The Big Conversation kicked off at International Confex in 2016. It started the official recognition of a change process that sees universities and industry professionals working closer together for the benefit of the entire events industry.
One of the aims was that there would no longer be debates about ‘Qualification versus experience’, as both have their place and the aims agreed at Confex emphasised an end to divisive approaches once and for all.
Jackie Mulligan co-founder of the Big Conversation was quoted at the time “seeing so many industry stakeholders and graduates at the launch event has highlighted the recognition of the importance of this issue. There is urgency required to work to improve collaboration across the board so that academic institutions can further strengthen the competitiveness of events businesses. However at an individual and company level, as well as within universities, it is clear that opportunities are being missed and we need to work on how to address this”.
Since Jackie’s talk at Olympia, there is anecdotal evidence that universities and students and businesses are working better together. Universities have been developing links with businesses and encouraging ‘guest speakers’ to come in and talk to their students.
In addition, Jackie and I presented to the AEME conference at Buxton in 2016, which further encouraged academic institutions to follow up and get closer to the businesses in their area.
One more recent example of Universities getting involved with businesses was at the ‘Event Connect’ held on the 11 July at Manchester Metropolitan University. More than 50 event planners came along to share insights alongside lecturers. All of the knowledge and experience would then be passed on to the students.
To date, a number of corporates, agencies, associations and suppliers have been involved in making their voice heard in the Big Conversation. Now that the momentum is building the Big Conversation is only going to get louder.