The International Society for Performance Improvement Europe/EMEA (ISPI-Europe/EMEA) invites you to submit a proposal for a unique conference, a highly interactive event with a track record of high value, and open exchange of knowledge, experience, and innovative ideas in the field of human and organizational performance.

The theme of the 2012 conference is: “Improving performance and competitiveness in a fast-changing economic context.” The conference is scheduled from September 27-29, 2012, in Lisbon, Portugal. The due date for submissions is May 14, 2012.

Improvement and Competitiveness
“The only constant is change.” This statement is certainly true today, just as it was in 500 BC when the Greek philosopher Heraclitus first made the observation. Change is a fundamental characteristic of the human condition globally. No individuals, organizations, or countries are exempt. This fact of life applies to governments at all levels, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and charities, as well for-profit businesses from a small family-owned grocery to an influential global corporation.

However, a key corollary to the constancy of change is that there is always opportunity! And, again, this applies to organizations of all sizes and types. Organizations must continue to look externally to their customers, potential customers, customers of customers, and even society, as well as internally at how the organization does and could serve its customers, stockholder-owners, and other stakeholders. To be useful, analysis should be a systematic and ongoing process for identifying positive, motivating opportunities, rather than simply defining obstacles, limits, or reasons to stay the same or scale back.

The theme of the 2012 ISPI Europe/EMEA conference intends to emphasize the need to maintain a positive proactive approach to performance and competitiveness, recognizing the reality of a volatile external environment. The challenges and related opportunities currently facing organizations command the attention of executives concerned with strategic direction, managers focused on ongoing operations as well as performance improvement professionals. It is important to add that the ultimate impact of performance is felt not only by organizations, but their customers, suppliers, competitors, regulators, and even society at large. The issue of competitiveness is clearly important everywhere. Of course, we can all agree that the underlying reasons for problems and opportunities in competitiveness vary from country to country and even within countries. For example, the European Union (EU) implemented a common currency within the context of a group of countries with vastly different economic, cultural, and marketplace conditions. The single change, though dramatic, of a unifying currency could not equalize conditions, opportunities, or approaches to competiveness, or the achievement of prosperity. In fact, the implementation of a common currency may actually have made competitiveness more difficult for some country-level economies. And, it could not overcome cultural norms, in some cases, where pay increases, generous vacation and sick time, and other benefits are a basic and legally required expectation independent of performance criteria or results achieved.

The challenges and opportunities confronting organizations today in the EMEA region are both varied and complex. Therefore, again, it is critical to be systematic in our analysis approach and systemic in focus, when identifying problems and opportunities for performance improvement and competitiveness. It is likewise necessary to consider conditions in the economy supporting any organization and the impact of the culture and social system inside and outside of the organization. Whatever an organization is facing and irrespective of its performance success at the outset, performance improvement professionals should be opportunity focused and comprehensive in their analysis approach. Analysis and related improvement strategies must focus on the societal and marketplace context, as well as the organization, operating process, and job (individual) levels of performance, including the interaction or dependency and alignment between these levels.

What Is Unique about the ISPI Europe/EMEA Conference?
Most conferences provide value by assembling speakers who share their wisdom and insights against an interesting unifying theme. We at ISPI Europe/EMEA feel that we have a way to make our conference deliver significantly more value to both presenters and participants. Our conferences have always aimed to be smaller in size but much greater in level of participation and interactivity than typical conferences. Like in previous years, the 2012 conference will be organized around a simulation that will run throughout the conference. The simulation will provide participants with a hands-on opportunity to apply their skills, experience, and newly gained knowledge of how to build a high-performance culture. Note that the simulation will be based on a real client engagement. In this way, and through our design, which includes professionals acting as the client team, the simulation experience is able to come very close to what participants would experience in the real world, but with the advantage of a safe and protected environment to experiment! We expect all sessions selected for presentation to provide participants with practical, valuable insight and tools in alignment with the conference theme, and, in this way, to contribute to participant success with the simulation. More detailed information about the simulation will be made available in the coming weeks.

Invitation to Come and Join Us

Whether you are interested in sharing your experiences in a formal way by being a presenter or if you would rather come to learn, share, and contribute on a personal level, we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. The simulation, and all other sessions of the conference in Lisbon, will be carefully designed to:

  • Reinforce the exchange within our international network about how to optimize performance for individuals, teams, and organizations
  • Facilitate meeting new business colleagues and professional partners in the fields of human performance improvement, human resources, organizational development, training and learning, public policy, and business administration
  • Prepare all of us for the challenges that lie ahead for creating healthy, prosperous organizations and communities

More Information
For more information about ISPI, please refer to the description at the end of this document or check out the ISPI website (www.ispi.org). For more information about the 10th ISPI Europe/EMEA conference in Lisbon, please refer to our conference blog (http://ispi-europe.blogspot.com).

Lisbon, an Exciting Location

Visiting Portugal and Lisbon is another powerful reason to join us for the 10th ISPI Europe/EMEA Conference. Find out why by going to www.visitlisboa.com. Learn about the beautiful country of Portugal, the capital city of Lisbon, as well as the Portuguese culture, cuisine, hospitality, and much more.

The Application Process
If you are selected to present at the conference, you agree to the following:

  • Register and pay the appropriate registration fee.
  • Prepare an article or “white paper.” White papers submitted will be considered by the ISPI EMEA Editorial Board for submission to ISPI’s Performance Improvement journal.
  • Deliver your session on any of the scheduled conference days.
  • Submit an electronic copy of your handout in advance of the conference for distribution to participants on a memory stick at the end of the conference.

You also agree that your session handout will be made available on the ISPI website after the conference.

First-time ISPI Presenter Proposals
ISPI EMEA is interested in encouraging and including presenters who are new to ISPI, but have valuable experience and expertise they would like to share. We, therefore, offer to provide individual guidance and support for the preparation of presentation proposals, as requested. Contact Maja Petkovska at maja.petkovska@worldlearning.org if you would like to take advantage of this offer.

Step One: Choose a Session Topic
The objective of the conference is to share and apply concepts, models, and tools around the theme of “Improving performance and competitiveness in a fast-changing economic context.” We, of course, must keep in mind the key principles of improving performance:

  • Focusing on outcomes and results
  • Taking a systemic approach
  • Adding value, focusing on the business and an organization’s purpose
  • Establishing partnerships and working collaboratively

Remember, we are particularly looking for sessions that will present successful examples or models of approaches and tools that can be applied by participants to our simulation client case, as well as to situations and projects they will face when they return home. We encourage you to choose a topic that will be compelling to conference participants and address one or more performance areas where many would see value in enhanced perspectives, skills, or tools.

Each submitter will be asked to describe how his or her session fits into and supports the theme of the conference, how it provides practical and proven tools and approaches, and how it is aligned with ISPI’s fundamental principles for improving performance (www.ispi.org/content.aspx?id=54).

Step Two: Prepare Your Session Proposal
Your proposal should clearly describe the connection to the conference theme, present how you intend to facilitate the session, and your experience with the topic. Proposals should include a draft sample of a job aid or performance tool that you will share with session attendees and that can be made available on the conference website.

Participants at ISPI Europe/EMEA conferences are very bright and typically very anxious to get involved and play an active role in learning and sharing. They are also a richly diverse group in terms of national origin, education, and skills background, as well as the industry or subject matter that has been the focus of their experience. The multinational character of ISPI-Europe makes it critical that all presenters are prepared to interact with participants who are nonnative English speakers. Therefore, please give special consideration to how you will accommodate participants who do not speak English as their native language. Examples of how this may be done include providing clear, complete handouts, visuals, or other supporting material with meaningful graphics. All session proposals must include a description of how the presenter intends to accommodate a diverse audience consisting of many participants who do not speak English as their native language.

Your proposal will be evaluated by a team of reviewers against the criteria below.

IMPORTANT: Structure your proposal using the headings provided below. This will make it easier for reviewers to find required information and, thus, will increase the likelihood that your proposal will receive maximum consideration.

A. Title
The title for your session should be brief but descriptive and attract participant interest as well as relate to the conference theme.

B. Session Description + Objectives/Benefits
Describe your session in 120 words or less. Use clear, conversational language. Include clear objectives to help participants determine how or why they will benefit from your session. In addition to your session description, indicate the level of experience participants should have with the subject matter of your session by selecting one of the following categories:

Session Prerequisite Knowledge

Beginner
Participant is able to understand and make use of the core concepts of the subject matter.

 

Intermediate
Participant is able to apply core concepts and practices of the subject matter to a problem or situation.

 

Expert
Participant is able to fluently create and evaluate solutions to problems in the area of the subject matter. Indicate session type as described below and the level of interactivity and engagement participants can expect from your session by selecting one of the following categories:

 

Session Type

Briefing
Sixty-minute intense briefing covering theoretical, research-style aspects of the subject matter. Activities are not required.

 

Pre-Conference Workshop
Three-hour or 6-hour extended workshop allowing the participants to apply comprehensively introduced concepts to given problems or solutions in a small team environment. Highly interactive with at least 60 minutes or 120 minutes of activity time, respectively. Pre-conference workshops will take place on September 27, 2012.

The session description, the objectives and benefits, and the information regarding the session prerequisite knowledge and session type will be published in the conference program to market your presentation.

Evaluation criteria are:

  • Describes the content clearly
  • Relates to the conference theme and is capable of direct application to a performance improvement project in the form of a simulation case
  • Includes performance-based objectives
  • Describes the value of the workshop to the attendee
  • Indicates the prerequisite knowledge for the session
  • Indicates the session type and level of interactivity
  • Is limited to 120 words

C. Link Session Design to Human Performance Technology (HPT) and the Simulation
Describe in a paragraph or two how your session relates to, supports, or enhances the field of HPT.

Evaluation criteria include:

  • Describes how the workshop will support ISPI’s mission, goals, and values or explains the link to performance improvement (Refer to ISPI – International Society for Performance Improvement to learn more.)
  • Addresses a specific performance need or issue
  • Uses case studies and examples of successful, EMEA region-focused performance improvement projects (as our first priority)

D. Session Design Plan
Provide a high-level design plan of your session. This section is important; it will receive the most attention by the team of reviewers.

Evaluation criteria are:

  • Appropriately reflects the session type (briefing or pre-conference workshop)
  • Demonstrates sound instructional design principles
  • Matches the objectives and benefits and session description
  • Matches the expected level of prerequisite knowledge of session attendees
  • Includes a topic outline plus time frames for each topic
  • Includes instruction or presentation method for each topic (e.g., lecture, discussion, activity)
  • Is achievable in the time requested
  • Requires participants to engage with the content at the level stated in the objectives
  • Provides enough detail for the reviewer to visualize the session delivery
  • Describes how participants who are nonnative English speakers will be accommodated

Please note that there are a limited number of pre-conference workshop slots available for extended workshops (3 hours or 6 hours length). If you feel that your topic or expertise warrant such an extensive exchange with the conference participants, please provide an extended workshop design plan for both a 3-hour and a 6-hour version. Based on all submissions, the team of reviewers will discuss with you the preferred option for this conference.

E. Job Aid or Performance Tool (not applicable to briefing sessions)
Job-relevant information, references, or tools are very important to ISPI audiences. Provide a draft sample of the performance tool that you will introduce during your presentation or refine with the attendees during your workshop (i.e., job aid, process model, idea synopsis, and reference guide). Evaluation criteria are:

  • Is a well-designed performance tool
  • Provides a reference for future use

F. Facilitator Personal Information and Presenter Experience
Please provide your personal data (name, position title, organization, address, telephone, and email).

Describe your expertise regarding your session topic in 75 words or less per facilitator. Please do not attach resumes or list-style biographies!

Evaluation criteria are:

  • Demonstrates sound expertise in session content by citing own relevant experience, research, or writing
  • Demonstrates experience presenting to ISPI or a similar audience
  • Is limited to 75 words

Step Three: Send in Your Proposal
Save your proposal as an MS Word document. Additional material, such as job aids, can be in other document formats, such as PPT or PDF. Send your combined proposal materials to cmp@orgmap.com and maja.petkovska@worldlearning.org with “Session proposal for ISPI EMEA Conference 2012” in the subject line. Your proposal must be received no later than May 14, 2012.

The ISPI Europe conference program committee will confirm the receipt of your proposal via email. You will be notified via email June 15, 2012, whether your proposal is accepted, conditionally accepted, or rejected.

If your proposal is accepted, ISPI Europe will:

  • Ask you to register for the conference and to reserve your hotel (if you are traveling from outside Portugal)
  • Request your audio-visual requirements
  • Collect your session materials for publication on the conference website and via USB memory stick
  • Ask you to commit to previewing your session, either following the opening ceremony for the conference or after the first keynote address

Questions
If you have any questions regarding the submission of a proposal or the conference in general, please review the ISPI Europe/EMEA blog (http://ispi-europe.blogspot.com).

Or contact ISPI Europe at:

  • Email: cmp@orgmap.com and maja.petkovska@worldlearning.org
  • Phone: +19734550420 and +38971390110

Background Information on ISPI and the Performance Improvement Community

What Is HPT?
HPT can be described as a comprehensive set of tools and techniques for achieving organizationally desirable and “marketplace” effective results, through the management of people and processes. HPT uses a wide range of approaches and tools that are drawn from many other disciplines including behavioral psychology, instructional systems design, organizational development, and human resources management. As such, it stresses a rigorous analysis of present and desired performance, identifies the causes for any performance gaps and the nature and extent of improvement opportunities, offers a wide range of tools and approaches to improve performance, guides the change management process, and evaluates the results.

What Is ISPI?
Founded in 1962, ISPI is the leading international association dedicated to improving individual and organizational productivity and total performance results in the workplace. ISPI represents more than 10,000 international and chapter members throughout the United States, Canada, and 40 other countries. ISPI’s mission is to improve the performance of individuals and organizations through the application of HPT. Organizing annual conferences and expos and other educational events such as the Performance Improvement Institutes, publishing books and periodicals, and supporting research are just some of the ways ISPI works toward achieving this mission.

In 2001, a group of performance improvement practitioners from various countries founded ISPI EMEA with the vision of supporting the concept of ISPI in our geographical areas, sharing and increasing knowledge of ISPI practitioners and sustaining the application of HPT across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Ours is a widely diverse cultural landscape and translating HPT concepts and applications is a key factor in the global expansion of ISPI.