MWC conference Content Director Nick Spencer, GSMA

Setting The Agenda

Content Director Nick Spencer introduces you to the how, why and when of the MWC conference research process 2016-17:

The key words for next year’s MWC research, and all our events for that matter, are rigour and transparency. This article aims to show when and how we will be making our decisions for MWC 2017, and therefore how and when you can contribute to this process. All with the sole aim of illustrating that the selection process is meritocratic and rigorous.


Let’s first look at our sources to understand how we put the conference agendas together. Figure 1 outlines the key sources that the conference content team will be tapping into for information, namely desk research in all its forms (national and trade press websites, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, company websites and white papers, etc), third party events (it isn’t just about content, but also delivery of course), the GSMA programs and strategy/intelligence teams, direct company briefings and then the call for papers, which is where you come in.

MWC conference content research sources

Obviously, desk research is a constant process, as are attending the relevant events. More recently, we have been engaging with internal GSMA departments and industry analysts for over two months, in an effort to boil down an ever growing industry into to its most salient topics. The direct company briefings process began at the beginning of June, as did the call for papers.

In a departure from previous years, the research process for MWC 2017 will adopt a phased approach. I mentioned previously that we are already working with industry analysts and internal GSMA departments to identify the most salient themes in the industry in the next one to four years and even beyond, in a few instances. The findings of this research will be published on this blog in July 2016, with the aim to provide some guidance to submissions. We will then allocate each of these themes to a conference content manager to research in depth from late July to early September. This period will develop our thinking and break down the themes into more specific key topics, which will then be our conference track sessions for MWC 2017. During the course of this research we will of course be identifying the key players in each topic.

It must be added that, while the themes are an important element of the development of The Conference at MWC 2017, we do not want them to be too prescriptive and space will remain for particularly innovative technology and solutions that are not within these themes. Similarly, hot topics will arise in the run up to MWC 2017 and space will be left for their accommodation.

Figure two illustrates the key dates that relate to the process outlined above. We hope it helps you understand our processes and when to contribute to them.

MWC conference research calendar

Finally, as always the GSMA Content team is looking to improve on last year and make the conference better than ever before. We are looking to showcase the best of the connected world in Barcelona and create thought provoking, creative and visually stimulating content, from across an increasingly and uniquely diverse industry as connectivity and technology becomes pervasive in every walk of life. The Content team looks forward to hearing your thoughts.