Six scenarios for the meeting space of the future

Six scenarios for the meeting space of the future
Foto: Ludmilla Parsyak, © Fraunhofer IAO/contrastwerkstatt -


End of first project phase delivers results for the event industry

Germany is Europe’s top location for conferences and congresses. To ensure Germany stays on top, Fraunhofer IAO is collaborating with numerous business and tourism partners on the Future Meeting Space research project to analyze developments in the event industry and develop innovative event formats.

Germany’s importance as an international event venue for conferences and congresses is constantly growing. In order to sustain this successful state of affairs well into the future, the event industry will have to create new and innovative event forms that reflect societal changes such as digitalization and globalization. To this end, the German Convention Bureau (GCB) and the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) founded the Future Meeting Space innovation network in early 2015. The network is working with Fraunhofer IAO to research trends, innovations and developments in society that could have a potential effect on the event industry. After 18 months, the first of three project phases has been successfully completed.

Core of first project phase – Six Future Meeting scenarios

Societal trends, together with various approaches, methods and technological developments in the event industry were initially collected and prepared in an innovation catalog. Then, with the help of expert interviews and focus groups, the requirements for the meeting spaces of the future were teased out – interactivity, flexibility, short-term availability, time efficiency, safety and experience. The real core of the project, however, are six scenarios for future event formats, each of which fulfills different requirements. For example, the “total analog” format presents a unique experience for the generation often called digital natives. In this scenario, participants travel to a secluded spot for several days to focus exclusively on the content presented – with no Wi-Fi and no network connectivity.

Second project phase ready to go

While the first project phase of the “Future Meeting Space” innovation network focused on innovative event formats and scenarios from the provider perspective, the second project phase will reflect a shift in perspective to the participant’s side. From March 2017 on, various participant types will be surveyed on their reactions to event spaces. The study aims to discover how the use of different methodological and technological tools affects participant types differently. Within the project’s 18-month duration, there will be a particular focus on success factors such as user acceptance, knowledge transfer and learning progress. Specific plans for practical application will be developed from the results.