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How to create meaningful business events: Future Meeting Space presents 2023 research results  

Creating Meaningful Events

The new study report prepared by FMS highlights which strategic and content-related elements are needed to create such meaningful events, also providing specific recommendations on how these elements can be effectively implemented in practice.

FRANKFURT – Using an engaging “late-night show” setting, the Future Meeting Space (FMS) innovation network presented the key findings from its latest research phase, which was concluded in 2023. Headlined “Creating Meaningful Events in Challenging Times”, the research project focused on developing innovative event elements that deliver a lasting impact and genuine meaning for attendees. The full research report is now available for download free of charge, and the recording of the livestream from Frankfurt will also be made available shortly. Future Meeting Space was initiated almost ten years ago by the GCB German Convention Bureau and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO.

While business events are effective and versatile platforms for knowledge sharing and networking, they are, however, in need of readjustment, given the multitude of global challenges and transformation processes we are faced with. When people decide to attend an event they expect some added value from it, such as getting new insights, memorable experiences, being inspired or a special personal experience. In a nutshell, events need to leave a positive lasting impression.

“The future of business events is full of potential. In particular, the ongoing rapid development of AI and the steps taken to make our industry more sustainable are taking business events to new levels,” says Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of the GCB. “The German business event community is driving this development with expertise and creativity, which contributes to securing valuable shares for Germany as a meeting destination in a dynamic international competition.”

While the research results were presented by the GCB and Fraunhofer IAO as lead research partners, the FMS team had also invited two expert guests to join them for the event which was live streamed from the “memox” meeting space in Frankfurt on 22 January: Zoe Nogai, expert for Gen Z and New Work, and Tanja Bauer-Glück, expert for leadership and diversity, highlighted the practical implications of the research project’s key findings and provided context from their respective perspectives.

Effective Use of Event Elements 

The FMS 2023 research identified five key event categories, i.e., “Knowledge Gain”, “Community Building”, “Bridging Gaps”, “Providing Inspiration” and “Emotional Experiences”. They all represent fundamental event objectives and enable organisers to identify their own specific goals. In addition, the large number of event elements assessed by the FMS team, which are assigned to the event categories, provide practical orientation and guidance for the organisation and implementation of meaningful events. “The term ‘meaningful’ refers to creating events with meaning and purpose, a lasting impact and positive experiences for the attendees,” explains Dr Stefan Rief, Head of Organisational Development and Work Design Research Unit at Fraunhofer IAO. “Ultimately, the intention behind all this is to have a positive impact on both the attendees and society as a whole.”

Preview: 2024 Research Phase  

With the 2024 topic “Emerging Opportunities, Persisting Classics, Fading Models: Business Events in a Transformative Era”, the transformation of business events will continue to be the focus of the ongoing applied research efforts of the FMS innovation network. The GCB and Fraunhofer IAO, together with their partners, will identify which processes, products and services in the business events ecosystem will remain, disappear and newly emerge in the future.

The aim of this explorative research is to identify opportunities for all stakeholders along the customer journey of business events at an early stage and enable organisers and event service providers alike to make well-informed, data-driven decisions.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.