56 PCMA CONVENE APRIL 2017 PCMACONVENE.ORG
are in — a meeting, a date, a phone call, an advertisement,”
Gillissen said. As for the “festival” part, he thinks that’s what
a modern business conference should feel like. “Our attend-
ees, partners, journalists, and speakers,” he said, “tell us that
this fundamental thinking is what makes the two days in
Graz so special.”
Since its founding in 2012, the goal of Fifteen Seconds has
been “to inspire, enable, and empower people,” Gillissen said.
“Back then, we found out that what makes great organizations
great is that they are powered by people. People that share
a certain set of attitudes that makes them stand out. They
inspire others, share what they learned, and never stop learn-
ing themselves. And they use the power of relationships. We
committed to build this community and the space required
to connect these people and facilitate new relationships and
knowledge transfer, all within an environment fueled by cre-
ativity and innovation.”
More than 3,000 attendees in marketing, sales, advertising,
media, talent acquisition, and technology roles attended last
year’s event — 90 percent of them from Germany, Austria,
and Switzerland, although more than 25 di;erent countries
were represented. The 2017 Fifteen Seconds Festival, sched-
uled for June 8–9, will focus on “challenging the commercial
future” and cover four pillars: growth, talent, media, and tech.
“We see ourselves as a platform to connect many disciplines,
roles, and industries together in one place,” Gillissen said.
“We believe that true creativity and innovation arises from
the clash of the di;erent.”
As an event whose stock in trade is novelty, Fifteen Sec-
onds obviously can’t roll out the same program each year.
This year will see the introduction of several initiatives.
With Experimental Brainstorming, participants will “enter
the unknown” with a stranger to work toward a solution.
Connect Sessions will take place in an IKEA ball pit, with
prepared question cards designed to initiate conversations.
Dinner With a Stranger, curated by Fifteen Seconds, will con-
nect attendees over a meal at a local restaurant. And Baking
Bread will give participants a chance to get their hands dirty
(or sticky), rolling out dough alongside Graz’s master baker.
For a taste of the immersive experience in store for par-
ticipants this year, here is a look at last year’s festival, with
HOS T DES TINATION: GRAZ
“Graz has proven to be a great
host city for every edition
so far as a historical center,
Europe’s culture capital of
2003, a [UNESCO] World
Cultural Heritage [Site],
and City of Design. At the
start of the summer, this
well-frequented creative city
is simply amazing. We are
eager to continue hosting
our annual festival here, as
we receive feedback from
attendees and speakers who
enjoy their stay during the