Last week I attended the Associations World Congress 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal. The attendees were directors of associations like ISI, mostly from Europe, and suppliers such as professional congress organizers, and country or city representatives.
The most important discussion topics included hybrid and virtual vs in person congresses, the question of how to create value for members and stakeholders, and how to innovate. Issues I am already familiar with after having worked for slightly more than two months at the ISI. Of course no one had ready-made solutions for the challenges we face, but it was very inspiring to exchange ideas with peers.
Considering the fact that we are organizing a WSC next year the information I obtained was very helpful. One thing was clear: hybrid congresses are the worst of both worlds unless you are able to let online attendees participate fully. And this requires a significant investment. Regarding innovation and adding value, many participants shared their ideas and own experiences, some of which sounded very useful. A common thread in our discussions was the realization that we need to rethink our strategies in cooperation with our members and main stakeholders.
When I look back at the last two and a half months I consider myself lucky to work in an environment with a lot of active members. Now that the summer holidays came to an end I started my introductory meetings with the Presidents of our Associations and key persons in Committees and projects, and important stakeholders. I would like to know from you what your thoughts are regarding the future of the ISI, what you would like to improve and also what you are happy about. Please feel free to send me an e-mail any time.
At the moment two of our staff members, Shabani Mehta and Margaret de Ruiter-Molloy, are attending the RSS International Conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. In August Shabani also attended the JSM in Washington DC, USA. These are excellent opportunities to meet each other, promote the ISI and its Associations and, of course, promote the WSC23 in Ottawa, Canada. We are busy with the preparations for the WSC so keep an eye on the WSC 2023 website. Registration for the WSC will open on 1 November and we hope to see a lot of you in Canada!