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“Forget thinking outside the box, make a new one”, associations told

Alessandro Cortese urges delegates at the Association Meetings Conference to avoid the 'Gilette effect'

International association meeting planners picked up tips on innovating their events at the Association Meetings Conference on Monday.

The day, a precursor to The Meetings Show this week, saw 140 meetings professionals from associations, professional conference organisers, association management companies, venues and destinations discuss the challenges facing their events, at Church House Westminster.

Among those associations represented were the Standing Liaison Committee of EU Speech and Language Therapists and Logopedists, Diabetes UK, and the International Association of Public Transport.

In his keynote speech, the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology CEO Alessandro Cortese, told delegates to create value for their attendees through innovation, rather than attempting to capture value from tried and tested methods.

“You have to create a new box,” he said. “Innovate around a concept – for example the iPhone is not a creation but an innovation on already existing technology.

"Try to avoid the Gillette effect – adding new blades to increase sales. Apple for example is looking for the new box. But if it do not have it, there is very little value creation and a lot of value capturing. For example with networking, you need to think of new ways to meet that networking function.”

Additional sessions saw customer value expert Phil Allen address the audience on why planners should all speak more to their members and potential, while delegates were also given an insight into the Mobile World Congress, and tips on securing sponsorship.

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