The SIEM organizers received positive feedback from almost all speakers for each category of the feedback questionnaire. In particular, all speakers gained a higher opinion of Ritsumeikan University after participating in the symposium.
Additionally, all participants noted that they:
• learned valuable ideas at the SIEM symposium;
• found that the speakers were well selected;
• approved of the selection of topics was good; and
• appreciated the high quality of academic interaction at the symposium.
Half of the eighteen speakers participating in the 1st SIEM International Symposium came from outside Japan. Together with speakers based in Japan and a small audience, all participated in four sessions as either speakers or listeners.
Impact on the speakers
Numerous speakers were appreciated by the attendees, but Henry Yeung from National University of Singapore, Andrew Jones from University of London and Ronald Wall from Erasmus University Rotterdam were appreciated by many participants. Other speakers such as Prof. T. Abo, (Teikyo Heisei University) Will Baber (Kyoto University), Ruben Lois-Gonzales (Universidade da Coruna), Atsushi Taira, (Kagawa University), and Rolf Schlunze (Ritsumeikan University) were identified as speakers of particular interest.
Additionally, the learning opportunity about new concepts deriving from management science and geographical approaches to the theme of globalization was praised. Not only was there a global perspective of the symposium but also interaction among scholars with an informality that enabled friendships to develop. This represents another important success of the conference. With sufficient time and space, participants found it easy to interact.
Participants discovered the differences and similarities of geography and management sciences. Various opportunities were given to the speakers to receive critique from the audience and to have creative conversation during the social events. Participants praised the inclusion by SIEM of a representative from the business finance world, Mr. Charles Vacher, in the concluding panel discussion.
Broader impact on management Geography
Two of the speakers, Andrew Jones and Patrik Stroem, gave presentations at a joint session of SIEM and the research group of industrial geographers the Annual conference of the Association of Japanese Geographers. At that event, forty participants to their presentations about global practices and space discussing Management Geography as an option for geographical research as globalization progresses rapidly. This issue is of increasing interest also within Japan which is considered to have traditionally high barriers to any changes from the outside. The presentations were well received and there is much hope that the diversity of global and local practice in spaces and places will be better perceived and analyzed by Japanese economic geographers. Here, SIEM is expanding on new perspectives in management and geography providing a new approaches, views, and methodologies.
The participants commented positively on the symposium for the informative knowledge, variety of spaces concepts, and the introduction of the hybridization concept. Intercultural issues as the evaluation model of the hybrid factory introduced by Prof. Abo, Prof. Yamazaki and Prof. Schlunze as important study field of management geography were appreciated by the audience. The symposium was assessed as a well-focused on management aspects of economic geography. Participants learning about different concepts and methodologies were inspired to add new aspects to their own research interest environmental related issues of international business.
Since many materials were submitted late, SIEM could not provide a proceeding book at the meeting, but will publish a book containing conference material. The presentation time was not overly long for each speaker and as a result participants felt that SIEM kept focus well.
Notes for future events
Several suggestions and constructive criticisms came out of the feedback questionnaire. Participants would have appreciated more open-ended discussion. Additionally, inviting scholars from the field of economic policy was suggested as an opportunity to obtain more synergies. Ideas came up such as conducting a joint conference with the “Global Economic Geography Conference”. There was much encouragement from the side of the participants including statements such as “Thank you for the good symposium” and “Do it again!”
The staff organizing the symposium had no previous experience, nevertheless almost all participants stated that the symposium was well managed. One even mentioned it was the best symposium he had experienced so far.
The accommodation and food such as breakfast was evaluated positively by only half of the speakers since we could not offer single rooms to all participants and only a self service breakfast at the Ritsumeikan Epoch21 Campus Hotel.
SIEM will promote forthcoming events in a way that more scholars can gain exposure to the new topic Management Geography.