Meet Prevue’s Planner of the Month, Ira Ozer of Innovation Meetings

Innovation Meetings, meetings
Innovation Meetings Founder Ira Ozer

Here at Prevue, we want to make sure that meeting planners are getting the credit they deserve. That’s why each month we acknowledge a Visionary Planner of the Month.

The Visionary Planner of the Month is chosen by our editors based on willingness to share his or her knowledge and experience with the industry, promote the professionalism of the role of meeting planner and, in doing so, move the industry forward. This month’s winner, Ira Ozer, is at the forefront of a new category of meetings and recognition travel events known as “Innovation Meetings.” The objective of this new category of meetings is to help the company—often its Chief Innovation Officer—improve the innovation process. 

“These events are strategic and important to the C-Suite,” he says,” yet many meeting planners do not recognize their unique differences from conventional meetings, such as sales meetings and product launches, and are not trained to design these meetings with the nuances and logistics needed accordingly.”

The primary objective of an Innovation Meeting is to help the company improve its innovation process, by having attendees develop and implement new ideas which can increase revenues, improve efficiencies, reduce costs, increase profits and assure agility and sustainability over the long term.

Ozer helps corporate in-house and third-party meeting planners design curate all elements of innovation meetings, including destination and venue selection, creativity and innovation training and facilitation, use of innovation technology platforms and the flow and engagement of attendees at the meeting. “When it comes to venue selection, we recommend places that are inspirational and/or historic and/or where great inventions have taken place.”

3 Tips for Successful Innovation Meetings

  1. Recognize that Innovation Meetings involve collaboration across the company’s culture. Employees, channel partners, and customers can provide ideas for improvement.  ​
  2. Hold them at venues that will inspire attendees and provide “aha” moments, with curated offsite visits to innovation labs and to observe businesses from the customer perspectives. One example might be the Ace Hotel in Chicago’s Fulton Market, a new innovation district set in a former food wholesale market and distribution area that is now home to Google, McDonalds’ new headquarters and other innovative start-ups. It’s also where most of the most creative new restaurants, culinary experiences and entertainment venues are located.
  3. Choose recreational activities that spark innovation. Based in New York? Consider a team excursion to Thomas A. Edison’s laboratory in nearby Menlo Park, NJ, where the lightbulb and hundreds of other products were invented.
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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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