Have Business Events done enough to secure a Social Licence?

In Issue #106, The Iceberg continues to use IMEX 2023 as the barometer for what Kai Hattendorf, Team Captain at UFI and JMIC, describes as the ‘post, post Covid’ era for business events. He describes the ‘hype cycle’ we can anticipate from AI and delivers a broad ‘State of the Nation’ for the BE Sector in typically honest fashion – touching heavily upon the social licence to operate – which is the theme for this edition of Business Events World (and no doubt many more to come!)

Publishing partner AMI’s James Lancaster and ChatGPT’s bot ‘Betty’ put on a show. She intelligently confirms that ‘by providing a blend of online and offline experiences, associations can offer the online generation compelling reasons to step away from their screens and engage in real-world.’

Clever Betty!

But there’s another underlying current, or hype-cycle, emerging.

It isn’t the news that El Nino is releasing catastrophic climate-changing levels of warmth from the Pacific. It is the sector’s social licence to operate and the link between the two.

So it’s timely that Iceberg Ambassadors Genevieve Leclerc, der Spitzenreiter at #MEET4IMPACT, and Guy Bigwood, chief changemaker at the GDS Movement, appear from Newcastle, UK, at the VisitBritain Business Events’ Impact Measurement Course where the pair were tooling Britain’s BE ecosystem with the ability to design and measure the handprint of events. Ross Steele from TePae Convention Centre shares Christchurch’s approach to carbon mitigation & event sustainability as a long haul destination. Destinations International’s Jane and Jack (also Ambassadors) combine to echo the importance of community alignment, values-based action, and destination stewardship. Chief Advocacy Officer Johnson confirms there’s more storytelling needed to advocate beyond the consumption economy but recommends not getting too hung up on the data. Politicians want the emotional narrative which resonate with their electoral promises, he says.

It’s all positive handprint / footprint and regenerative stuff! But read between the lines…

The re-run of Gary Grimmer’s article in Iceberg partner publication, Meetings International, perhaps strikes hardest of all. The industry Godfather from GainingEdge asks if we really have done enough to identify and measure the value creation from events that gives the sector a long run at its social licence to operate while the seas rise and Canada burns…

As Bigwood says, ‘Unless you can demonstrate a bigger handprint, a social or positive impact, you shouldn’t be organising the physical event. You’ve got to have a multiple of that, and you’ve got to have the data to prove that.’

What would Betty say? She might suggest that we step away from our screens and engage in the real world of Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Singapore, from 17-18th April 2024 where Iceberg media partner, the Northstar Meetings Group, will unveil Issue #1 of The Meetings Show in Asia!

These and multitudes of great news, views, research, and insight from The Iceberg and Partners can be found by meandering through Issue #106 below…


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