Playing the Long Game: The Power of Conferences

The question is often asked: what are the benefits of holding conferences?

Often the real answers to the question only emerge years after an event has taken place, when the ideas presented or connections made have become breakthroughs that save lives, change society or redefine best practice and policy.

Business Events Sydney (BESydney) and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have recently joined forces to publish a new book about the legacies of business events.

Built around profiles of ten distinguished thought leaders, and focussing on the role meetings have played in their stories, the book also analyses the outcomes conferences help create.

Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of BESydney, said that the work demonstrates exactly how important conferences are. “These stories show why it’s vital to take the long view when thinking about conferences and the impact they have. All the individuals in this book have helped change the face of health, science and society, and each one has used conferences in some way to do that.”.

The Power of Conferences: stories of serendipity, innovation and driving social change includes stories from Nobel Laureates Barry Marshall AC and Brian Schmidt AC, as well as a host of other Australian luminaries.

Professor Ian Frazer AC talks about the role conferences played in his discovery of the HPV vaccine, which is saving millions of women from HPV-related cancer, and may eradicate it within a generation.

For the father of photovoltaics, Scientia Professor Martin Green AM, conferences played an integral part in helping him and his team outpace NASA and COMSAT in the global race to create a solar cell with 20 percent efficiency, and more recently go on to achieve an unequalled efficiency level of 40 percent.

Professor Tom Calma AO and The Hon. Linda Burney MP describe how conferences have been instrumental in transforming educational opportunities and outcomes for indigenous children and young people in Australia.

The book was authored by international UTS experts in the value of business events, Associate Professor Deborah Edwards and Associate Professor Carmel Foley, together with award-winning writer Cheryl Malone. “These stories show that through a meeting of minds, networks and friendships, discoveries occur which ultimately lead to significant benefits for society. We hope that readers are as inspired reading them as we were writing them”, said Associate Professor Edwards.

The Power of Conferences is available for download now from the UTS ePress website.

The Power of Conferences: stories of serendipity, innovation and driving social change

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