Lifestyle - Juin 2016

Interview with Claire de Longeaux, Finaki Event Brand Director

This month, we'll speak to Claire de Longeaux to share with her a new event format at Comexposium: the working groups thanks to the purchase of the events FINAKI.

Claire, FINAKI is a company that was acquired in November 2015 and is now a part of the RAI&D Division. Could you tell us about it?

Finaki was created 25 years ago. Finaki events focus on the IT world and take place three times annually in France, three times annually in Germany (where Comexposium now has a subsidiary), and once annually in Italy—a key event in Europe.

The France team (in Montigny-le-Bretonneux)

Anne-Valérie Péro – Event Manager
Aline Picard – Event Manager
Jérome Fourmont – EuroCIO
And Sylvain Jouanny, founder and consultant for Comexposium

The Germany team (Munich):

Peter Kohler – Managing Director
Marion Modes – Management Assistant – Project Coordinator
Nathalie Brescia – Project Manager
Bozana Vardic – Project Assistant

The Italy team (Milan):

Hélène Fonte Iozzino – Marketing & Event Manager
Giorgio Bongiorno – Content

What makes these events unique?

First of all, where they are located (Comexposium had not held any events in Germany and Italy before) and the places themselves chosen for the events.

They are unique because of their format: we are familiar with trade shows, fairs, One-to-One events, and conferences, but Finaki offers working groups.

What do you mean ?

Guests come to think about the challenges and the future of their profession in workshops with their peers—service providers or guests (up to 20 participants)—with eight to ten workshops per session. All of that happens over three days, in a beautiful setting far from the office.

One unique feature is that participants leave with content. Their reflections, discussions, conclusions, and more are compiled into a working paper, a document available in their private online space in PDF format. The working groups are popular because they offer a space and time where everyone can talk and discuss without any stakes. They help people evaluate their career, profile, and profession.

How does it work ?

A president is chosen beforehand each year for each event, and workshop facilitators (and their evaluators) are assigned. The users create the agenda and lead workshops under the guidance of the president, named by his or her peers.

In France, guests do not pay to participate while service providers do.
In Germany and Italy, all must pay admission, but not the same price.

The two groups are more or less equally represented at the event.
Each participation request is considered and approved by teams. To participate in workshops, people must be well-versed in the subject, committed to their peers, and ready to participate in discussions.

This is especially true because, on the last day, twenty-person groups or ‘discussion constellations’ are brought together, with a panel representing each workshop. All participants will then share with the others what they experienced in their workshops. This interactive set-up makes summaries livelier and further involves each participant, as each becomes a summarizer and listener by turn.

The facilitator is in charge of compiling what has been said in a document (template provided by Finaki) with the following categories:
*We found it! (key conclusions of the session)
*Let’s go deeper (among key conclusions, please develop one further)
*We are still searching for (unanswered questions)
*Convergences & divergences
*A picture is worth a thousand words

Example of document (in French).

All three days aren’t just filled up with Claire-style workshops?

No! There are also presentations (round tables and keynote speakers), the content of which is made available to participants on their private online space.
As for networking, activities (skiing, mountain biking, tennis, golf, pétanque, visits to tourist and cultural attractions, wine tastings, and more) are an excellent opportunity to form new bonds, whether through chatting with peers or meeting a service provider.

There is even a programme with guides (not just from the IT department) which would make any travel agency pale in comparison!
All of this takes places in a convivial and relaxed atmosphere, which can mostly be attributed to the teams that know and take care of all participants.

Off the top of your head, what are all the Finaki events?

  • The 'Entretiens des Arcs' (a telecoms event) in France, its German counterpart SYSKOP,
  • The 'Entretiens d’Opio' (a software event), its German counterpart INKOP, and its Italian version Gli Incontri (ICT).
  • There is also a day in Germany for pitching innovative ideas, Innovation Summit.
  • Then there is the European CIO Conference (EuroCIO), with a more traditional format with sponsors, that brings around 80 IT departments from large European businesses from around fifteen countries.