Ben Hainsworth is the Executive Director of the K.I.T. Group. Having been Director of the Congresses and Meetings Division at the European Society of Cardiology, Ben has more than 25 years’ experience working in the congress and meetings industry.
Can you explain what your association does and your own background?
I work for the K.I.T. Group, a professional conference organiser who manage associations and their events. We have a headquarters in Berlin and offices all over the world in places such as Paris, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Beijing. I previously worked for a leading European medical society in France.
How does the theme of ‘Knowledge Creation’ reflect what your association does?
For better or worse virtually all our associations depend on congresses to generate funds for other activities. Congresses are fundamentally knowledge-curating and processing platforms. Other knowledge-based activity high on the association agenda are journals, guidelines, surveys and educational products.
What trends have you observed with this theme and do you anticipate any upcoming trends?
Digitalization means that everything is becoming increasingly multi-channel and multi format. The creation process is becoming more participative and less top down. The strategy of finding ways to leverage knowledge to further the association mission is becoming more joined up, and knowledge creation and delivery are being weaved into ongoing community engagement. This is different from the silo approach of the past, where different forms of content and media existed side-by-side but were less complementary of each other.
How can associations implement this to create their own impact work?
We help associations appreciate the value of all the content lying around and how much can be achieved by organizing under a strong brand. It takes a huge amount of work and has to be constantly worked on. Technology is crucial but you really need the experts to bring the knowledge to life – identifying it, repurposing it, bundling it and making it easily available.
Do you have any examples of excellent impact/legacy work you’ve observed either within your association or out with, in relation to this theme?
One client took their event to India as part of a broader strategy to enhance global relevance and impact. In India this particular speciality is not very well defined or developed and tends to be covered by generalists. So we used existing content and contributors to put together a DIABETES 101 stream at the event that would help non-specialists access essential leading advice from experts in a digestible way. This is a lasting legacy for Indian professionals looking after kids with diabetes.