NOMINATIONS for 2022 will open in September.

IAPCO Driving Excellence – Innovation Award, supported by IMEX

Finding creative solutions to meet the frequent challenges encountered when organising an international congress is a day-to-day occurrence, however, such initiatives and indeed innovations frequently go unrecognised. This Innovation Award is to recognise those individuals who find the creative solution!

Rules of Entry

• Entries can be nominated by an IAPCO Member
• Entries are limited to one staff member per Member, but any staff member, whether from a Company Member or a registered Member Office, is eligible.

The Prize

The Winner
• Glass trophy, presented at IMEX to the individual winner
• IAPCO education voucher for the Annual Meeting for the individual creator
• Glass trophy given to company of individual
• Speaking slot at following Annual Meeting for the individual winner
• Entitled to display the Award Mark on their business cards, stationery, biographical details/cv.

• plaques given to all shortlisted
• 2 tickets to IMEX gala evening for those shortlisted

Submission – Closed (next opens in December)

The submission needs to include:
• 50 words – biographical details of the individual being nominated
• 50 words – biographical details of the PCO Member
• 50 words – about the event (if applicable to an event)
• A 250-500 words abstract of the creative solution within the following categories
– Outlining the challenge
– The approach and solution to the challenge
– The outcome


The IAPCO Council will judge the entries, based on the written submission noting the degree and complexity of the challenge and the success and creativity of the solution/outcome. Those shortlisted (maximum 3) will be invited to attend the IMEX Frankfurt Gala Evening (2 tickets per entry) where the winner will be announced.

Current Winner

Jakel Lin, GIS Group, receives the IAPCO Driving Excellence Innovation Award, as supported by IMEX.
As was the case last year, this years’ ceremony took place virtually. The award introduced by Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX, and Martin Boyle, IAPCO CEO, was nevertheless celebrated by an international audience of meeting professionals.
The ceremony followed the IAPCO Impact Dialogue dedicated to Innovation and Cyber-security, a topic of well suited, given the digital nature of all entries to the race.

IAPCO CEO, Boyle, said ‘The last 18 months have been challenging meetings professionals beyond what we could ever had anticipated. However, adverse conditions also allowed us to witness the blooming of innovative digital solutions and creative virtual experiences. We have proved once again how adaptable and resilient our industry is.

Jakel Lin with the GIS Group created a successful hybrid experience that will become a benchmark for hybrid congresses in the future. The perfect use of technology – including holograms – combined with a well-designed programme created the perfect engagement experience for both in-person and virtual audiences.

Not surprisingly, but for the first time, our 3 finalists all competed with digital solutions. The results were close and all deserve our applauds for their creativity.

The finalists for the 2020 IAPCO Innovation Award (awarded in 2021) were:

  • Juliano Lissoni, MCI Canada
  • Uzi Drori, Kenes Group, Israel
  • Jakel Lin, GIS Group, Taiwan

The IAPCO Innovation award is in its seventh year. Supported by IMEX, it celebrates these innovations and creative solutions, where individuals have met a challenge and gone the extra mile to deliver above and beyond our clients’ expectations.


Previous recipients of award

Winner 2019 (awarded 2020)

Monica Fusaro and Marta Calderai, AIM Group International, were the celebrated winners of the IAPCO Driving Excellence Innovation Award, as supported by IMEX.  In a break from tradition, the awards ceremony took place during the IAPCO #WinningWebinar as part of PlanetIMEX titled ‘Olympians and Meeting Professionals – not so different after all’, with inspirational speakers, Panos Tzivanidis, Director at International Olympic Committee – Corporate Events and Services and Victoria Thornley, Olympic Medallist for Team GB – Rowing. The winning team introduced web TV to their clients’ congress to broaden the reach of its high-quality scientific content.

IAPCO President, Lahav, said ‘Striving for Excellence, Professionalism, Resilience and Determination are just four qualities that meeting professionals and Olympians have in common. 2020 has been a challenging year, where we saw a complete landscape change in the meetings industry.  Face to face meetings were postponed and cancelled.  We as meeting professionals, have had to adapt quickly and deliver innovative solutions to continue to organise valuable business meetings in virtual and hybrid formats.’  


Winner 2018 (awarded 2019)

Elvire de Chalus of Colloquium was the celebrated winner of the IAPCO Driving Excellence Award 2018, as announced at the impressive IMEX Gala Evening in Frankfurt. Christophe Painvin was delighted to accept the award on Elvire’s behalf, presented by Mathias Posch IAPCO President.

The Innovation Award is part of IAPCO’s programme of Driving Excellence Awards and is designed to celebrate an innovative achievement. Mathias Posch stated “Our Conference Managers are confronted daily with growing customer demands and the challenges of an ever-changing economic environment. Our two finalists this year Elvire de Chalus, Colloquium and Veysel Guzel, Kenes Group were confronting very different problems – be it to co-locate an event that grew to 15,300 delegates in a venue fit for 8,000 or to create a brand-new application that addresses the ongoing issue of financial management in a complex international industry like ours. Both have displayed operational excellence and innovative spirit that showcases the incredible talent that we have in our industry.”

Winner 2017

Amber Chen, Assistant Vice President, GIS Group Taiwan was announced as the winner of the 2017 IAPCO Driving Excellence Innovation Award at the spectacular IMEX Gala Evening.

For the 3rd EcoMobility World Festival in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, the awardee transformed a local neighbourhood into a ecomobile community – a live demonstration of how to create an urban transportation culture within a historic neighbourhood. In addition – through effective story telling – children were educated on the benefits of ecomobility. Creating a true legacy, the green transportation introduced continues to be used in Kaohsiung City. “Many talk about sustainability, but our awardee today is truly walking the talk”concluded Mathias Posch, IAPCO President

The results were close and both runners-up deserve recognition for their innovative concepts around meeting design: Rosa Garriga Mora, Kenes Group and Christina Gotze, Congrex Switzerland.

Winner 2016

Elizabeth Winter of African Agenda was the celebrated winner of the IAPCO Driving Excellence Innovation Award 2016, as announced at the impressive IMEX Gala Evening in Frankfurt. Corne Koch of Wesgro Convention Bureau was delighted to accept the award on Elizabeth’s behalf, presented by Jan Tonkin, IAPCO President.

Elizabeth’s award winning innovation was a “standing discussion”, a session, which took participants out of their comfort zones and brought them together to share ideas in a lively, structured discussion. Experiences and knowledge were shared and new ideas sparked, as all corners of the session topic were explored. The bonus connection of improved cognition and physical movement to strengthen learning, improve memory retrieval, and enhance motivation and morale was not missed by the participants who scored the sessions highly when surveyed post conference.

Elizabeth stated ‘Being innovative does not necessarily imply being an inventor, we suggest it implies assessing a situation, a need, an audience and crafting a concept in order to shape a solution. This is an example of that.’

Winner 2015

Jan Tonkin, President of IAPCO, was delighted to present the 2015 Innovation Award to Yoshihito Takahashi from Congress Corporation, Japan at the IMEX Gala evening.

Yoshihito’s innovation was an app, which streamlined the process of participant attendance for lunch seminars. This ensured that there were none of the dreaded queues and delegates could check availability for the seminars in real time, all with the added bonus of being completely paperless. “Thank you very much for this prestigious award. I am very happy that my innovation was evaluated in this way by IAPCO, that sets the standards for our industry,” said Yoshihito Takahashi, Congress IT Director of Congress Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, “This is a great honor and will stimulate me to strive even harder to come up with more beneficial technology for our industry that is constantly evolving, into the future”.

Winner 2014

The First Winner announced at IMEX
Andrew Dergousoff, of ICS Canada, was announced as the winner of the inaugural IAPCO Innovation Award at the IMEX Gala Evening at Frankfurt Opera House in May. The new award for PCOs attracted numerous applications, and the three short-listed nominees were presented by Council to the audience at IAPCO’s Annual Meeting in Lisbon, for delegates to vote on the nominees’ innovative ideas, implementation, and successful contributions to their companies.

In addition to Andrew, and his work on virtual meetings, the short-list included Magdalina Atannassova, of AIM Group Bulgaria, for work involving social media, and Dohyun Kim, of MECI Korea, who worked on public relations strategies. All three candidates showed very high levels of understanding of the meetings business, along with a great capacity for integrating innovative solutions, but there could be only one winner. “I could not be more delighted,” said an overjoyed Andrew. “It was a real honour just to be shortlisted, but to win…that was something I only dreamt of. It is a fantastic recognition.”