Looking forward to ITEC 2016, MS&T's Chris Richman spoke with BAE Systems’ Neil Stewart, Chair of the Conference Committee. MS&T is the lead media partner to the event.
MS&T: How do you see ITEC’s role in the European and Global S&T Community?
Stewart: It’s the key European training and simulation event, allowing industry and customers to discuss, understand and decide the future of the sector.
Bringing together an international conference, high tech exhibition and innovation showcase means ITEC is a unique event. It encourages the supply chain to collaborate sooner and therefore provide more sustainable and operationally appropriate training.
MS&T: Are there any major changes from ITEC in Prague?
Stewart: After many years of ITEC, it’s amazing that we can still find improvements, but the market changes; therefore the event does too, in order to remain viable and relevant.
This year the theme is An Enterprise Approach; Beyond Training.
The response has been great; from considering national informal organisational networks to international bi-lateral agreements to facilitating co-operative working and everything in-between.
MS&T: How do you think these changes will improve ITEC 2016 in London and benefit the S&T Community?
Stewart: There is a sense of ‘coming home’ for London; we haven’t been here since 2011 and much has changed. I am keen for ITEC to refocus on making the best use of technology to deliver learning outcomes. It can be too easy to forget that success is not the training itself but rather the capability and availability that training enables.
MS&T: What do you want to achieve with ITEC 2016 in London?
Stewart: I’d like delegates to feel the new approach to ITEC as soon as people enter the exhibition. To do this, we need exhibitors to support us in a focus on service, not just product. The spotlight is therefore on conversations not contracts and therefore collaborative rather than competitive networking.
MS&T: Given current world events how do you see ITEC 2016 helping to address current and future S&T doctrinal and needs?
Stewart: World events bring both opportunity and risk to all of our businesses. As I said in my introduction to this year’s conference: right now, budgets are tight; tasking is high and skilled people are in short supply. Add to these conflicting demographics, workforce trends, environmental challenges, resource competition, technological innovation and cultural differences and it can really shake up the training sector.
To thrive in this environment, we need sponsors to rethink, users to reconsider, procurers to be agile and industry to adjust and respond.
MS&T: Do you see ITEC as a solely European show or reaching out to more global audience?
Stewart: The success of our sector is reliant on us embracing lessons from across the globe therefore this cannot solely be a European conference. We need every nation to be involved both from supply and demand perspectives, allowing the sector to explore different ideas and architectures to deliver the right mix of skills.
MS&T: What main message will you be promoting ITEC 2016 in London?
Stewart: I want to help redefine how we all do business. And the new definition: collaborate and integrate! It can improve capability, improve value for money and increase shareholder value. A big ask, but also a big opportunity!