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Memorandum on ICIS 2017 Reflections

Monday, November 26, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brook Pritchett

Dear AIS Members,

Thank you for being a member of the Association for Information Systems (AIS).  We would like to share insights as we reflect on ICIS 2017 conference in Seoul, South Korea last December and prepare for ICIS conferences moving forward. 


As always, we sincerely hope you enjoyed your experience while attending ICIS in Seoul. The Coex conference facility was marvelous, as were the social event on the Floating Island, F&B, and the conference bags. Most importantly, the quality of the papers, panels, reviews and presentations were outstanding and consistent in the long tradition of ICIS as the most prestigious gathering of information systems academics and research-oriented practitioners in the world.


We extend our sincerest gratitude to the ICIS 2017 Conference Chairs, Committee(s), AIS Staff and AIS Council in their incredible efforts to remain focused and deliver a memorable conference in Seoul. We also thank the Korean Society of Management Information Systems (KMIS) for being a wonderful and gracious partner organization in Seoul.


There were also challenges that needed to overcome related to the conference that AIS members should be made aware of. For example, the impeachment of the South Korean President in early 2017 and the heightened geo-political tensions between North Korea and the United States throughout the Fall 2017.  These matters raised concerns related to travel to the region, in addition to delaying and/or hampering sponsorship collections. Other challenges were caused by misunderstandings and miscommunication.  An important lesson during this time was to mitigate the potential loss on the association of a late-stage event cancellation - which should not happen, but may happen in the future - that could be financially devastating to a non-profit organization such as AIS. 


Based on these challenges, steps were taken to mitigate risks and the financial exposure to the association during the months leading up to the conference.  These included a back-up location for the conference in case military tensions reached extreme levels such that international travel advisories prevented travel to / from South Korea. An addendum to agreements were initiated with local partner organization(s) to clarify the financial arrangements regardless of the initial budget. Tighter refund policies for conference registrations were used in case of a late-stage cancellation. Finally, a legal case of a potential ‘Force Majeure’ situation and exit strategy was prepared through working with an Attorney specializing in international event management. 


In addition to the weekly Conference planning meetings held during the Fall, several urgent special AIS Council meetings and ICIS Executive Committee meetings were held in order to get these measures approved and put into place. Collectively these actions substantially reduced the risk and financial exposure to the association.  Furthermore, these actions greatly contributed to allowing the conference to remain in Seoul, ensuring that the efforts of the Conference committee, volunteers and staff were seen to fruition.  The insights gleaned from these risk mitigation efforts will help the association for years to come with future contingency and conference planning. 


AIS celebrates 25 years of serving the field of Information Systems next  year and being a global Association is embedded in our mission statement, our logo and through our everyday work. The ability to overcome these unforeseen challenges and keep ICIS 2017 in Seoul is one of our proudest moments and consistent with the Association’s global mission. 


Once again, we extend our sincerest gratitude to the ICIS 2017 Conference Chairs, Conference Committee(s), AIS Council, AIS Staff, KMIS, AIS President (Matti Rossi) and most importantly to AIS Members like you.  We thank you for your leadership, perseverance and stewardship in uniting and overcoming the challenges and keeping the conference in Seoul and making it a wonderful success.   


We are also happy to report that Matti Rossi has agreed to lead a task force to better institutionalize these innovations and lessons learned from ICIS 2017 into the regular conference planning process moving forward.  


Thank you again for being a member of the Association for Information Systems (AIS).  We look forward to seeing you at ICIS 2018 in San Francisco, PACIS 2019 in Xi’an China, ECIS 2019 in Sweden and AMCIS 2019 in Cancun Mexico. 



Matti Rossi, Ph.D., AIS President       Yong Jin Kim, Ph.D., Conference Chair

Matthew L. Nelson, Associate ED       Jae Kyu Lee, Ph.D., Conference Chair

Robina Wahid, AIS Conf Director       Ritu Agarwal, Ph.D., Conference Chair

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