Meet the organiser
‘A conference with a story’
Jacqueline Schlagwein (Schiphol Group) and five others are responsible for the program of the ICEC World Congress. It will be a hybrid conference, live and online with guest speakers, talk shows, and a content platform where you can meet each other. Jacqueline Schlagwein: ‘This form of a conference with a storyline with a beginning and a conclusion is unique. We want to encourage people to provide input and ask about their vision and let them reflect on what they have seen and heard at the conference. To include them in our story.’
You have picked six topics around the theme: Predictable projects in a dynamic world. Why did you choose such a broad approach?
“Three years ago, in a small core team, we had already looked at what people are currently working on, and from this a number of keywords emerged, such as predictability, changing environment, and projects. It appeared everyone could relate to these keywords: those in the professional field such as the Cost and Value Engineers, but also company and project management.”
And after three years, this theme is more topical than it was then…
“Three years ago, we could not have imagined that this would be the current theme. We’ve lost every link with predictability. COVID has already had a huge impact on our world, with plenty of dynamics and numerous unpredictable elements. Our economic situation is once again very dynamic and uncertain. But the demand for predictability remains. We could never have thought of a better theme beforehand.”
“Based on Predictable projects in a dynamic world we have identified six topics: sustainability, geographical influences, ICT, project management, change, but also the human factor. The latter topic is special because these kinds of conferences usually focus only on technology. We look at the role that humans play in the success of projects. What behaviors, culture, and orientation play a role? You can see that DACE is also paying more attention to this topic: how do you develop your management skills, and how do you take yourself to a higher level? The conference will discuss this topic in various ways, such as in a talk show. The questions that come up there are: How should we develop in order to contribute to predictability in this changing world? Is our profession changing? And if so, how? What is our future Job Description?”
What is the conference going to look like?
“We kick off the conference with the Amsterdam comedy club Boom Chicago. They look ahead in a comical way and explain the storyline of the congress. We start with the question: What exactly is a dynamic world? How does that change? During this first day, we will discuss topics such as sustainability, rising sea levels and economic developments. The keynote speaker of this day is architect Winy Maas from the architecture and urban design practice MVDRV. His mission is: To come up with solutions for the city of the future. Getting people involved and inviting them to come up with their own ideas. The second day is about the ‘how’ question: how does this dynamic world affect our profession? The third day will focus on Project Controls and ICT (Hard Skills). Are there any tools that can help us? This last day will focus on technology, ICT systems, and technical developments. We will conclude the conference with keynote speaker and journalist Sander Pluijm. Pluijm participated in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017. From his perspective, he brings together all the elements of the congress: in the yacht race, too, you have to deal with unpredictability: being able to predict all the scenarios that can occur on the water and react to them quickly. The human aspect is also very important in the yacht race: how do we create a winning team?”
The congress is organised hybrid, can you tell us a little more about that?
“In addition to the Live presence in the Doelen, we have also thought about online participation: you can follow the entire conference from behind your computer. The presentations in the rooms will be streamed live. The online environment also gives you access to pre-recorded videos of foreign speakers who are unable to come to Rotterdam. These videos can be seen on a platform that is comparable to an online streaming service. That is where all the live content ends up. The platform also has online ‘round tables’, places where you can meet others. Some tables are linked to one of the six topics, but you can also choose a ‘free table’. All content will remain online after the conference. This gives the live participants the opportunity to take advantage of the entire range of presentations after the conference.”
But it would be more fun if people came to Rotterdam?
“Definitely. Because coming to Rotterdam also has its advantages. You can take part in the daily interactive talk shows, a unique element of the conference. The talk shows give a deepening on the topic of the day. Substantive speakers give their views on the various issues within Predictable Projects in a Dynamic World. We do all this in a stimulating and interactive way, where you as a participant can ask questions and participate in discussions. The great advantage of participating live is that you can network there; there is plenty of opportunities to meet other participants and speakers and to delve into topics in ‘live’ round-table discussions. Another great advantage is that you have access to an extensive workshop program.”
“Rotterdam, but also the conference center the Doelen, is very easy to reach, also by public transport. The Doelen is right in the city center. Rotterdam, of course, has a rich history. It is a relatively young city. One of the keynote speakers, architect Winy Maas, has contributed to the renewal and improvement of Rotterdam with striking buildings such as the Markthal and the Depot of the Boijmans van Beuningen museum. After the conference, these buildings are definitely worth a visit on an individual basis.
There is also an opportunity to dine on the SS Rotterdam, a well-known Dutch passenger ship. The ship saw the last decade of transatlantic liner shipping between 1959 and the end of 2000 and is berthed in the largest port in Europe. It is a unique place to talk about the conference and exchange ideas.”
The ICEC World Congress ‘Predictable projects in a dynamic world’ will take place from 12 to 15 June. The six topics are sustainability, geographical influences, ICT, project management, change, and the human factor.
Comedy show Boom Chicago will open day 1. They look at the dynamic world and our modest contribution as Cost Engineers in a broader picture. Next, we look at various phenomena associated with a dynamic world: Sustainability, Urbanisation, Climate Change, and Numerous different presentations with regard to change, impact, and predictability. The day will conclude with a talk show in which we will examine the impact of the dynamic world and its effect.
On day 2, we kick off with a talk show where we focus on the human factor. What is our own role in a dynamic world and its predictability? During the day, the presentation will further deepen the topics of the human factor, sustainability, and project control. We will conclude the day with a talk show in which we will examine the impact on the future profession and the tools of tomorrow.
Day 3 focuses on projects and ICT. We look at developments in available software tools. The program concludes with a presentation by Sander Pluijm, who participated in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017. He will talk about the road to a winning team.
Interview by Sam Dekkers for DACE.