Scotland at Expo 2020 Dubai: evaluation report
An evaluation report detailing the work undertaken in developing and delivering Scotland's programme of activity and engagement at the EXPO 2020 Dubai between October 2021 and March 2022, highlighting outcomes achieved and recommendations to support participation at future World Expo events.
Section 5: Event Management
Bray Leino were the event management company procured through a tender process by UK DIT and contracted to project manage all of the programme activity for the UK Pavilion, physically and virtually (using Crowdcomms virtual platform), for the whole six months of the Expo event.
Given the contract Bray Leino had with the UK Pavilion all of the devolved nations and other partners delivering their own activation days were essentially tied into using their services. However overall it also made sense to use them as it provided a consistent event management approach and helped to reduce delivery risks.
Regular engagement was maintained with Bray Leino throughout development and delivery phases and the Scotland Team worked with them to ensure the UK Pavilion set up and digital support met our Activation event needs. Costs for contracting Bray Leino to project manage the daytime and evening events and in designing and delivering the Virtual Platform were quite expensive but we had little option other than to use their services. Overall the costs were well covered under our existing budget.
Overall the Virtual Platform worked well in supporting our digital online needs and any technical hitches were generally resolved quite quickly. However, Bray Leino would often fall short of the event management standard expected or needed albeit they appeared short of adequate resource to deliver the multiple programmes across the UK Pavilion.
Staffing and Resource
The Scotland Team was a joint resource of staff from both DITI and SDI working in collaboration to develop and deliver the programme. DITI also funded a full time SDI role based in Dubai to support from an in market perspective - initially focused on securing business contracts for Scottish companies in the design and build stage of the Expo site and latterly working with the core team in developing and delivering the Scottish programme.
As the project progressed further specialist resource in the form of a dedicated SDI Event team specialist was added in addition to administrative support resource. Resourcing flexed throughout the project to mitigate unforeseen changes due to Covid and the associated restrictions around that which added an extra layer of pressure on the team in progressing and finalising the programme. Engagement internally from Scottish Government policy teams was often difficult due to other priorities and a reluctance at times to take ownership of elements of the project that were within their area of policy responsibility.
UAE Trade Envoy
SG Trade Envoy to the UAE – Nick Maclean - played a significant role right across the full gamut of the Scottish Programme providing a key in market link as representative of Scotland to familiar and new audiences.
Nick's contributions were hugely important and provided a vital perspective to the discussion and decision making, especially in his Steering Group role. Making best use of in market Trade Envoys to make connections and provide that perspective would be a vital aspect of the resource for any future Expo participation. We are very grateful to him for his generous support to the Scottish Expo programme.
The Steering Group provided a vital resource to the core delivery team in providing advice, strategic direction and indicative approval - subject to formal Ministerial approval on specific programme elements including budget, communications and relationship management of UKG. While the first iteration of the Steering Group was a wider representation of Team Scotland partners, the remit and representation became more agile and reduced in size to align with the programme refining in focus and direction.
The Steering Group was an invaluable resource for the core team to lean on for assurance, approval and a broader strategic overview on the focus and content. In addition, having the UAE based Trade Envoy on the Group was a vital component in providing that UAE/Dubai "lens" to elements of the programme content.
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