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Fresh thinking and future thinking: creativity and trends explored at IMEX America

Susan Robertson
A shot of creativity goes a long way to remaining competitive and addressing future trends. This is the view of Susan Robertson whose mission is to ‘sharpen strategic creativity to produce real results.’

In her Play Room session at IMEX America, Are you solving the wrong problem? , she showed attendees how to approach a challenge from a new perspective in order to come up with new ideas and innovate. Susan, who delivers a creative thinking course at Harvard University, explains, “Einstein said ‘If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spent 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions’”.


Susan’s was one of many innovative session in the Play Room, the creative hotbed of the show, enabling planners to get hands on with tools, techniques and resources to develop new ideas and make meetings more interactive. It includes a dedicated innovation corner for out of the box thinking and an engagement corner for tricks on how to create a deeper and richer audience experience. There’s even the chance to set a Guinness World Record by tackling the ‘Beer Coaster challenge’! 


Creativity and future thinking go hand in hand, as fresh thinking ensures planners can address forthcoming trends and incorporate them into their business. The German Convention Bureau gave an insight into the future of meetings in Research and innovation: See the future of meetings today. Attendees discovered trends in knowledge sharing, tech and meeting design from the Future Meeting Space – a project by the German Convention Bureau (GCB), European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) and The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO. The GCB team, including Claudia the avatar, ran through future meeting scenarios and examples of how these have already been put into practice in Nuremburg, Leipzig and Munich.  

From future meeting scenarios to future meeting attendees. Shawna Suckow, founder of SPIN: the Senior Planners Industry Network, delivered a session on Suppliers: how to connect better with today's planners. Shawna explained how to ‘break through the clutter’ and build relationships through client testimonials and face to face networking as well as best practice tips for social media communication. 

Communication and fostering relationships formed the core of MPI keynote speaker Tami Evans. She encouraged attendees to embrace their ‘inner dork’ as a way of truly connecting with people and increasing engagement and productivity. Self-confessed ‘perpetual optimist’, Tami advised delegates to ‘put perfection on pause’ in favour of embracing personality and passion in her energetic keynote Half full of it: activating optimism and other hard-core soft skills. Her glass half full approach encouraged planners to be happier and healthier in both their professional and personal lives.

She left delegates feeling energised ahead of the final day of the show as Joanne Dennison from The Ordinary Success Project, who attended the keynote, explains: 
‘Tami rocked it! She showed people how to transfer her positive messages to their work on the show floor. She was certainly an energising speaker – perfect for our last day here at IMEX.’

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