Europe: what to expect at TH!NKFM (by BIFM) on 18th June, London

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We cannot get to every conference or event, sadly – there are many happening this month. But our Managing Director, Paul Carder, tries to get to those that he can in Europe (less often the Middle East and Africa). And we give priority to those who invite us, generally!

BIFM have been kind enough to invite us to TH!NKFM 2012 this year, on 18 June 2012 at The Royal College of Physicians, London, UK.

Quick summary: is it worth attending? That is always a personal choice, depending on what you want to gain – knowledge, networking, or a bit of both. We would say, yes, attend. It is in London, so reasonably easy for most people to get to/from. It costs max. £395+vat, and has a lower cost for members and only c.£100 (inc. vat) if you are unemployed or a student. And it will attract a broad spread of FM people to network with.

European coverage: not especially, but this is the ‘British’ Institute for FM (BIFM). However, there are International SIG and GlobalFM sessions in Hub#4 (see below).

Top speakers: the title is “Ideas for Change” this year – it should perhaps be “Entrepreneurial FM”…? The FM industry is full of entrepreneurs – and this conference is no exception.

The opening Keynote is from Sahar Hashemi, the founder of Coffee Republic, who was a great speaker at CoreNet Summit London 2010. We would certainly like to hear her speak again; Sahar’s story is inspirational. Her book, “Anyone Can Do It: Building Coffee Republic for Our Kitchen Table,” is suggested reading for the London Business School entrepreneurship course, and Chapter 1 has been included as part of the syllabus of the Entrepreneurship summer school.

Oliver Jones, a stalwart of the FM circuit, is speaking about Opportunities in Hard Times. He is also a serial entrepreneur, and an excellent speaker/visionary.

The closing reception has Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE as speaker. Ruby is every bit as inspirational as Sahar above. As Chief Executive of MITIE Group PLC (‘MITIE’), the FTSE 250 strategic outsourcing and asset management company, since March 2007, she and her team have grown its revenue from £0.5bn to £1.9bn, continuing MITIE’s unbroken track record of profit and revenue growth. But she (and MITIE) are more famous for their entrepreneurship, and in Ruby’s case especially, her great work in the area of diversity and opportunity for all.

What to expect at TH!NKFM?

The BIFM and its various committees have clearly worked hard to refresh and improve on the old annual BIFM Conference. It is shorter (probably a reaction to tough times), all in one day, and hence packed with content. But it runs in four Hubs throughout the day, which is a good formula, and familiar to those who attend CoreNet Global summits.

The programme has the following four hubs:

Hub#1: WORKPLACE – ‘making spaces work’ – an interesting mix of “case studies” are being presented through the day; healthcare, and education (the new Central StMartins College at Kings Cross) in addition to the more often covered office workplace examples, including a major County Council HQ project (Hampshire).

Hub#2:  PEOPLE – ‘inspiring the team’ – there are sessions on employment law, career development, collaboration, social media, controlling employment costs….but after the 4pm break, it does get to the “inspiring the team” stuff.

Hub#3: COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE – ‘Driving Performance and Value’ – this should probably be called ‘supply chain’, as it does not quite do what it ‘says on the tin’. However, some interesting sessions are promised covering ‘smart procurement’, BIM (building information modelling) mandated by central government, PFI/PPP, intelligent client/FM, opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Hub#4: Th!nkFM Lab – this is probably where I’ll be! – its all the stuff that doesn’t quite fit above, but is interesting: ‘experimental FM’: opportunities for FM to add value to their organisation; a benchmarking demo from FM BENCHMARKING; an International SIG session, and GlobalFM workshop to finish.

So, we hope to see you there! We are not going to say any more than this for now, as we have not attended a BIFM Conference before (no, not even Paul has!), but we will be tweeting on the day. And do sign-up to this website to receive our blogs/Newsletter and a summary of who we met and what we learned soon after the 18th.

Twitter: @occupiers retweeted in the USA, by @jpwoccupiers

If you would like to catch up with Paul at the event, do please email: paul.carder@occupiersjournal.com

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