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Why you should attend the ISPIM Connects Bangkok 2020 innovation conference

On March 1-4, 2020, the ISPIM Connects Bangkok 2020 innovation conference will stop by in Bangkok for the first time. Both my current alma mater, the Institute for Knowledge & Innovation, South-East Asia (IKI-SEA), Bangkok University, and my innovation company Thinkergy are local partners to help the conference organizers create an engaging, memorable event.

In a couple of articles published in the coming months, I am going to make a case about why you shouldn’t miss ISPIM Bangkok 2020 if you’re interested in the field of innovation. Today, let’s kick-off by telling you more about ISPIM, what happens at an ISPIM conference, what audience it attracts, and why you should care to attend IPSIM Connects Bangkok, too.

Introducing ISPIM

ISPIM is the International Society for Professional Innovation Management, a non-profit organization that aims to advance knowledge and practice in the domain of innovation management. Formed in Norway in 1983, ISPIM is the oldest, largest, and most active truly international innovation network. 

Nowadays, ISPIM organizes 2-3 major innovation conferences per year. Each June, the main ISPIM conference takes place in a European city, attracting audiences between 500-700 attendees. This year’s conference was in Florence, and Berlin will host the XXXI innovation conference in June 2020.

Every December, ISPIM also organizes an innovation conference in Asia. From 2016-2019, ISPIM held conferences in North America (Boston, Toronto, Ottawa). However, as interest in innovation and attendance numbers have been much higher in fast-growing Asia, ISPIM’s board decided to host two conferences in Asia from next year onwards — starting with the ISPIM Connects Bangkok 2020 conference (focusing more on innovation in Southeast Asia), followed by the ISPIM Connects Osaka in December 2020.

Who typically attends an ISPIM conference?

ISPIM is not only like a typical academic conference where scholars present their research findings to peers. While academic track sessions form a key pillar of the conference program, they are supplemented by a wide range of practitioner-oriented keynotes, panel discussions, workshops, excursions, and other activities. 

Thanks to their heterogeneous programs, ISPIM conferences also attract lots of attendees from industry and the public sector, as well as experts, consultants, and practitioners working in the innovation field. This mix of people from different organizational ecosystems is one of ISPIM’s success ingredients, as the diversity of expertise and interests encourages fresh learning, boundary-crossing knowledge exchange, and discovery of new opportunities for collaboration.

What delivery formats can you experience at an ISPIM conference?

ISPIM goes beyond a vanilla academic conference by providing you with a myriad of different delivery formats used to convey knowledge and practical expertise in innovation. What can you expect to experience if you attended an ISPIM conference? ISPIM Connects Bangkok will feature:

  • Interesting keynote talks and plenum presentations from a mix of international innovation speakers (sharing global innovation insights and emerging trends) and local innovation practitioners (who present innovation success stories from Thailand and other ASEAN countries). 
  • Panel discussions that translate and discuss themes from the keynote talks in a Southeast Asian context.
  • Innovation challenges posed by local organizations but with global relevance, which the conference delegates will work on resolving in multicultural, multidisciplinary teams during two afternoon sessions.
  • Several workshops where innovation practitioners share up-and-coming innovation classifications, tools, and initiatives.
  • 4-5 innovation tours where smaller groups of conference delegates visit innovative organizations and spaces in Bangkok to showcase Thai “best practice” and “proudly created here” initiatives.
  • One-to-two dozen parallel academic presentation sessions (grouped into related topic areas such as “open innovation” or “design thinking”) where innovation scholars present their latest research. 
  • A Junior Researcher’s Lab where Ph.D. candidates and young Post-Doc researchers can connect with —and learn from— world-class innovation researchers and journal publishers. 

In the said project, the teams visited consumers and channel partners during the initial Xploration phase of our X-IDEA innovation process method. The project owners also invited the creative leads from their activation agencies to join a 3-day long IDEA workshop that concluded the major innovation project initiative. 

Why should you attend ISPIM Connects Bangkok 2020?

1. Present and publish your research

The ISPIM Connects Bangkok conference offers academics in the innovation field a chance to present their research to a high-quality audience of academics and innovation practitioners, which guarantees mind-expanding questions and quality feedback in the Q&A ending each presentation session. They can also publish their research in the ISPIM conference proceedings (with an ISBN and included online in the EBSCOhost and ProQuest databases) and, with a bit of luck, even in one of the nine international journals associated with ISPIM.

2. Realize you’re not alone

One of the loneliest groups of people in the world is Ph.D. candidates, who work for 3-5 years on an increasingly narrow research topic that no one in their environment seems to understand in all its intricacies. Are you pursuing a Ph.D. in innovation (or are considering doing so)? Come to ISPIM Connects Bangkok and attend the Junior Researcher’s Lab to connect with other doctoral students, to share know-how, tips, and frustrations, and to get advice from top scholars and editors of academic journals who once walked in your shoes and wish to help you succeed.

3. Learn and share

What does everyone working at the forefront of change regularly need? Up-to-date knowledge and fresh inspirations. Regardless of whether you’re an academic or practitioner from industry, the public sector, or the innovation domain, attending an ISPIM-conference for 3-4 days will provide you with plenty of fresh “dots” to connect to the innovation challenges you’re currently working on.

If you attend ISPIM Connects Bangkok, you:

  • will learn about current “hot topics” and emerging new trends and initiatives in the innovation domain.
  • will become aware that innovation can be viewed from different frames of references and at different scales.
  • may come in contact with —and may consider joining— one of ISPIM’s special interest groups dedicated to working on particular innovation niches (such as “Innovation and AI”, “Innovation Research Skills”, “Teaching & Coaching Innovation”, and eight other SIGs).
  • get a chance to experience a variety of different pedagogical delivery formats, among others.

4. Network and connect

Attending an ISPIM conference is a fantastic opportunity to meet and connect with like-minded peers, to reach out to accomplished academic luminaries and well-known innovation experts, and to spot new opportunities for collaboration in academia and business. And guess what? Some delegates met and connected at an ISPIM conference, fell in love with each other, and got married.

5. Enjoy the action and have fun

One of the success secrets of the ISPIM conferences is the social events that take place in the evening. Thereby, delegates go to exclusive venues or take cruises to dine and drink, sing and dance, talk and joke — and to make friends. The first social evening also features the ISPIM awards ceremony, where a few lucky delegates win innovation awards for their outstanding research papers and innovation contributions. 

Conclusion: Join the ISPIM community at ISPIM Connects Bangkok 2020

In December 2014, I attended my first ISPIM conference in Singapore. Ever since, I have attended at least one conference a year — and in some years, even all three events. Why? I presented and published my research. I learned about new trends and hot topics in innovation, expanded my viewpoints on the domain, and had the chance to share my know-how in workshops and presentation sessions. I connected with other innovation experts and fellow-academics, and I regularly exchange ideas and opportunities with some of these. I made new friends at ISPIM conferences. And at my first ISPIM conference in Singapore, I right away won an innovation award for a paper on my X-IDEA innovation method. So what’s not to like about ISPIM?

  • Would you like to learn more about the ISPIM Connects Bangkok 2020 innovation conference or about ISPIM?
  • Are you interested in presenting your research at ISPIM Connects Bangkok? Then, check out the call for papers, and submit your paper outline by December 6, 2019.
  • Would you like to sponsor the ISPIM Connects Bangkok 2020 innovation conference? Or get involved in any other way? Then, contact ISPIM’s Iain Bitran, Dr. Vincent Ribière (Managing Director, IKI-SEA, Bangkok University) or me and tell us more.

© Dr. Detlef Reis 2019. The article was published in the Thinkergy Blog on November 7, 2019. It will be re-printed in the Bangkok Post on November 14, 2019.