Who were the winning associations of 2018?

Who were the winning associations of 2018?

Jane Cunningham, Director of International Associations at BestCities, breaks down 2018’s winning associations, trends, and the key to success for Incredible Impacts 2019.


What are the key factors judges look for in a winning submission?

We had 19 fantastic Incredible Impacts submissions in 2018, and in each there are six key areas that we analyse. These are the objectives, a clear description of the programme event, a spark of creativity, evidence of tangible success, testimonials and how the funds advance or enhance the programme.

The three winners ticked those boxes in a major way. What really stood out was their absolute commitment and collaboration between the international association, the national society or the organising committee, but also other organisations working towards the mission. 


Were there any particular trends from the associations in 2018?

There was a real variety in submissions, from sector to location on the map.

It was great to see even more diversity. Often when we think about making an ‘impact,’ we think about health and medical impacts in the destination. However, there are countless ways to make an incredible impact. For example, we had everything from the International Association of Science Parks, to tourist guides, environmental education, family therapy – a real variety.

Another trend that we noticed was that in 6 of the 19 submissions, there was a strong message of sustainable development – including winning association, the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER).

Finally, youth involvement was a trend that we observed. 

What made the three winners stand out?

Each showcased absolutely incredible impacts in their respective industries and in the meetings industry as a whole.

When you look at the SER, their raison d’etre is to restore the ecosystems and the environments around the world. They demonstrated collaborative involvement with the World Bank and the ecological investment fund.

With Down Syndrome International (DSI), the Commissioner programme – which trained 11 people with Down Syndrome and put them at the core of the congress, and trained over 300 delegate facing employees in Glasgow – was really inspiring. It left a lasting impact as the training programme has been developed and inserted into the new recruit induction at the Science Centre in Glasgow. 

With Union of International Cancer Control (UICC), their summit is what Dr Cary Adams described as a ‘game- changer’ through their powerful collaboration with three enormous UN agencies it can change cancer care in the community for the better.


What do the winning associations plan to do with their grants?

UICC are putting their funds towards further advancing the treatment for the cancer programmes taking place in Mexico. 

The DSI plan has given the funds to Down Syndrome Scotland, so that through their commissioners, they can help build on the impact that can be created during the congress in Dubai in 2020.

SER wants to use this as capacity building opportunity, enabling them to pass the knowledge gathered so far onto delegates in Africa.


What would you like to see more of next year?

More submissions. The more stories we have, the more associations and destinations can learn from how we can work together to create positive change. 


Why is it important for associations to strive towards making incredible impacts?

We, in the meetings industry, often talk about how important association conferences and meetings are from an economic impact stand point.  

However, it is also a game-changer in destinations when we see the societal impact as a result of the conference taking place. It encourages knowledge and culture transfer in fascinating ways.


How can associations submit for next year’s programme?

Incredible Impacts 2019 will launch in January, and associations will have until 30 June to submit to the first round. 2019’s winners will be presented at ICCA Congress in Houston. 

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail