Innovation Award

innovation award

Latest award winner
Rules of entry
Previous recipients of the Award


IAPCO would like to recognise the pioneering work of our four Founding Fathers. To celebrate the tremendous efforts of these individuals, we have created an award to commend the most creative and high achieving young member of staff of an IAPCO member company. This Award is supported by IMEX.

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.’

The IAPCO Innovation Award, which is supported by IMEX, is in its third year and attracted excellent quality and varied submissions. Three finalists each created a video describing their innovation, presented to the audience of the IAPCO Annual Meeting in Dubai for the final vote. The results were very close and both runners-up deserve recognition for their innovative concepts: Susan Kilcoyn, Conference Partners International for Connect16; and Ziv Izackov, Kenes Group, for a technological innovation for ESPID 2016.



• Entries must be nominated by the IAPCO Company Member.
• Entries are limited to one staff member per Member, but any staff member, whether from a Company Member, International Office Member or National Office Member, is eligible.
• Deadline for submissions is 12 December [annually]


Innovations can be understood as genuinely new ideas, or as new or improved ways, of delivering congresses

Degree of Innovation (judging element 50% score) assessed as

  • the innovativeness of the delivery of a congress;
  • the approach and solution to a challenge;
  • a proposed product, service, process, technology;
  • OR the implementation, organisation or marketing models underpinning this solution.

Potential Impact (judging element 20% score) assessed as

  • the potential to create impact nationally or international by putting the spotlight on creating a legacy from the positive outcomes of a congress. 

Service Delivery (judging element 20% score) assessed as

  • the quality of service delivered to the client beyond the call of duty; support and level of service that assisted the client in superseding the objectives of the congress and/or the organisation. 

Potential for Sustainability and Scale (judging element 10% score) assessed as

  • the likeliness that ideas/innovations can be sustained and have significant, long-lasting and increasing impact and as their capacity to be inspirational for others. 


Using the online form located within the IAPCO Member Dashboard.

The nomination should include a 500-word statement outlining the candidates innovation referring to the criteria set out above, contain up to 3 graphics or images and should include a 50 word biographical detail of the candidate.   



The following weights apply to the judging criteria:
• degree of innovation – 50%
• service delivery – 20%
• potential impact – 20%
• potential for sustainability and scale – 10%

Up to a maximum of 3 candidates will be shortlisted from the submissions by Council and the Company Member who made the nomination will be notified no later than 31 December.

The final submission, by way of a 3-minute video from the candidate themselves, will be shown at the General Assembly in February, voted on by the members present.


The winner will be announced at the IMEX Frankfurt Gala Evening and will receive by way of recognition one free registration place, including accommodation, at one of  any of the IAPCO education programmes (valid for an 18 month period), and will be entitled to display the Award Mark on their business cards, stationery, biographical details and cv.



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

The IAPCO 2015 Innovation awards submissions were impressive. They highlighted the fantastic calibre of candidates who are really focusing on creative and efficient ideas, which can give clients added value. The shortlisted candidates were presented to the IAPCO members in Cape Town at the Annual Meeting and thus the voting finalised.

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”.

The runners-up for the award, both of whom deserve a special mention for their innovative concepts, were Martin Rasmussen, Copernicus Meetings, with PICO: Presenting Interactive Content, and Gaia Santoro, AIM Group International, who created an event within an event using social media.

Innovation is crucial to the continuing success of any organisation and this award really shows that IAPCO members are embracing the whole concept.


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 earlier this year, 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.”

The IAPCO Innovation Award began last year following the deaths of the final two ‘Founding Fathers’ of IAPCO. To honour their legacy, IAPCO introduced this new award to recognise the innovative ways in which the younger generation of IAPCO members, aged 35 years or less, deal with the challenges faced by international PCOs. “To celebrate the tremendous efforts of these four individuals [the Founding Fathers], we have created an award to commend the most creative and high-achieving young members of staff at IAPCO member companies,” said Michel Neijmann, President of IAPCO. “It is vital we encourage and reward those who are the future of the profession.” IMEX also embraced the opportunity to support this initiative. “We are delighted to support IAPCO in this way,” commented Carina Bauer of IMEX. “The advancement of youth, creativity and education are all elements of this industry with which we are happy to be involved. We wish the applicants good luck in this innovative challenge.”

Considering the innovations of this year’s entrants, it is clear to see that the future of PCOs is in good hands…which also means that the industry itself is a winner!

052015_IMEX_Gala_Andrew_Mathias (3)


Magdalina Atanassova, AIM Group International, Bulgaria
Andrew Dergousoff, International Conference Services Ltd., Canada
Dohyun Kim, MECI, Korea



Award for PCOs

in memory of the

Founding Fathers

(From Left to right)
Albert Cronheim, Eric Friis, Fay Pannell, Jean Destrée