Thursday, September 30, 2010

Conferences ... high costs are certain ... value is unclear!

Dear Colleagues

Conferences are a big part of the modern world ... but what is the value proposition for a conference, especially big international conferences.

The following is an example ... It is the annual International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) ... now in its 14th year. The fee to attend us around $1,000 ... and then there is the cost of travel to Thailand and a few days in hotels in Bangkok.

Most would agree that these international conferences are fun ... but are they valuable? From what I know, it is not at all clear what value arises from these events.

This is my invitation to attend this conference!
Dear friends of the IACC,

The countdown has begun! As there are just 34 days left until the 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference kicks off, here is a list of important links for your preparations ahead of the Conference.

- click here to see the exciting line up of speakers at the Conference, recently updated! (new speakers include Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director of the World Bank; Veerle Vandeweerd, Director of Environment and Energy Group, UNDP; Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, and more!)

- see the attached document, hot off the press, with the complete agenda to decide which sessions you would like to attend and when! 39 workshops, 9 special sessions, 3 Peoples Empowerment Initiative sessions…so many choices!

- click here to see the workshops that will take place at the Conference, as well as the description of what will be discussed during these sessions (think fighting transnational crime; promoting water integrity; aid and budget transparency; integrity in the judiciary, and more!)

- click here for information on hotels in Bangkok – be sure to book right away!

With the Conference being so near, we will be providing many more newsletter updates in the coming days – do keep an eye out next week for exciting developments on a call for young journalists to cover the Conference - we’ll provide eight scholarships! Stayed tuned as well for more on the new “Peoples Empowerment Initiative” to be launched at the 14th IACC.

We look forward to seeing you in just over a month!

The IACC Team
International Anti-Corruption Conference Team
Transparency International
Alt Moabit 96
10559 Berlin, Germany
There are from time to time some conferences that galvanize the world to do great things ... but most are quite humdrum, and the value proposition practically non existent. The organizers make business ... the sponsors get some low cost PR ... and most participants are out of pocket financially, though they may have "take home" stories or more or less value.

There is value in meeting colleagues face to face ... and a few times this will be huge. Most of the time the meetings are not particularly consequential.

In the past I have challenged conference organizers to discuss the value proposition for conferences. Not surprisingly this is not of much interest to them.

This conference is about transparency and organized by Transparency International that is now more than fifteen years old. There is a lot of talk and conference activity around the issue of transparency and corruption ... but not a whole lot of progress, it seems, in making corruption go away. I argue that there needs to be appropriate accounting systems in place so that money is controlled in a way better way ... and I also argue for TBM value accounting so that there are better metrics about the value arising from resource consuming activities.

I want progress ... but there has to be "walk" as well as "talk"!

Peter Burgess

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