Meetings No 29
The Metaverse: A Digital Reality
Atti Soenarso ponders the emergence of ‘metapresence.’
Cover Story
Time Spent in Offsite Meetings Is Even More Valuable
In a time of growing disruption and increasing pace of change, we all have to absorb more information faster than ever.
Psychological Meetings
The Delusion of Powerlessness
Hans Gordon on overestimating our abilities and the futility of predicting the future.
The Art of Reading and Writing
Bye, Bye Powerpoint – A Lesson to Learn from the Amazon Success Story
Amazon has found a way to effectively harness the silent power of introverts and sifting out bad ideas in the process.
Association Day at IMEX 2022: Where High-Value Insights Meet Real-World Recommendations
A chance for association professionals to review and discuss the steps needed to meet the challenges of a world reshaped.
Hybrid Events
Moving From Virtual to Hybrid Events
Hybrids will likely see widespread adoption as F2F meetings re-emerge from the pandemic for a number of reasons.
The Stuff Galaxies Are Made Of
You are dancing, ever vibrating, cosmic energy. We all are. We have no other choice.
Distance Meetings
Everyone Should Be Allowed to Participate in Distance Meetings on the Same Terms
Why KTH lecturer Jens Edlund has opted out of hybrid meetings altogether.
47 Rules to Lead the Field in Uncertain Times (Important)
Robin Sharma enthusiastically shares that what makes us human is our ability to invent. And to endure. And to overcome.
I Have a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore
Roger Kellerman on facing a world where old rules no longer apply.
key highlights
Move Over Covid, the Business Travel Industry Tackles
New Considerations on its Continued Road to Recovery.
hotel news
Scandic’s largest hotel to date opens in Copenhagen
- Nordic spa and chef from Michelin-starred restaurant.
Helsinki Airport
Best Airport in Northern Europe.
Stockholm is number one
Corporate Knights
inaugural Sustainable Cities Index ranks 50 global cities.
15-18 November 2022
International Aviation Conference
lands at MCEC bringing $4.7m to Melbourne’s economy.
hotel news
to take over Hotel Opus in Horsens, Denmark.
business intelligence
mci group
drives the digital evolution.
hotel news
Historic Scandic Holmenkollen Park
reopens in new attire.
business intelligence
Vienna on top in the 2021 ICCA ranking:
Austria Center Vienna sees clear upturn in conferences.
At Takina 2025
Wellington makes history
winning digital preservation conference.
Sponsor Logo
Sponsor Logo
Sponsor Logo
Sponsor Logo
Sponsor Logo
Sponsor Logo
Sponsor Logo
Sponsor Logo
I Have a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

These days our present is often referred to as the new normal. Since the pandemic we’ve had hybrid meetings arrive alongside face-to-face meetings like a new cousin from the country – in a best-case scenario making online meetings a bit more fun, if the production is professional enough. And while the technology itself has been around for years, the pandemic suddenly and effectively kicked us a bit further into the future. Ready or not.

Now, we face a world where old rules no longer apply, and where we obviously need to look at things in new ways. One such way, of trying to help perhaps increasingly lost or disoriented meeting participants, is to learn what lateral thinking is. Lateral thinking means to use an untraditional approach to an issue that may provide unexpected or straightforward solutions to complex problems. The concept was introduced by Edward de Bono in his book The Use of Lateral Thinking as early as 1967.

In contrast with traditional problem solving, where you directly address the problem at hand, lateral thinking requires you to instead spend time thinking about different ways of viewing the problem. Only after that do you get into the actual work of finding solutions. Non-linear problem solving is often referred to as obliquity, the concept of reaching a goal without aiming directly for it.

There’s a latin saying – Speramus meliora, Resurget cineribus – which translates to: ‘We hope for better things, It will rise from the ashes.’ By walking through smouldering ruins we may discover puzzle pieces allowing us to create something new.

But have we really gone through such a significant change that we can claim to be rising from the ashes? That is certainly debatable. Financially, there is little doubt that we have, as the business events industry has indeed been hit hard. But can the congress part of the industry really stay significantly reduced over several years’ time? Do we simply not have to have personal meetings between researchers and thinkers to keep up the pace of development and innovation?

All forms of scientific and cultural research at universities deals with in-depth studies and the deepening of knowledge. Specialists keep digging deeper and deeper. But the outside world’s knowledge and understanding is not increasing at the same rate as the specialists’. We are not only in need of people who are digging deeper. We are also very much in need of people who are connecting all the deep excavators by building horisontal tunnels. And that is just what’s happening when people meet at congresses and events. We need to meet each other in person, form personal connections, and to sustain a lasting exchange of knowledge and ideas.

The title of this column is taken from a famous line in the film The Wizard of Oz, which according to researchers at the University of Turin, Italy is the world’s most referenced film. In a black and white rural Kansas, a tornado sweeps farm girl Dorothy (played by Judy Garland) and her dog Toto away from the life they know, bringing them to the magical land of Oz. At the moment they step onto unfamiliar ground, the 1939 film (the first mainstream release in colour) changes from black and white to bursting Technicolor, underlining the chasmic shift in surroundings. A bewildered Dorothy cautiously takes this strange landscape in, then says to her campanion: “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Every time the playing field radically changes, in everything from music and culture to politics and business, people keep referring to this pivotal scene of movie magic. And I think it’s safe to say that pretty much everyone in the global business events industry would have to agree that we are defnitely not in Kansas anymore.