Positive Impact is a non profit organisation set up to provide education, training and inspiration for the event sector. Follow us to keep up on articles on how to create a truly sustainable event industry.
Taken from the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018
Positive Impact's CEO Fiona Pelham is at the Commonwealth Games in Australia to report on the impressive sustainable work being done at the event.‘Share the dream’ is the motto for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018). it’s ‘a call to action to go beyond passively observing the event.’
Event organisers around the world will always benefit from observing the themes of opening ceremonies: in fact, many event planners may find these themes echoed in their CEO’s address during annual conferences. Here are our top 3 insights we think are useful to event professionals taken from the opening ceremony of GC2018.
In 2017, Positive Impact led a campaign to tell the story of the power of events during the UN Year of Sustainable Tourism, and asked event professionals to say why they believed events were important. Over 33% of respondents gave the same answer: events inspire behaviour change. GC2018’s motto, and the meaning behind it, sends a message to the world about the power of events to inspire, inform, and create positive change in the world.
Sustainability is no longer a point of difference theme. As people’s expectations shift it is becoming the norm, and no verbal explanations are necessary. In GC2018’s opening ceremony the finale piece was white whale Migaloo, Australia’s most well-known humpback whale, who became the backdrop for visuals that created the great barrier reef. Event organisers are responsible for providing the practical actions which demonstrate the authenticity of emotive statements, and so far, the organising committee of GC2018 are showing that they understand this.
Stakeholder engagement is the new ‘health and safety’. This opening ceremony was a game changer in its acknowledgement of indigenous culture and leadership, demonstrated through the creation of a reconciliation action plan which is likely to influence all events throughout the commonwealth. Those event organisers who don’t consider themselves likely to be working with indigenous groups soon, would be wise to view this as an example of the growing importance of stakeholder engagement. Queensland Tourism and GC2018 have spent over 4 years engaging with various stakeholders, and one example is their work with the Sustainability supply chain to create the Gold Coast as a sustainable event destination.
An opening ceremony provides inspiration which reaches beyond those directly involved with the event, and lasts beyond the timeframe of the event. GC2018 have set the stage for an event and an experience which goes beyond our watching, and which gives us the chance to understand how our involvement can make a difference.
This month at Positive Impact we are asking experts in the event industry of their top tips on collaboration; whether this be collaborating with colleagues in the workplace, collaborating with your local community, or collaborating with event companies all over the world.
Fiona Pelham, CEO of Positive Impact:
"My main tip on collaboration is something I actually struggle with doing- that is to listen to the other person and what they are trying to communicate. The piece that I find a bit easier than that is to recreate, repeat, or reword what they are communicating so that they really understand that you understand them.
A second tip I would have for collaborating is just think beyond all the barriers that exist; something I really enjoy is imagining that anything is possible and going into collaborative conversations with that mind-set. Sometimes this method does not work because the people that you are collaborating with are used to rules and used to parameters, and cannot really think on a very big scale. But I have to say that as a small business owner, I have been running the businesses I run for over ten years now, we have definitely been involved in more world-shaking, world-changing projects because myself and—through my training—the rest of the team have taken that approach."
Janet Sperstad, event professional and senior professor in event management at Madison College:
"We collaborate when we have an open mind. What collaboration really is, is that you listen not with pre-conceived notions but you listen for new ideas and you change perspective. Our brain is a prediction model, we’re always looking to predict, so we immediately think: 'okay I know what they're going to say, I know what the answer will be' and that shuts off parts of the brain that allows us to think more critically.
Collaboration happens when we shift perspective and we take someone else’s view and bring it into our own and create new ideas and so looking at people as a gift, that everyone has a unique perspective and something to offer. And if we change our perspective, what am I suppose to learn from this person, what is it I can take away, we will listen differently, so that mean we will open our mind differently, open up our whole mind."
Sandja Brügmann, international speaker, author, and founder of the Passion Institute:
"Collaborating has become the cornerstone on my own leadership journey. The vision is the same: how do I create positive impact in the world through my life? Where before I was focused on the big vision, now I am more focused on the individual people I collaborate with. My focus of where I nurture is on the individual level of one-on-one relationships. Nurture each relationship; the basis of that is shared values and shared vision. You can certainly collaborate with people who aren’t necessarily clear on their vision yet, but know the general direction [of where they want to go].
Primarily find people that are at your same level. [People who have] a very clear vision, very clear values, because then your growth journey and the results you create in the world are going to be much clearer from action to results.
I used to not like being given feedback because I would take it personally, or it would be hard for me. It depends on how you see it: if you see it as a critique, then it is really difficult to grow, and you push away the very ability to help lift each other up. During this feedback session, I know there were things that were said that would have been difficult for me to deal with in the past, and now it’s like ‘that’s so interesting did I do that?’ ‘How can I do things differently next time?’ It’s really helping me to be a better facilitator and doing a better job in the world.
Julie Pazina, National Director of Sales at Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services:
“So much of collaboration comes down to positive communication between others. [We need to] really truly listen to people and truly understand where everyone is coming from. I think that is fundamentally the basis for collaboration is positive communication and listening.
I was president and still on the foundation board of the Las Vegas hospitality association. [One of the forms of collaboration includes] the ‘Fill a Bag With Cheer Program’. It’s something that is really meaningful to our group and we work every year to find a different school so it does mean working with the Clark County School District to find a school which has a high percentage of students that are really in need & that are in distressed situations, and we put a bag together at the holiday time every year. Filled with blankets, shoes, all sorts of clothes, healthy snacks, toys, school supplies, to really try to make the holiday season a little bit brighter.
We work as hard as we can from so many different members of the association, different members of the community to help the school. The councillors of the school are able to identify the kids most in need and to provide the space to really make these kids’ holiday dreams come true.
Everyone in our industry can definitely say that multitasking, and being conscientious are hugely important because you have to follow up on so many details; it can become very important to become multitasking and very organised. Every experience we have in our lifetimes brings us to where we are today. I look back to things I have learnt whilst I was a child, the things I have learnt from when I was on the show floor, as well as the things I have learnt when I was with Fill A Bag With Cheer: they are all things I have used on a continuous basis and definitely part of my daily role at Edlin as well as my run for State Senate."
Sylvia Schenk, chair of the working group on sport at Transparency International:
"My experience always needs one or two people to start the process and, at least for the beginning, to continue to work on it. [This allows us] to bring people together, to share information and so on and then usually after a specific time it gets a dynamic of its own: so for example we are collaborating now three and a half years on the international level with organisations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, football professional players, international organisations, trade unions and others on the issue of major sport events, human rights and anti-corruption. And in the beginning we first invited them to Germany.
In the beginning everybody was curious on the one hand and on the other hand sceptical how it will help each of our organisations and what will it be about. And then after two meetings we realised that every organisation is winning by joining- and now we have a really good relationship and many successes. If you see that a change can be made, take that step and invite people to join and its okay if people are wary at first, but keep doing it, because then it will become normal to come together and sharing."
This month, as part of International Women's Day, our theme is 'How can the events industry use gender equality to promote a sustainable future?'
The United Nations states that gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world.
By providing women and girls with equal access to education, decent work, healthcare, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes, the UN believes this will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.
This month as part of our #CollaborateforGood series we spoke to Sandja Brügmann, a sustainable communication, business and sustainable leadership thought-leader, international speaker, author & founder and managing partner of The Passion Institute.
Sandja discussed the importance of collaboration and how we can collaborate most effectively: "Collaborating has become the cornerstone on my own leadership journey. The vision is the same: how do I create positive impact in the world through my life? Where before I was focused on the big vision, now I am more focused on the individual people I collaborate with. My focus of where I nurture is on the individual level of one-on-one relationships."
Underlying the gender equality challenge is a lot of unconscious biases, in both internal barriers -so each person inherently carries these biases themselves— as well as external biases that are culturally engrained. The most important thing that we can all do shift that agenda is to work on our subconscious biases, and catch ourselves.
— Sandja Brugmann
Sandja also shared with us her tips on a sustainable approach to the events industry:
Tip 1; Educate yourself on gender! Take courses & read up on how these issues are engrained in us. You may not think you have gender biases, but unconsciously you do!
Tip 2; Find people to collaborate with that are on your 'level'. Look for people with a clear vision & values, because then the results you create are going to be much clearer from action to results.
Tip 3; Always be open to feedback! Looking for ways to improve your methods can help you become a better facilitator and do a better job in the world.
Featured Case Study
At Positive Impact we know it is only possible to tell the story of the power of events in collaboration. This year our theme is #CollaborateForGood and as part of this, we are creating media collaborations that make a difference.
To give you more idea of how our media collaborations work (with the goal you may get inspired on your own collaborations) we spoke to Carina Bauer from The IMEX Group. See the full case study by clicking on the button.
This month's roadmap
A Roadmap is a visual plan that communicates where you want to get to, and can be shared with your customers and supply chain. A good roadmap will have at least one objective which your customers and supply chain can help you achieve and a number of inspiring ideas and tactics which you can work towards.
At Positive Impact we work to provide sustainability resources and education materials to all. It is essential for us as a not for profit, that we have the support of others to enable us to reinvest any money received through donations straight back into providing more education for everyone, and moving one step closer to creating a sustainable event industry. In essence, by making a donation you are supporting us and more importantly are a key part in our mission to create a sustainable event industry. Support Positive Impact to achieve our vision of a sustainable event industry.
This month, as part of International Women's Day on Thursday March 8th, our focus is the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of gender equality. As we use our case study series to explore the potential of our industry to inspire and deliver on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, it makes sense to focus on a company which consistently champions gender equality within their journey to sustainability.
The IMEX group is a leading company in organising global trade shows in the meeting and the events sector. IMEX Frankfurt has been operating since 2003, whilst IMEX America, based in Las Vegas, began in 2011. Both trade shows offer unprecedented business opportunities combined with a great industry gathering. Exhibitors at the trade shows include hotels, cruise lines, airlines, spa resorts, tourist offices and more. The company also champions sustainability within its events and its education of global brands and leaders: for example, IMEX produces a tailored 'Sustainability Exhibiting Guide' given to every attendee at the yearly event, offering top tips and advice for improving sustainability at the event and in businesses around the world.
To find out more of IMEX's sustainable work within the business and meetings events industry, please click the link below!
#CSRshareDay is an online 24 hour twitter campaign where across the globe organisations and people engage in conversations discussing CSR and sustainability. Each hour a host will be discussing a particular topic to do with CSR, this year the topics are based on the United nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The confirmed hosts for this year, their chosen topics and the time that they will be hosting is listed below in the #CSRshareDay hosting schedule.