Event management lessons from Barcelona

Blog - Oct 15, 2019

Barcelona is a magnificent city, but that’s not the topic of this story.

The topic is the fact that a view on global issues depends on GDP of the region where you live. This notion stayed with me through everything I got to see and experience in nearly two days of attending the Innovation Summit, organised in Barcelona by Schneider Electric (our outstanding partner).

So, the issues that raise concern among people with much higher average income than here in the Balkans are not geopolitical conflicts or showbiz scandals. They are concerned about what will happen with our world in 20 or even 50 years and are ready for hefty investments in that direction. Therefore, they’ve already started setting objectives that seem unattainable to us, such as Schneider Electric turning carbon neutral by 2030. Yes, that’s right – the company specialised in power distribution solutions (with power production and consumption accounting for 80% of greenhouse gases) will no longer disrupt the ecosystem of the planet where we live with its operations. They expect the same from their partners.

And they immediately started working on it. The Innovation Summit gathered 3500 employees of the company, their business partners and clients from all over the world. And around 150 journalists, also from all parts of the globe. Not a single sheet of paper was printed for their registration – the entire procedure was completed via emails. On the spot, at the press desk, they were registered by scanning previously submitted QR codes, directly from phones.

No press material was distributed to journalists. We received everything we needed to know about the conference, presented products, speakers by simply installing a special mobile app, downloaded from Google Play or Apple App Store, which (apologies to all our colleagues from the IT sector, but I have to stress this out) worked impeccably. Not even regular notebooks and pens were distributed.

There was not a single plastic cup at the conference. We had glasses and water in glass pitchers at disposal. And excellent coffee in real coffee cups. Nothing was thrown away.

Lunch was not based on meat. There was some, but delicious veggie and fish bites were more than dominant. And special dishes for vegetarians and vegans. And china plates, metal cutlery, you know what I mean. Waste – NADA. And this view:

Not a single sheet of paper was used for directions. A journalist tour through the venue was guided by a young man with a tablet installed on a selfie stick. Photos were delivered via a link. The conference branding material was made of wood (we knocked on it in disbelief). It will probably be used for the next summit as well.

Another amazing story was a fleeting 40-minute speech of the company CEO, Jean Pascal Tricoire. If convenient, you can pick up some extra tips for public appearance and relevant information about the future of business here:

And finally, the most important lesson I’ve learnt in Barca is that, despite all the challenges we encounter on a daily basis, we need to commit ourselves to putting all those nice words about preserving our planet into action. We are a part of it, after all. And why shouldn’t we start by replacing plastic cups with glasses at the next event? It pays off in the long run.



Ana Roland

Account Director (Represent Communications, Belgrade)

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