Archive for the ‘Projects’ category

Futurescape Issue 16 – Global Challenges

April 13, 2011
Welcome to the first edition of the Futurescape newsletter for 2011. In this issue we focus on global challenges that have been occupying our attention recently and some that we have identified as potential game changers on the world scene, specifically:

  • Unrest in the MENA region
  • Counting the cost of natural disasters
  • Econonic Power shifts
  • Terminator? More like Communicator!


It’s hard to believe how fast the first quarter of 2011 has gone. We’ve been busy working on a variety of client consulting projects and taking forward the 2011 programmes for the Convention 2020 research study and the Future Convention Cities Initiative. We are also running a study on the future of human resources and another on global trends and drivers for a US client.  We’ve also been responding to the tremendous interest generated by our Hotels 2020 study.

So far this year, client workshops, project work and speaking commitments have taken me to Las Vegas, Cancun, Melbourne, Adelaide, Geneva, Lisbon, Belfast, Berlin, Vina del Mar – Chile, Seoul, Gothenburg, Budapest and Frankfurt.

We hope you enjoy this edition and as always we welcome your feedback.

Copies of previous editions of the newsletter can be downloaded here


ROHIT TALWAR, CEO Fast Future Research

Tel: +44 (0)20 8830 0766

Signup for our newsletters / Download past editions at
Watch a short video of Rohit’s keynote speech on global trends  here

Please Take our Venues Survey

We have just launched our latest Convention 2020 Foresight survey. The survey focuses on innovation, future strategy, design, finance and future success factors for convention venues.

The report will be published at IMEX Frankfurt in May 2011 and all respondents will receive a free copy.

We hope the results will prove invaluable in plotting future venue strategy.  We will donate $1 to the Save the Children Fund for each survey response.  The survey can be accessed here Please share the link with colleagues who might be interested in the topic.

Student Case Study Competition

IMEX and Fast Future have launched a Student Case Study Competition. The goal is to identify examples from around the world of how business events, meeting venues and meeting destinations are innovating to prepare for the future. It is open to students over the age of 18 studying at an academic institution anywhere in the world.The authors of the two best case studies will get free travel and accommodation to participate in IMEX 2011 in Frankfurt. Case studies must be a maximum of 1000 words, in English and received by April 22nd 2011. Full details of the competition can be found here.



What will be the outcome of the wave of popular uprisings in the MENA region and what is the end game for the western intervention in Libya?

The last two months have seen a surge in popular uprisings and revolutions within the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf. The fundamental drivers of unrest in many of these countries are social inequality and employment. The OECD reckons 100 million jobs need to be created in the region by 2020[1].

The success or otherwise of the revolutions of 2011 – and of those existing leaderships that continue in power – will largely depend on the ability of their economies to create the necessary jobs.

Five Scenarios for the Future

We are suggesting five possible scenarios for how the situation could play out over the next 12-24 months.

1. People power – Popular revolutions unseat more Middle Eastern governments and internal pressure leads to increasing governmental transparency. Broadly democratic and open governance models are adopted and despite inevitable teething troubles, the prospects are encouraging. Relative stability acts as a catalyst for economic growth and encourages foreign investment.

2. Revenge of the despot – Stalemate in Libya gives encouragement to other embattled strongmen, leading to a mixture of regional repression, guerilla movements and in some cases civil war. In this scenario, economic opportunity declines overall and gives rise to more forms of extremism. Foreign businesses start to withdraw from all but the most stable of Middle East economies.

3. Ignition – Popular revolutions succeed in removing the current leadership in several states. In many cases we see the installation of Islamist governments either via ballot box or through force. Domestic tension and conflict continues in many of these states.

Several economies suffer from continuing domestic tension and the exit of foreign capital. Fears rise over the prospects of a war involving Israel and Iran and / or other regional agents.

(Image 1)

4. Volatility as standard – The divergent outcomes from 2011 failed to stem the real issue afflicting most MENA economies – the lack of enough small to mid sized companies to accommodate excess youth labour. This leads to a prolonged period of uncertainty where some weaker governments fail in the face of civil unrest and an uneasy and awkward geopolitical framework envelops the region.


5. As you were – A failure to sustain foreign intervention results in eventual victory for the Gaddafi regime over the rebel forces. The outcome gives courage to more oppressive leaderships across the region and unrest from Bahrain to Yemen dies out gradually.

A number of leaders across the region make serious efforts to create more jobs, encourage business start-ups and tackle underlying social issues. Social tensions remain with occasional flare-ups but the changes in Tunisia and Egypt are seen as exceptions rather than the norm. Foreign investment is largely targeted at the most stable and open economies and an uneasy relationship with the international community persists for a decade or more.



Is the world braced for increased incidences of natural disasters?

What level of risk should we be willing to accept in disaster planning?

What lessons have we learned from the events of the last few years?

The globe has been rocked by natural disasters with unnerving regularity in recent years. Pakistan suffered a devastating flood in 2010[2], China a similarly destructive Earthquake in 2008 and the worldwide H1N1 Bird Flu Pandemic has so far claimed 10000 lives.[3] 2010 also saw perhaps the worst disaster in recent history, the catastrophic Earthquake in Haiti, which took at least 220 000 lives[4] with an estimated economic cost of at least $14 billion.[5]

Recent events have demonstrated the fragility of even the most robust states in the face of natural disasters. The recent 9.0 magnitude earthquake near the Honshu region in Northern Japan has had a devastating effect.[6] Up to 25 000 people have lost their lives[7] and the World Bank has estimated the economic impact at up to $310 billion.[8]

The subsequent nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant on Japan’s East coast has highlighted the critical planning, financial and communication challenges and trade-offs at the heart of disaster planning.

(Image 2)

Ø  What level and frequency of natural disaster should we be planning for?

Ø  How much are we willing to spend on preventative measures against the most exceptional of circumstances?

Ø  How well does the public understand what is considered an ‘acceptable risk’ when planners decide on the level of disaster protection they will put in place?



Is the East’s economic dominance in the 21st century now a ‘given’?

Will the West go gently into the night or will the fight for economic supremacy become a bitter struggle characterised by protectionism and currency conflicts?

What strategies are the leaders of the G20, the World Bank, the IMF and other global and pan-regional institutions adopting for the economic shifts shaping are world? Are they running on the assumption that Asia – led by China and India – will be the dominant economic power of the 21st century? Or is there a sense that we’ll see a resurgent west standing toe to toe with its Asian counterparts on the economic landscape over the next 20-50 years?

The argument that the global financial crisis has expedited the transfer of economic power eastwards is one that has become increasingly popular. While the larger economies such as China and India slowed down, they didn’t actually go into recession. Many other emerging Asian economies endured a shorter and less severe recession than their western counterparts. The Economist [9] argues that this, coupled with generally healthier banking systems and debt structures, puts them in a strong position for growth.

(Image 3)

The global crisis may have removed previous competitive advantages from western economies but in practice, the trends were already underway and had signalled growing Asian strength for some time before the crisis.

Pre-crisis estimates from E&Y suggested the BRIC nations would contribute 40% of global economic growth in the decade from 2008 to 2018[10]. Others suggest that even with a recovery in the developed world, emerging markets will account for 70% to 75% of global growth every year for the foreseeable future[11].

The rise of Asian GDP as a percentage of the world economy (at purchasing power parity (PPP)) is notable – increasing from 27% in 1995 to 34% in 2009 [12]. Indeed the Economist notes that by 2014, Asia’s share of the world economy, at PPP, should exceed that of America and Europe combined[13]. They also estimate that by 2020 Asia could well produce 50% of all sales and profits for some Western multinationals, advancing from a typical range of 20-25% today.

The Institute for International Finance forecasts that for 2010 and 2011 combined net inflows of capital into emerging economies will total more than $800bn over the two years[13].



We’d like to finish with a fascinating take on Cyborgs from the recent TEDWomen event in December 2010. Here Amber Case takes a light hearted look at how we as humans are already Cyborgs and where the technology might take us. It’s only a few minutes long and well worth watching.

(Image 4)



One of the events I’ve most wanted to speak at was Innotown, and I finally got the opportunity to deliver a keynote speech at the 2010 conference. The conference is held in the picturesque Art Nouveau town of Aalesund in Norway and is a real feast for the mind and soul alike. This year’s line up of speakers is truly exceptional. Over two thirds of the tickets have already been sold with more than two months to go. It’s well worth checking out the programme and giving yourself permission to attend if you possibly can.



In the next few months I will be delivering workshops and speeches in the following locations – Lucerne, Brussels, Singapore, Berlin, Slovenia, Frankfurt, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Copenhagen.


Finally, a number of people have asked to re-publish our content in their magazines, blogs, websites and newsletters. We are happy for you to do this – if you want to republish any articles, please acknowledge the source, provide a link back to our website and let us know you’ve done it.


Many thanks and we hope you enjoyed this week’s newsletter.

Please contact me at if you’d like to discuss the possibility of me delivering a speech for your organisation in one of these locations.



[1] OECD, MENA Ministerial Brief,,3746,en_34645207_34645466_43401490_1_1_1_1,00.html

[2] Pakistan floods ‘hit 14m people’, 6 August 2010,

[3] A Disastrous Year: 2010 Death Toll Already Abnormally High, 11 March 2010,

[4] ibid

[5] Economic Cost of Haiti Quake Could Hit $14 Billion, 17 February, 2010,

[6] Japan quake magnitude raised to 9.0 from 8.9: USGS, 14 Mar 2011,

[7] Japan rattled by aftershock 1 month after tsunami, April 11, 2011,

[8] ibid

[9] ‘East or famine?’ February 25th 2010, Economist

[10] ‘E&Y report states BRIC nations to account for 40 per cent of world growth by 2020,’ India Brand Equity Foundation, 24th December 2008,

[11] ‘Emerging Markets: The new drivers of growth,’ by Janice Mace, February 4th 2010, Pambazuka

[12] ‘East or famine?’ February 25th 2010, Economist



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Global Industry Heavyweights Sign up to Fast Future’s Convention 2020 Study

February 2, 2010

Press release

For immediate release                                   28th January 2010

Global Industry Heavyweights Sign up to Fast Future’s Convention 2020 Study

Leading industry players and opinion formers from every region sign up as project sponsors and expert contributors – TrendWiki enables global contributions

Fast Future Research today announced the initial line up of sponsors, expert contributors and association thought partners for its Convention 2020 strategic foresight study. The research programme is designed to take a wide ranging and strategic perspective on the future of live events, venues and meeting destinations.

The project has also launched a TrendWiki powered by Data Rangers. Using TrendWiki, anyone who’s interested can enter their own views on the ideas, trends and issues that will shape the future of events. Full details can be found on the project website at which is being powered by Meetings Review.

The founding sponsors for the study are ICCA – The International Congress and Convention Association, IMEX the leading industry trade show and Fast Future Research. The first platinum sponsors for the study are Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Qatar National Convention Centre, The Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Conference Centre London, Visit London and BestCities Global Alliance (Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Melbourne, San Juan, Singapore and Vancouver). Kenes are the first gold sponsor. A number of other organisations are currently in discussion about becoming sponsors.

The Leading global authorities that have already agreed to become expert contributors to the study are Corbin Ball, Jon Bradshaw, Terri Breining, Professor Luca Favetta, Trevor Foley, Professor Joe Goldblatt, Susan Goldstein, Sally Greenhill, Elling Hamso, Laurent Haug, Paul Kennedy, Gerd Leonhard    , Arnaldo Nardone, Dan Parks, Rebecca Rolfes, Susan Sarfati, Amy Spatrisano, Edgar Valdmanis, Maarten Vanneste, Professor Ian Yeoman and Cliff Wallace. In addition, three associations have become ‘thought partners’ – the National University of Singapore Society, the Norwegian Computer Society and the Pacific Asia Travel Association.

Rohit Talwar, Project director and CEO of Fast Future said “The response to the study has been fantastic. The sponsors, experts and associations who have already signed up are all genuine leaders in the field from around the globe. They are engaging with the research process in a very active way to ensure they get the maximum benefit from their involvement. There is also a great deal of interest from others who want to get involved at all levels.”

Martin Sirk, CEO of ICCA said “We’re delighted to be a founding partner in what I’m sure will be seen as a ground-breaking piece of futurist work.  The project’s breadth across geographical areas and industry sectors, the range of partners and contributors, and the potential to stimulate debate and new levels of awareness about how much change is heading our way, are all unique attributes for a meetings industry initiative.  Meetings are a vital element in the Information Revolution, which isn’t just about bits and bytes: our industry’s potential capacity to contribute to the sharing and creation of global knowledge depends on how well we anticipate the future meeting needs of associations and companies, and I believe Convention 2020 will play a major role in defining this agenda.”

Carina Bauer, CEO IMEX Group said ““IMEX is proud to be a founding partner and heavily involved in the Convention 2020 research project. We are confident in Fast Future’s capacity to deliver truly ground-breaking research that will enable all sectors of our industry to look ahead to the future with confidence and insight. At IMEX 2010 (25 – 27 May) we will be offering numerous workshops and seminars aimed at enabling both planners and suppliers to understand and make use of the findings of Phase 1 of the research; as well as assisting the drive towards Phase 2 of the project.”

Ana Maria Viscasillas, 2010 Board Chair, BestCities Global Alliance said “BestCities Global Alliance is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor of Convention 2020. Such a benchmark research could help shape our future and how each of us play a role in this important market segment. Knowledge sharing and information exchange is one of the key foundations of our Alliance. Be it the sharing of business leads, market intelligence or best practices, the Alliance is committed to ensuring that the adage ‘knowledge is power’ always holds true. Therefore, it was with no hesitation that our Partners unanimously agreed to be part of the Convention 2020 project.  Case studies and ideas from Convention 2020 will define and expand the development of our industry, and BestCities Global Alliance is pleased to be able to play a contributing role.”

Leigh Harry, Chief Executive Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre said “The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is pleased to be an active participant and platinum sponsor of Convention 2020. As one of the newest and most environmentally friendly Centres in the world the Centre and its management team is well aware of its responsibility to actively participate in the ongoing development of the convention industry. There are many challenges facing our industry and currently insufficient detailed research and information to ensure that appropriate choices are made in responding to these challenges. The scope of this study and the breadth of participation in the study will generate an ongoing body of knowledge which can be used to ensure that our industry reaches its full potential in the areas of information sharing, communication and knowledge exchange. Equally this study will contribute significantly to the restructuring of our industry over the next twenty years to ensure that we can meet our environmental and social responsibilities.”

Tracy Halliwell, Director of Business Tourism, Visit London said“Visit London, the official convention bureau for London is delighted to be a platinum sponsor of ‘Convention 2020’. This is an incredibly important piece of research which will benefit not only London’s business convention industry but also event planners around the world. London is already at the forefront of so many innovations in science, engineering and design research that it’s only right that London also leads the way in research for the business and convention industry. This study gives us a platform to further London’s convention offer and to deliver the very best options to future businesses using London as their destination of choice.

Paul D’Arcy General Manager, Qatar National Convention Centre said “Qatar National Convention Centre is delighted to be a platinum sponsor of Conventions 2020.  As we continue to construct the Middle East’s newest convention and exhibition centre, this research will help us shape our business model to best meet the needs of the global meetings industry.  Following the vision of Qatar Foundation’s Chairperson, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned and, as the newest venue in the region, our aim is to set the benchmarks for the industry in the Middle East in terms of venue design, service excellence and corporate and social responsibility.  The breadth of this study will assist us in achieving these goals and remaining relevant well into the future.”

Sue Etherington, Acting Commercial Director, The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London said“The QEIICC is delighted to be a platinum sponsor and key supporter of this excellent initiative by ICCA and IMEX, ensuring that the industry understands the needs of a rapidly changing market and client in these challenging times. As we move forward into the next decade, The QEIICC is fundamentally aware that the structure and challenges in the conference market are radically changing and, for us to be able to compete and thrive in this ever challenging market, we need to understand where our clients, and therefore the market, is leading us and where we might have to be in 2020.  We look forward to being actively involved with ICCA, IMEX and Fast Future on driving this important research project forward.”

 Paul Kennedy MBE, Chairman of MEETINGS:review said “We are delighted to host this important and ground breaking research which compliments perfectly our commitment to thought leadership in the global meetings industry. Fast Future are addressing key issues for the sector and the research findings will help shape industry strategy in the next decade.”


Notes for Editors

Fast Future Research is a global research and consulting firm that specialises in studying the future of meetings, travel and the leisure industries.

ICCA is one of the world’s leading trade associations for the meetings industry, with 900 member companies and organisations in over 80 countries worldwide and covering all supplier sectors.

IMEX is the leading global trade show for the meetings and events industry which takes place each May in Frankfurt, and organiser of the new IMEX Americas event which will be launched in Las Vegas in October 2011.

For further details please contact

Rohit Talwar


Fast Future Research                                                                                                           

Phone +44 20 8830 0766        Mobile +44 7973 405145                                                                                                          

Fax +44 20 8830 4777                                                                                                              


Martin Sirk                                                                                                                                      CEO                                                                                                                                              
ICCA – International Congress and Convention Association                                                      
Phone: +31 20 398 1919
Fax: +31 20 699 0781

Carina Bauer                                                                                                                            


IMEX Group                                                                                                                            

Phone +44 1273 227311                                                                                                           

Fax +44 1273 227312                                                                                          

NPI Media interview: Convention 2020 study

January 6, 2010

Here’s an interview I’ve just done for NPI Media discussing our current Convention 2020 study:

Q. Briefly explain what the Convention 2020 research programme is all about?

A. Convention 2020 is a ‘strategic foresight’ study which has been launched with seed funding from the founder sponsors – ICCA, IMEX and Fast Future Research. The study is designed to help all members of the meetings industry prepare for the decade ahead and ensure they stay competitive.

The ultimate aim of the study is to develop rich insights into how the industry’s future may play out in order to make better decisions today. This means exploring different scenarios for how live meetings might evolve, considering a range of models of what events could look like and examining the strategic implications for venues and destinations.

The intention is to create a ‘living and growing’ online body of knowledge, case studies and ideas which will continue to expand and develop after the study completes in October 2010. A key goal is to use a highly participative ‘open’ research process to educate and inspire participants. Key questions to be explored in the study include:

•              Design – how is the thinking developing on what constitutes an effective meeting design and how could live meetings evolve by 2020?

•              Participant Experience – What will attendees and exhibitors want – learning, experience, content, style, ROI, technology and pricing?

•              Technology – How will the role of technology evolve in the preparation, delivery and follow up to events – who might provide and fund these technology solutions?

•              Event Owners – What will these needs mean for event owners and managers in terms of the design, marketing and business models for their meetings?

•              Venues – What are the implications for venues in terms of strategy, venue design, services, technology, marketing, business models and financing?

•              Destinations – What are the implications for how destinations promote themselves and influence  the capabilities of local venues?

•              Industry Suppliers – how are the needs of the events industry likely to evolve, what are the emerging opportunities, where will suppliers need to rethink their services, strategies and business models?

Q. Who should participate in this research?

A. We are keen to get participants from across the industry contributing from students to experienced practitioners. We are also bringing in ideas from outside the sector from disciplines that could have a bearing on how the sector develops – covering a range of topics such as the future of learning, economic trends and technology developments.

Q. How can the industry get involved?

A. Convention 2020 is a highly participative study with a wide range of opportunities for interested parties to get involved. These include:

•              Providing ideas on the design of the study and questions to be explored

•              Taking part in the two planned surveys

•              Taking part in workshops that we’ll be running in key locations around the world

•              Contributing to the ‘trend wiki’, blog and social media discussions

•              Becoming an expert contributor

•              Submitting articles and case studies

•              Joining the open sessions at IMEX

•              Following progress on the study website

•              Creating local dialogues at ICCA Chapters, colleges and other forums and adding the outputs to the website

•              Writing essays, creating videos and producing other materials that help stimulate thinking about the future of meetings, venues and destinations.

Q. How will you use social media for this research?

A. We will run a ‘trend wiki’ where people can go in and add their ideas plus expand on other people’s. we will have a variety of discussion forums in the social media.

Q. Is there a danger that such new communications tools will make Conventions obsolete in future?

A. Almost everyone sees the value of face to face and understands the qualitative difference it brings to relationships. However, the cost savings and immediacy of many technologies will create bigger rivals to live events. The challenge for the industry is to step up several gears in terms of the quality of what’s delivered and the provable value of event attendance.

Q. How important is such research in helping the industry plan for the future?

A. We and the other sponsors think this research will be critical in helping industry players map out their preferred futures. To have an impact people have to want to change – we hope the study will provide both an impetus to drive change and a set of ideas on how to evolve to the next level.

Rohit Talwar is the project director for convention 2020 and the CEO of Fast Future Research

Requesting Your 2010-2012 Business & Economy Predictions & Forecasts

December 14, 2009


I am writing to request your input on business and the economy in 2010-2012. I would like you to share your predictions, forecasts, expectations and wildcards to be included in our forthcoming book “FUTUREtweet — Bite Sized Insights to Help you Survive and Thrive in Turbulent Times.”

Everyone who contributes will receive a free electronic copy of the book.

This book is part of the new THINKtweet series which is comprised of 140 tweets. It should be fun to consume these predictions in this format, which makes it an impactful, concise and very easy read. I will be co-authoring the book with Rich Goldman, VP, Corporate Marketing & Strategic Alliances, Synopsys, Inc. and CEO, Synopsys Armenia and myself, CEO and Mitchell Levy Author of a series of annual forecasts over the last few years.

Feel free to share 1-3 predictions, forecasts, expectations and wildcards (low probability, high impact events) as either single sentences or short paragraphs (less than 140 characters). We are looking for a total of 140 tweets. Please e-mail, or hit reply to respond by Dec 18th. When you send your response, please give the attribution you’d like us to give you in the book (e.g. Name, Title, Company Name). If you are interested, we’ll also include your photo and two-line bio on our Web page featuring the book.

Here’s a little background:
Since 1998, Mitchell Levy has been making predictions about next year’s business and economic environment. Books in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 were published with these predictions. You can read more about “Happy About Knowing What to Expect in 2009” at or at Amazon. We’ll share an eBook with all contributors. If you’d like to see last year’s book, please let me know and we will e-mail a copy to you.

Thanks in advance for your contribution. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail or call me.

ICCA and IMEX Announce Meetings and Conventions 2020 Study

December 14, 2009

27th November  2009

ICCA, IMEX and Fast Future Announce Launch of Ground Breaking Global Study on the Future of Meetings, Venues and Meeting Destinations

Futures research methods to be adopted to create a wake-up call, challenge old assumptions and drive new thinking across the industry

ICCA – The International Congress and Convention Association, the IMEX Group and Fast Future Research today announced the formal launch of Convention 2020 – a groundbreaking research study looking at the future of live events, venues and meeting destinations. All three organisations have become founder sponsors of the study. Discussions are underway with a number of other potential sponsors.

The study is being conducted by Fast Future Research and will explore the underlying trends and drivers that could shape the industry over the next decade. The aim is to develop a range of models and scenarios for how live meetings might evolve over that time period. The study will centre on understanding the ‘meeting experience’ and the changing needs of live event attendees. These insights will help drive new thinking on event design, facilitate innovation in business models and highlight the strategic implications for venues, destinations and industry suppliers.

Martin Sirk, CEO of ICCA and Ray Bloom chairman of the IMEX Group – the founding sponsors of the study – explained that “We agreed to support Fast Future’s study because of their track record in doing high quality futures work, the innovative and comprehensive nature of the proposed study and their willingness to contribute their own funds to support a study for the benefit of the entire industry.”    Sirk went to say that  “the research programme is designed to answer very practical questions such as what will attendees want from live events, how will they maximise their learning and how can they ensure a worthwhile return on their investment of time and energy.  For event owners, venues and suppliers it will help them consider how events could be funded and the implications for the design, services, technology platforms and business models required for successful meetings and venues.  Finally it will help meeting destinations think through the strategic implications for developing and promoting themselves in a fast changing world.”

The study is also designed to ensure that the industry’s responds to the current downturn and future shocks in a strategic manner that ensures long term success.  Bloom explained that “The economic downturn has highlighted the importance of thinking ahead and preparing for an uncertain future. We all believe in the importance of live meetings – but belief is not a strategy. We need to challenge our assumptions, develop real insight into what the future may hold, and rethink our event designs and business models to help all members of the meetings industry prepare for the decade ahead and ensure they stay competitive.”

The study concepts were tested on attendees at the ICCA Congress in Florence on November 9th and 10th 2009. “The Response was phenomenal”, said Rohit Talwar– CEO of Fast Future Research – co-sponsors and research leaders of the project.  Talwar went on to add that “The interest in becoming a sponsor was overwhelming. Meetings companies, venues, destinations and industry suppliers from around the world all recognised the strategic value of the insights the study would provide. They could also see the benefits to their brand from being associated with such a comprehensive and forward-looking piece of work that would receive global distribution and widespread coverage.”

Sirk explained that “We are at a crucial turning point for the meetings industry. The sector faces major challenges and opportunities arising from changing political attitudes to the meetings sector, technological advances, economic power shifts, environmental pressures, a deepening understanding of how we learn and evolving social attitudes. The research is designed to kick start new thinking across the meetings industry and engage people at every level in coming up with strateiges, ideas and solutions that will work in their local markets.”   The study will have three main deliverables – a report on a global survey on the future of meetings to be published in February 2010, a report on the ‘Future Meeting Experience’ to be launched at IMEX in Frankfurt in May 2010 and a final report on ‘Tomorrow’s Convention Centre’ to be launched at the ICCA Congress in Hyderabad India in October 2010.

The study will provide a number of web-based mechanisms to encourage participation and a number of workshops and seminars will be held around the world to provide input. Expert input is also a critical component of the study design. Bloom explained “A key feature of the study is the involvement of a large number of the industry’s leading experts in helping to shape the study and ensure the outputs stretch the boundaries of our thinking. We felt it was critical that we combined ‘outside-in’ thinking with real engagement from professionals and the leading thinkers across the sector. We are delighted that those on the cutting edge of industry thinking in areas such as event design, learning, business models, technology, event strategy and sustainability have all given their full support and commitment to participate.”

The intention is to create a ‘living and growing’ online body of knowledge, case studies and ideas which will continue to expand and develop even after the study completes in October 2010. Talwar added that “The aim is to go beyond traditional forecasting and use a range of highly participative futures methods to engage both event attendees and those in the industry to think imaginatively about the future of the sector in a fast changing world. We will make full use of both traditional futures methods such as trend scanning, scenario planning and expert interviews along with new tools such as social media dialogues and crowdsourcing to generate ideas and stimulate new thinking. ”

Full details on the study and sponsorship opportunity are available from The survey on the future of meetings can be found at .


Notes for Editors

Fast Future Research is a global research and consulting firm that specialises in studying the future of meetings, travel and the leisure industries.  ICCA is one of the world’s leading trade associations for the meetings industry, with 900 member companies and organisations in over 80 countries worldwide and covering all supplier sectors.  IMEX is the worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events and is an award winning tradeshow which takes place annually in Messe Frankfurt, Germany. Organisers, the IMEX Group, also run the new IMEX America – America’s worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events – which will be launched in Las Vegas, USA in October 2011.

IMEX 2010 takes place 25 – 27 May:

IMEX America take place 11 – 13 October 2011:

For further details please contact

Rohit Talwar


Fast Future Research

Phone +44 20 8830 0766

Mobile +44 7973 405145

Fax +44 20 8830 4777


Martin Sirk


ICCA – International Congress and Convention Association

Phone: +31 20 398 1919
Fax: +31 20 699 0781

Carina Bauer


IMEX Group

Phone +44 1273 227311

Fax +44 1273 227312