Held once every four years, the International Symposium on the Diabetic Foot is the largest and most prestigious meeting worldwide devoted to lower extremity problems in diabetes. It has accomplished this unique position by bringing together a multidisciplinary audience, varying from nurses and surgeons to policy makers and leading health experts from all over the world. Participating in this 4-day event gives them the unique opportunity to share the latest research and field insights in order to get a bit closer to the overall goal: prevent any sort of amputation caused by diabetes. As long-term partner Congress by design was asked for the 8th time to design and organise the live conference taking place in Word Forum in The Hague this time.
The symposium kicked-off during Covid and the biggest challenge was to navigate the uncertainties in terms of budget, number of participants and the event taking place at the scheduled date. Therefore we put a lot of emphasis on the financial management, closely monitoring the budget and making cuts and optimisations wherever possible. We also explored the possibility of a hybrid conference, although the organising committee valued an all in-person conference, due to the main goal of knowledge sharing in an interactive live context. Together we put together a program with plenary presentations that focused on the latest research results and 29 workshops that had a more practical approach to taking care of a diabetic foot in the field. New was also the ‘Green meets Gray’ part, where young researchers could meet 1-on-1 with a more senior scientist.
Even with the uncertain start, over 80 countries and 1.300 participants were present at the symposium. We were able to develop a program that proved both relevant and interesting for a large variety of experts. During the social events, that consisted of a President’s dinner and a Symposium dinner, they could also meet in an informal way with new and familiar faces in the field. Because we prepared so well the execution went really smooth. Every morning we kicked-off a symposium day with a short briefing between our project team and the local organising committee. A moment for trouble shooting and improvements for the day to come. This became extra helpful when the project manager had to be replaced due to an emergency. The rest of the team took over instantly and no one even noticed. A strong example of what teamwork and a thorough preparation can do.