Sundial Group not afraid of technology stealing their thunder

It would be easy to
read Fay Sharpe’s recent comments on Virtual meetings to replace 20 per cent of ‘ritual’ get-togethers in two years which claims
‘up to 20 per cent of ‘ritual’ face-to-face meetings will be replaced by virtual
meetings’ and feel deeply concerned for the events and meetings sector.

However,
I believe that trying to attribute specific outcomes to the rapid march of
technology is a risky pastime. The
combination of mind-blowing advances in technology and financial austerity will
indeed cause fundamental changes in the way people work, communicate, share and
create knowledge, but not necessarily with the most obvious outcomes.

The broader technology driven picture is that
organisational structures are being re-invented. Teams are replacing
hierarchies; projects are replacing routine administration and access to data
is ubiquitous. 

Sundial Group has hosted ‘management
training’ for almost 50 years but I have been amazed at how rapidly this is
changing. Corporate learning and
development was dominated by ‘chalk and talk’. The information age with its immediate access to the world’s data has
made most of this classroom learning redundant. This could have spelt the end of management centres but it hasn’t, there
have never been so many dedicated venues.

Nowadays corporate development is all
about the creation rather than learning of knowledge.  Communication is the lifeblood of this way of
working. Traditional teaching has been
replaced by skills development, team working, creativity and experiential
learning.

Strangely one of civilizations oldest
events, due to take place this summer in London is helping to accelerate
another organisational change. The anticipated
disruption to commuters is driving the already established trend of remote
working. Some of the most traditional
industries and professions have realised that the day has arrived when they
don’t need everyone in the office every day. Leading consultancies such as Corpra are developing and testing
strategies for this summer that will drive irreversible change in commuting
culture. 

So what might be the bigger picture for
venues and the future for face to face meetings?  I believe that organisations will move away from the day to day
office based environment but instead will look to bring people together as and
when there is a need. They won’t want to maintain expensive HQ buildings
capable of housing all office staff at once but they will want to use the most
conducive environment, tailor-made for a project to be launched, reviewed or
shared and for team face time to accelerate innovation and create knowledge.

Technology is indeed changing how we work
but I firmly believe that the human need for physical proximity as an adjunct
to the communication experience will be with us for a long time. There may indeed be growth in remote meetings
but at Sundial we are focused on how the future will drive a need for the best
face to face meeting environment because we believe the need has never been
greater.

Any comments? Email conferencenews@mashmedia.net

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Author

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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