CIM 2020/1 Focus

Nature and the human factor

// Katharina Brauer

People make the difference. Precision targeting must be the credo for organisers. The new appreciation of nature promotes sustainability, is inspirational and brings new insights.

City in a Garden: Singapore is a pioneering green city. Photo: CIM/Katharina Brauer

What can we learn from the complexity of our times? Sascha Lobo takes stock. Photo: Kiepenheuer und Witsch

Reorientation. “Reality shock means that we have to give up decades-old certainties because, among other things, we are being confronted with an overdose of world affairs and complexity,” says journalist Sascha Lobo, explaining the alarming title of his new German-language book “Realitätsschock” (reality shock). The acronym VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) seems like good shorthand for our confusion at a world coming apart at the seams. When it comes to taking decisions, it is inevitable that trade-offs increasingly have to be considered. When dealing with customers, it is important to always remain flexible.

Customers today are empowered stakeholders who want clarity throughout the value chain and to have an input. “People make meetings”, the theme of the Meeting Experts Conference (Mexcon) on 29 and 30 June 2020 at Messe Berlin’s Hub 27, takes that into account. The fifth event organised by the German Convention Bureau (GCB) and the European Association of Event Centers (EVVC) will focus on how passive consumption is being superseded by active engagement and will also offer plenty of scope for interaction.

Customer focus is the number one priority for providers in innovative Singapore. “We have to respond dynamically and creatively to the sophisticated demands of participants and turn our events into meaningful experiences,” says Aloysius Arlando, CEO of SingEx Holdings Pte Ltd. With his two new products, ApeX and FleX, Arlando can create event experiences that engage all the senses. “We have studied and analysed customer behaviour in great detail. In addition to using innovative technology, we are also responding to it with new food and beverage concepts,” says Arlando. At the third Singapore Fintech Festival, one of the company’s own events, which will be held at Singapore Expo from 9 to 13 November 2020, food will be on offer from a variety of points at all hours of the day. 60,000 visitors are expected. The farm-to-table concept enables Head Chef Richmond Lim, who can call on a team of nine external caterers, to offer fresh regional produce. Special dietary requirements based on religious considerations will, of course, be taken into account.

Event caterers in Germany, represented by the Leading Event Caterer Association (LECA), also take dietary requirements into account. They are seeing an increasing demand for vegan dishes.

Greenness, nature and health have taken on a new, higher priority and are becoming the focus of events. Singapore, the “City in a Garden”, is again setting a good example. In addition to two million trees, 350 parks and gardens and 303 hectares of nature reserve, the city state has high-rise buildings with living walls and an artificial tropical rainforest with a high waterfall by the airport. The vegetation is designed to stabilise the ecosystem of this extremely densely populated city.

Nature is also the talking point of IMEX Frankfurt, which will be held from 12 to 14 May 2020, underlining how Mother Nature is the planet’s most valuable resource.

“It’s easy to overlook or not even realise the wisdom of nature and how much she has to teach us. Nature can also help us to design events, unlocking creativity and boost our abilities to solve complex challenges and increase event results,” emphasises IMEX CEO Carina Bauer. IMEX will be a chance to consider what we can do for Nature, and what Nature can do for us. In addition to sustainability, a big theme for IMEX, there will be a focus on the power of nature to inspire under the banner of “Magical Places & Spaces”. Special urban and natural landscapes will be presented. Speakers and exhibitors will also present case studies illustrating our innate attraction to nature (biophilia) and design based on biological principles (biomimicry).

The wisdom and inspiration provided by nature can be experienced only by those who are open and go through the world alert to and aware of its wonders. Self-care is required for that. Renata Brand, who used to work at the GCB and is now a self-employed coach, offers a workshop in natural surroundings for people undergoing change processes. Successful Swiss author Rolf Dobelli also has advice on how to be more open and inspired. In his latest book, “Die Kunst des digitalen Lebens” (The art of living digitally), he urges his readers to radically cut their consumption of news online. Instead of subjecting yourself to constant media fire, you should focus on your area of expertise and take advantage of curated offerings such as conferences and specialist media. The attraction of cutting back on news is that you free your head and gain time. For those who want to reduce the contrast between nature and technology only slightly, there is good news from Japan. Mui Lab is offering digital devices that fit discreetly into a natural wood strip that blends in well with furnishings.