Insights from the PROI Regional Summit

Insights from the PROI Regional Summit

This blog post offers insights from the PROI Regional Summit, which took place in Bali early November. PROI Worldwide is the largest global network of independent communications advisory firms established to leverage our power to solve clients’ problems anywhere in the world.

Mark, Paula and Rian went along and share their experiences below. Enjoy!


What mega-trends are transforming or disrupting your industry? 

Mark Jones, CEO, ImpactInstitute

It’s a tough question because everyone’s always busy. Leaders are also prone to acknowledging the latest trends – Generative AI, VR/AR, sustainability – but rarely digging deep.

So here’s my quick take after a rare moment of reflection with my colleagues from PROI Worldwide at our annual Asia-Pacific gathering.

The mega-trend most relevant to my communications, PR and marketing colleagues is, unsurprisingly, AI and automation.

Like most industries it’s both a threat and opportunity. New AI services are springing up everywhere (just like the early dot-com days), and there’s a new normal: ChatGPT and Midjourney are table stakes. The new normal is developing your own custom AI tool.

Why? Because context matters. Real, material and profit-enhancing value is to be found by creative, solution-oriented leaders with a growth mindset.

We saw live demos showcasing the potential of custom-built AI tools that solve unique, difficult problems such as analysing data, discovering insights, developing business strategies, and automating mundane administrative tasks.

In almost every instance, the immediate benefit was time saving, creating more space for creativity, critical thought and strategic counsel on behalf of our client partners. It’s hard to ignore this mega-trend. In fact, I’m already hatching plans for a custom AI tool of our own.

So here’s a question: what are the biggest time saving and productivity opportunities in your organisation? Back in the day, we used to say “there’s an app for that.” Today’s version is “go make an AI tool” – way less snappy, but infinitely  more compelling.


Leading teams to work better 

Paula Cowan, General Manager, ImpactInstitute

The second mega-trend we’re still riding is Wellbeing at Work, not only for our teams but also for ourselves as leaders. 

We were reminded that – as high achievers ourselves – we demand high performance in the people we’ve hired, coached, consoled and congratulated over years of building an organisation.

Tony Wilson of Performance Lab challenges us to “create an environment of clarity and ownership and keep people engaged and passionate about their work.” 

Think about the levels of Autonomy, Belonging, Consistency and Status you cultivate in your organisation, or even enjoy yourself that drive performance. I’d add that embedding family friendly workplace practices goes a long way to enabling people to do their best work and life.

Interestingly, these are concepts that underpin relationships within PROI Worldwide. There’s a series of questions we seem to open with when we reconnect:

  • How’s business?
  • How’s the family?
  • How are you?
  • How are you really?

It speaks to respect for each other on a professional level and a genuine connection to what surrounds the professional persona – family, home, passions and obligations. There’s a joy in speaking freely about the highs, lows and in-betweens to people who get it.

A peer network that provides autonomy, belonging, consistency and status – with a healthy dose of family life – brings the best out in leaders. If you don’t have such a group in your life, find one!


Some next-gen wisdom with your Bintang? 

Rian Newman, Senior Account Director + Brand Experience 

This was my first trip to Bali and I was glad to spend it with some of the best and brightest communications leaders across APAC.

Mark and Paula have touched on the trends shaping our workplaces and it was clear from chatting with my cohort of next-gen leaders that many of us are embracing the change. 

I spoke to a team in the Philippines who’ve developed a squad of AI ‘agents’ to reply to emails, monitor news and perform some of the more remedial tasks in their job. Elsewhere, a mock crisis session showed me that pragmatism, optimism and vulnerability are hallmark characteristics throughout emerging leaders across the region.  

While we may be operating in an era marked by artificial intelligence, media distrust and flexible work, it’s still human connection and relationships – sharing stories over a Bintang and a Balinese sunset – where we excel. Exciting times ahead.