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Aussie Planner Presents Lighter Side of MICE at China Tradeshow

By Ian Neubauer in Shanghai

An Australian event professional offered a light-hearted presentation on business creativity at IT&CM China 2009 today (Apr 16) that contrasted starkly with the demure approach offered by other speakers at the MICE tradeshow.

Sydney resident Nigel Collin, who specialises in what he describes as the ‘strategic’ part of the sector, regaled the small audience of Western and Asian event professionals who attended his early morning education session entitled ‘When the Going Gets Tough, Creativity Counts’.

“I’m Australian, so if I talk too fast, please let me know,” he said, adding that he’d rather look at the session as a workshop rather than a presentation. “We are talking about thinking and being creative.”

Nigel Collin hams it up during a creativity workshop
IT&CM China

During the ‘workshop’, Collin outlines six essential factors that creative companies like Apple, Lego, Disney and India’s Tata Group share to encourage creativity in the workplace.

They include creating a physical space that is conductive to creativity; allowing time for ideas to find us, develop and mature; a clear understanding of one’s objectives; understanding parameters; avoiding assumption, i.e. things we assume to be parameters that are not necessarily true; creating a culture that fosters creative risk; and collaboration, which allows us to tap into the wisdom of the collective.

Western audience members reacted positively to Collin’s approach, offering feedback throughout the 45-minute workshop.

“The tone was appropriate for me because I could relate to him, probably because I am Western,” said Giltedge Travel director Hector van der Walt from South Africa. “But I am not so sure if the Asian delegates understood.”

But a delegate from Indonesia, Panaramatours director of sales and distribution, Hellen Xe, explained that while Asian audience members may not have appeared to appreciate Nigel’s approach, this was not necessarily the case.

“I think his approach works and was very good because it involved participation, because if it is too serious it is boring,” she said. “We are quiet people because of our culture but that is not to say that we did not like it.”