the first time from June 11 to 13 at the Trade fair MEXCON 2014 in Berlin. The research project on the "Congress of the Future" was launched in 2013 by Netzwerk Bodensee Meeting. This year, the project team invited six new experts from different professions to join the research lab: a journalist, an architect, a youth researcher, an organizational developer, an outdoor trainer and an industry representative. Their goal: to gather creative ideas for the design of meetings, incentives, congresses and events - in short, MICE.After a two-day retreat, the researchers presented their findings to around a hundred industry representatives at the Festspielhaus Bregenz on the third and final day. In six Pecha Kucha presentations of six minutes and forty seconds each, the experts got their audience on board thematically. In subsequent open space workshops, they engaged in an intensive exchange of experiences with the participants.Get out of the comfort zoneThe credo of moderator and journalist Andrea Thilo, for example, was "get out of your comfort zone. In keeping with the adage that "taking makes you happy - giving makes you blissful," she suggested using the swarm intelligence of a group. Congress participants should be given the opportunity to become "sharers" and share their knowledge and experience with others, "but without losing sight of the importance of speakers," Thilo emphasized.

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Urs Treuthardt, head of the Convention Bureau at St. Gallen-Lake Constance Tourism, recommended breaking out of standards - also in public relations. His company, for example, no longer communicates via newsletters, but via extraordinary videos: Information is summarized by a professional in slam talks and published on YouTube.Treuthardt also emphasized how important it is to "reflect the needs of all congress participants." That is, those of the participants, speakers, organizers, the venue and even the sponsors - "that's the big challenge.

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Space as an underestimated actorEveryone agreed that the rooms play a central role. It's not just the architecture of event venues - keyword: screwed-down chairs - that needs to be rethought. For architect Andrea Hofmann, "spaces themselves become actors; even interstitial spaces or break rooms. They are not just passive, but can inspire." They allow movement and thus promote the ability to learn and remember, added outdoor trainer Charly Siegl.

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Space in the sense of free space was also taken up: It is important "to give congresses a structure, but at the same time to allow free space or flexibility - in terms of space and content," explained program planner and event dramaturge Tina Gadow.Sustainable MICE culturePassive listening and active co-design, movement and rest phases, co-creative creativity and a desire for controversy: To meet the needs of all participants, congress organizers have to do a broad balancing act. The mice lab does not provide a ready-made recipe. "Participants and interested parties receive sensitization and questions from us that they should ask themselves when planning an event," summarized Tina Gadow. "You can tell a congress is well prepared or not."About the Bodensee MeetingThe Bodensee Meeting, initiator of the mice lab, is a transnational network of 14 representatives of the congress industry, tourism and business. For more than twenty years, it has been involved in marketing the Lake Constance region as a meeting and congress destination. More than a thousand congresses and events lasting several days are held around Lake Constance every year. With the mice lab project to research the future of congresses, the region has also become an impulse center for the industry.The members come from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. These are: Mainau Island, Kultur- & Congress-Centrum Graf-Zeppelin-Haus in Friedrichshafen, Lindau Tourismus und Kongresse, Meersburg Tourismus, Milchwerk Radolfzell, Singen Congress, Tourist-Information Konstanz, Überlingen am Bodensee, Convention Partner Vorarlberg, Festspielhaus Bregenz, Säntis-Schwebebahn, St. Gallen-Bodensee Convention, Würth Haus Rorschach, SAL - Saal am Lindenplatz in Schaan.Info: www.bodenseemeeting.com
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