One of the chief advantages of community is the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences with others. This desire to share and learn from one another is what motivated a small group of professionals from different fields — including pharmaceuticals, aerospace and civil engineering — to exchange information about the common challenges they were experiencing with planning and scheduling in an increasingly project-oriented world.
In 1969, the same year that NASA’s Apollo program culminated with the first humans landing on the moon, the founders of what would become Project Management Institute (PMI)® convened a meeting of 80 attendees from the United States and Canada for a seminar on “Advanced Project Management Concepts,” hosted by the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Over 50 years later, PMI® Global Summit continues to be the premier event for bringing together the project management community.
Bringing Together a Diverse Project Community
PMI has become a global community during that half-century, serving more than 1.5 million active certification holders, including almost 690,000 PMI members in 217 countries and territories across over 25 industries around the world. PMI recognized the business impact of emerging markets and globalization early on, organizing events in locales from Dubai to Dublin and London to Istanbul.
To help project practitioners thrive in this global business environment, panels at these events have discussed the importance of understanding regional differences, the broader geopolitical situation and how to build bridges for cross-cultural collaboration. For example, at the PMI® Global Congress 2013—EMEA in Istanbul, Turkey, Nader Mousavizadeh, global thinker and former advisor to then-Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, spoke about the need to adapt to a business landscape no longer dominated by free-market capitalism where countries such as China, Nigeria and Turkey are redefining power on their own terms. To adapt to a more diverse project environment, Avinash Chandarana, global learning and development director at MCI Group, said attendees must “get over cultural perceptions if we’re to do business on the global stage. Only those countries, organizations and people that bridge cultures and geographies will succeed.”
To enable even more voices to join the conversation, PMI launched a successful virtual event pilot later that same year. At PMI® Global Congress 2013—North America in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, more than 300 volunteers around the world streamed and participated in five live congress sessions happening in real time via secure access. The volunteers were able to download documents and exhibitor materials and reported high satisfaction with the experience. The positive response paved the way for PMI to integrate digital offerings and expand participation and, more importantly, helped enable the rapid launch of the PMI Virtual Event Series that would engage and support the project management community at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic several years later.