Open-access content 16th March 2012
On 18 June 2012 the must-attend flagship conference ThinkFM opens its doors, writes managing director of Workplace Law David Sharp.
23 February 2012
With On 18 June 2012, the doors will open on ThinkFM, the flagship conference for the ?UK facilities management sector, brought to you by BIFM in association with Workplace Law.
The largest gathering of FMs outside of North America, it promises to be a valuable day for finding out what's happening in FM, network with colleagues, and meet with potential partners and suppliers. The word 'essential' is frequently over-used, but I can honestly say if you are in FM and can only go to one event this year, this is the one you should visit.
For the first time, Workplace Law will be actively involved in the event. For the past ?twelve years, we have run our own annual conference, having welcomed some 1,500 delegates looking to keep up to date on employment law, health and safety and environmental management.
This year, and for the next two years, we have taken the decision to combine our event with ThinkFM. Like the institute, we wanted to create a vibrant, interactive gathering that really delivered: an event where you could meet people doing similar jobs and facing the same issues as you; find out how the law and practice of FM is changing, what it means to you, and what you can do to prepare for it; and where you could share war stories, solutions, and get the low-down on the industry.
We realised after about year five - yes, it took us that long! - that much of the value from our annual conference was delivered, not from the stage, but from the floor. Often, our delegates knew as much, if not more in some cases, than our presenters. And so, over time, we changed the format, making the event more informal, to reflect the way knowledge is really transferred. We stopped trying to teach, and started learning to share.
To deliver truly the best experience for delegates, you need to have numbers. And so we decided that, rather than effectively competing with ThinkFM, it would be in the interest of both Workplace Law and the BIFM - and most of all our facilities management visitors - if we worked together, rather than separately. Hence I am very proud that Workplace Law is programming a third of the sessions this year across all three hubs - workplace, people and competitive advantage."
So what's so good about ThinkFM? Well, for a start, it's been streamlined - down from two days to one - which means a big saving in time and cost for anyone attending.
Second, there's the rate, down to just £295 for early bird member bookings, which I think represents genuinely good value compared to events run by other institutions and commercial operators.
Third, there's the programme. Workplace Law is conducting dedicated research into ?the FM sector, which will be presented at the conference. There are 24 sessions to choose from in all.
Finally, it's taking place in central London, easily accessible to most people by public transport. It promises to be an event well worth attending.
David Sharp is managing director of Workplace Law