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Exhibition World | Preview29When some 80 or 90 CEOs gather at the UFICEO Forum in Geneva this month, they willwant to hear how each others businessesexpect to take advantage of the improved marketconditions reported in UFI's Global Barometer Survey*. Theforum is an exclusive gathering of leaders in our industry,restricted to CEOs of organising companies and a selectgroup of sponsors.There's plenty of time for networking and deal-makingbetween the meeting sessions and the programmeconcentrates on stimulating new ideas and discussion.Kicking off the programme will be London BusinessSchool's professor Costas Markides, who will focus onmaking businesses more innovative. For innovation tobecome a source of competitive advantage, he says it mustbe institutionalised so that it takes place anywhere, and atanytime, in the organisation. Having got the innovation juices flowing, the programmewill then turn to the thorny issue of providing value to ourclients. We hear a lot about increased focus on ROI and therecession has certainly made marketers much moreselective about exactly where they spend their money. AsUFI's Budapest seminar delegates heard from exhibitorGrohe back in June, even as times get better, businessesare likely to remain much fussier than they were in the past.VNU Europe's Ton Otten will lead a panel of marketers fromEurope and North America talking about the role thatexhibitions play in their lead-generation strategies. Setting all this in the context of the developing worldeconomy has been a task enthusiastically taken up byRoger Martin-Fagg since the inception of the CEO Forumback in 2002. Well known to many in the exhibitions industry,Roger has the unique ability to convert complex economicsissues into ideas that business people can readilyunderstand and apply to their own businesses. Following on from the Martin-Fagg world tour, a panel ofCEOs from Asia, Europe and the USA will give their ownglobal perspectives of where our industry is headed. Fromthem, delegates will get a sense of how the different regionsof the world differ and in what way they are similar. Many willbe eager to hear from Charlie McCurdy, now back with hisApprise Media business after the $270m sale of CanonCommunications to UBM in the third quarter of last year. Asia is, of course, still top of mind for many companies asthe region likely to generate the most new businessopportunities in the coming few years. UBM's Jimé Essinkwill kick off day two taking participants on a tour of Asiacovering India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia,Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan and thePhilippines. These are all markets in which UBM Asia isdoing business and Jimé is rightly placed to offer first handexperience from the front lines of the opportunities andchallenges of all these markets. Expect him to tell us thatsome of the world's leading fairs for some key industries aregoing to be in Asia in the future, not in Europe or NorthAmerica. Finally, IAEE chair Margaret Pederson and RonnieOvergoor will take the CEOs through some of the latestdevelopments in social media. This proved a veryprovocative topic at last year's UCF with the room ratherdivided on how relevant or important this was for theexhibitions industry. It will be interesting to see how farattitudes may have changed in the intervening 12 months.The UFI CEO Forum is a good opportunity for seniorleaders in our industry to kick off their year with newcontacts and good discussions. It will be good to hear themdoing this in the spirit of renewed optimism that we cananticipate based on UFI's latest research.* For more on the Sixth UFI Barometer Survey see page 17.UFI MD Paul Woodwardpreviews this month's CEO Forum in GenevaCultivating a true globalexhibitions perspective"Asia is, of course, still top of mindfor many companies as the regionlikely to generate the most newbusiness opportunities in the comingfew years."THE MAGAZINE FOR THE GLOBAL EXHIBITION COMMUNITY WWW.EXHIBITION-WORLD.NET| February 2011|