Meetings No 06
Thanks so much.
Cover Story
Johan Gorecki
Change Is Natural!
Psychological Meetings
The Psychology of the Meeting Place
or: How the Exterior Can Stabilise or Change the Interior.
Meeting Psychology
Hans Gordon
This book is based on my articles in Meetings International.
A Critical Perspective
When the Unique Becomes the Norm
An exciting paper that broadens our knowledge of the meetings industry.
Robin Sharma
Q & A on Leading Without a Title
Leave your ego at the door!
A Global Commitment
From the AIPC Award Winner for the World’s Best Convention Centre.
Kelly Goto
Etnographic Design
Business Intelligence
Convention Centres of the Future
We All Have a Role to Play!
A Brain Check
Charlie Caper
Sheer Magic
10 Questions to Graeme Barnett
The new CEO of EIBTM
Meeting Pedagogics
Respect for different solutions
business intelligence
ICCA and BestCities
announce 2019 winners of Incredible Impacts Grants.
businsess intelligence
Ottawa Tourism and The Hague Convention Bureau
reveal joint association and event marketing partnership.
vision, mission, passion
2031 Vision to encourage visitors
to stay longer and spend more in Brisbane.
IBTM World 19-21 nov 2019
The importance of mentoring
in the events industry.
new job
CWT Meetings & Events
Appoints Cristina Scott as Vice President of Global Operations.
Tech hub
ESOMAR chooses to ‘Make ItEdinburgh’
for Congress 2019 – the global data and insights summit.
business intelligence
London Retains Top Spot
for Meetings & Events in EMEA in 2020.
business Intelligence
Study on Europe
as a destination for meetings and conferences identifies growth potential in complex market.
ongoing strategy
Expoforum welcomes €700,000 subvention fund
to support St Petersburg’s international growth.
developing business
Congrex Switzerland’s client base is expanding
Acquisition of several new clients this year.
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Johan Gorecki: Change Is Natural!

“I’m not here to change the world. But I would like to make it a little better,” says Johan Gorecki the man behind Globe Forum 2004 with the business concept Bringing Innovations and Ideas to the Market.

The organisation has helped 140 companies to enter the market, which is only the beginning if you believe Johan Gorecki. He claims that the world is facing huge challenges in the areas of climate, poverty and dwindling natural resources.

“It’s not always obvious what the challenges consist of, what they entail or which solutions will work. Therefore, we must create a culture in which change is natural and where it is easier to be an innovator and come up with ideas. 
“Neither are solutions found solely by large companies or the academic sphere. They could just as well be found in the kitchen, bathroom or wherever good ideas are born. And the internet can register these ideas, suggestions and solutions.”

Globe Forum works with physical meetings as well as meetings on their online platform. Johan Gorecki does not think that the meetings industry has lived up to people’s needs, but more about that later.

Johan Gorecki left his safe Swedish villa suburb on graduating from upper secondary school and moved to Buenos Aires to work for an insurance company. He drove a moped between public agencies to get documents stamped.
“I felt very lonely, didn’t know a word of Spanish and stayed at an old woman’s house. I was shocked to see the slums, does this world really exist? It looked like a war zone. My father probably thought I would return as a director, but I came home with long hair, a necklace and bracelets. It was in probably in Buenos Aires that I discovered my real self and formed my own personality.”

He travelled to London, studied economics and worked for an investment company.
“The only thing they talked about was the banking world and the economy. It was a manufactured world, very synthetic. I felt that it wasn’t the real world. But I just did my job because I knew nothing else. Now everybody knows the consequences. They build avalanches in a non-existent world. Sooner or later this fabricated fantasy world would be exposed and confronted, as is happening at present. The bluffs come to light and everything collapses.”

In 1998, Johan Gorecki returned to Sweden and began working for the international media group Modern Times Group (MTG). 
“That was a fantastic experience. It was like being in a circus with unique artists. Pelle Törnberg, the CEO, was the complete antithesis of all the theories and structures I had learnt at school. There was also a bit of a buccaneering spirit. We broke the ethical and business rules. It was instructive. Focus was solely on sales and I was a good seller.”

After MTG, Johan Gorecki accepted an offer to help develop Skype together with two former work colleagues.
“At the beginning Skype was intended as a community wireless connection. It was not until later that it became what it is today, initially it was difficult to find financing, but things started to roll and it was then that I made my big blunder. I left to run my own set up; Skype was Niklas Zennström’s project.”

In 2005, Skype was sold to Ebay for $2.6 billion.

“You always make choices here in life and it’s not always easy to get it right in advance. That’s something I have to live with.”

Experience showed him the importance of planning, being able to adapt to the situation and having the courage to enter the unknown.

Johan Gorecki has always wanted to work with something truly global. He maintains that the demand, problems and urgent need of development will be in developing countries while much of the expertise, culture and structure will be in the western world. 
“The current system for innovators is too advanced and has too many barriers and disruptive forces. Financing is also difficult to get. If we build new bridges between these worlds then everyone benefits and we can contribute to progress.”

Johan Gorecki had no idea how to go about changing the system, just that he wanted to. He started Globe Forum, began looking into the possibilities of working with technology transfer from West to East and travelled to several eastern European countries.
“Russia is a lost market without a good business culture. The country is criminal and their antiquated legal system has stopped working. It’s an enormous capitalist society with massive segregation and poverty. 
“We were shaken by our experiences of eastern Europe. But there are exceptions: Poland is a good market and a good democracy.”

His next port of call was China. Johan Gorecki calls it a country with many problems that will soon become the world’s most influential country.
“Due to their lack of natural resources and energy sources they’re investing heavily in Africa. Not many people realise that China operates a non-cash system where it is difficult to sell a product; they offer you something in exchange instead. A lot is required for somebody to accept cash payment. There are no real purchasers in the organisations either, which doesn’t help. And if you’re looking to manufacture you’ll get no credit; payment in advance is the order of the day. Cash is king in most new markets. One important lesson we’ve learnt from our travels is that it would be a mistake for us to try to establish on the new markets.”

Back in Sweden, they decided to implement one of their basic concepts, an interactive platform or marketplace. 
“We knew that initially people would not be mature enough for interactivity, we needed physical meetings and that is our forum. Today our forum costs €450,000 for nearly a thousand people, mostly premises and technology. 
“We’ve established contact with leading dynamic cities. Last year’s forum was in Polish Gdansk, one year it was in Stockholm and Dublin, next year in Stockholm again followed by Eindhoven in The Netherlands.”

Johan Gorecki says they were naïve when they entered the meetings industry in 2004. They had no experience and made quite a few mistakes. Today they have learnt a lot by taking part in conferences and by testing their own ideas.
“Many congresses and conferences are nothing more than playgrounds for adults. During a two-day seminar there are perhaps two speakers who have anything to say that’s worth listening to. It takes them ten minutes. I talk with a couple of sector colleagues about something inspirational for ten minutes. The exchange for two meeting days is twenty minutes of vital information. Add travelling time and you’re up to three to four days.
“If we disregard the social aspect we can get all we need to know from Google. Therefore, the meetings industry must focus on people’s needs to find the right information during the congress or conference, and make it easy for us to meet the right people.”

Johan Gorecki is in the process of preparing a speech for a conference. He has asked the organisers for the delegates’ email addresses.

“The organisers don’t give them out. I asked if they were afraid that I’d use them in our business and they said yes. The meetings industry has a lot to gain from thinking outside the box right now as society is becoming increasingly transparent. Also, anonymous communication, advertising, is on the way out and relationship marketing is on the way in. Here meetings are an alternative if they can live up to the new era’s demands on transparency and collaboration.”

To enable visitors to their forum to optimise the information search and their experiences, the organisation is working with an in-house developed matchmaking system. 
“Before the forum meeting you can take contact with all the people who seem interesting. Let’s say that ten people tally with what I’m looking for. I book a meeting with them before the meeting and I already know a great deal about them. I can also read up, get new insights and ideas, send in queries and influence the contents. I create my own meeting.

“We know that those who come to our forum are satisfied if they can solve a problem and help others solve theirs.”

They have joint meetings to which everybody is connected. They can take part in 22 online sub-debates and in physical panel debates. They can then break off from this chaos and form smaller groups in a calmer setting.

In addition, the organisation engages a few icebreakers, that is to say people who are professional conversationalists. If they see a lone person in a corner they go up to them and begin to speak.
“Many people find it difficult to take contact. Our icebreaker helps to bring different people together. We also encourage people in group discussions to change tables to help them get as much as possible from the forum.”

Johan Gorecki says that they always have drama, dance and art groups in their forums. Each chapter is interpreted in some artistic way to inspire the participants.

“People want to become engaged and have experiences. Our way of working is greatly appreciated and gives us goodwill.”

The starting point for their forum and online platform is the business concept Bringing Innovations and Ideas to the Market.

One problem, of course, is knowing what to go for. What do people need, how should it be produced, materials, etcetera. And last but not least, the products and services they are willing to pay for.

Johan Gorecki has always believed in popular movements as a concept. 
“Sometimes when I’ve used the term I’ve been criticised. People associate popular movement with something negative, people who just complain all the time. But there is a strength in that. What are dictators afraid of? Large popular movements. Even media pressure is a popular movement. It becomes a movement surrounding an issue.”

Popular movements and collective intelligence have always been on the organisation’s agenda. According to Johan Gorecki they have a half million members worldwide. 
“They choose the best innovations. Today they let a person or small group conduct a due diligence process, a well worked-out investigation, before they make an investment. By using our members we improve the quality of this process.”

Globe Forum also works with micro financing, “crowd funding”. To share the risks, the organisations offer stakeholders the chance to loan innovators smaller amounts with interest.

“Those who wish to loan out money constantly see how our members rank different innovations and they can take part in realising them. We are working with Swedbank to solve the practical side of things.”

Globe Forum offers companies a service they call crowd funding and conduct surveys with the help of their members.
“I can’t name any clients but it could be a shoe manufacturer. Basically, one out of their ten drives is a real hit and nobody can afford nine flops. They can use their marketing and development department or let our market, our members, have their say on sustainable material, design, recycling, etcetera.”

The business is financed through partnerships and they are now working on attracting more partners. 
“It’s large companies that pay a hundred thousand Euros to get access to another approach, collective intelligence and goodwill.”

Johan Gorecki deems new approaches as being vital in finding and financing the best ideas. And there are many challenges to face. He sees the world population increasing by 40 per cent in the next 50 years amid a growing middle class and dwindling fossil fuel and energy resources. Energy and water will be the cause of world conflicts.
“The internet has created a tool that enables people to really communicate. As we speak, movements of concerned and committed people are being built up around the world.”

Globe Forum also tries to understand how the internet develops and to find its own identity. 
“When we’ve found it we can begin working more structured and with larger volumes.”