Roberto Pistolesi analyses the data on attendees and guests at this year’s Open Forum, examining why it was the most popular with delegates since 2016 and how it offers insights not available from other IP events.

FICPI’s 18th Open Forum, which took place in Vienna from 9 to 12 October 2019, was a great success with high delegate numbers and good participation in the Forum and the associated social events.

The 2019 Forum was attended by 391 delegates and 84 guests.

The overall number of attendees was comparable to that of the 2017 Open Forum in Venice, which was attended by 385 delegates and 96 guests, and higher than that of the 2016 Open Forum in St. Petersburg, where 341 delegates and 96 guests were present.

This year, notably, registrations for the Open Forum were made so early that bookings had to be closed about a month before the event, as the capacity of the main hall and spaces for the working lunches had already been reached. Registrations for the 2017 Venice Forum closed about two weeks before the event.

Around 120 people joined the first-time attendee/new members reception, including about 20 senior FICPI officers. “Ice Breaker Bingo” stimulated interactions–first attendees had to answer questions about the FICPI officers who attended the reception. The winners received free drinks ticket to be used at the FICPI lounge bar in the hotel.

IP Practice Management sets FICPI apart

The above data demonstrates an increasing interest in FICPI Open Fora, fuelled by the working programme and speakers, not merely by the important historic and artistic value of the locations chosen.

Analysis of attendances at the working sessions reveals an increasing interest in the IP Practice Management Stream compared to past Fora, which was confirmed by the answers provided by the delegates who completed the delegate satisfaction survey that was circulated immediately after the Forum (read Ivan Ahlert’s article “FICPI’s Vienna Open Forum 2019: a flavour of the programme” for more information).

The focus on IP Practice Management is undoubtedly one of the features that makes FICPI events unique, compared to those organised by other national or international IP-specialised NGOs.

FICPI goes mobile and gets playful

The 18th Open Forum was also notable because it coincided with the launch of the new version of the FICPI mobile app. This can be used for several purposes, such as staying up to date on the latest developments at the Forum, to obtain delegate lists and speakers, or to arrange meetings with other delegates.

The use of the FICPI app was also actively promoted at the Forum through the “Gamification” activity. Delegates could earn points by attending working sessions, visiting exhibitors, answering questions and doing other activities that could be carried out within the app. The prize for the winner was a free registration to the 19th Open Forum in Cannes.

Two delegates, who coincidentally also shared the first name, namely Christian Wende and Christian Riege, obtained the highest number of points. During the prize giving at the gala dinner, the two very sportingly decided to share the prize.

Around 78% of the attendees used the FICPI app during the Forum and about 28% of the delegates played “Gamification”.

Forum’s social side

The last set of data analysis relates to attendance at the optional excursions, which were all sold out but for the golf tournament.

120 people attended the visit to the Schoenbrunn Palace on Wednesday afternoon; on the following Saturday, 110 people attended the excursion in the Danube Valley; 39 people attended the Spanish Riding School show; 14 people went mountain biking (a new initiative for FICPI); and 16 people participated in the golf tournament, which was won by Susann Jendricke.

Looking ahead to 2020

The venue for the 19th Open Forum, which will take place in Cannes, from 7 to 10 October 2020, has been selected with a view to the need to host more people than at recent FICPI events.

FICPI’s view and involvement

FICPI’s Open Fora are traditionally well attended by members and guests. Seeing delegate numbers increase tells us that these events continue to be popular and the delegate satisfaction survey demonstrates that the topics discussed are relevant and timely. FICPI members benefit from a beneficial delegates’ registration fee and the opportunity to enjoy high quality speakers and presentations in enjoyable global locations. Connections and friendships can be forged over strong shared interests during the conference programme as well as during the social events.

Next steps

  • Make a note in your diary of the dates for the 2020 Open Forum in Cannes https://ficpi.org/events-and-training/events/ficpi-19th-open-forum
  • Consider which of your colleagues, industry or government connections would benefit from an invitation to the event
  • Check which CLE/CPD credits you could gain from attending the 2020 Open Forum