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Disastrous Dinners Survey Responses

Summary

Since the survey has been shared with IChemE members, there have been a over 70 responses, the vast majority of which have been very supportive. There seems to be a great deal of interest for such an event, mixing both a technical aspect and social setting. It was also nice to see 55% of responders offering to help in some way1, including 17 people offering to present a talk, which was much more than I was expecting.

As a result, I will aim to produce a series of events next year. I will rotate the location between venues in Edinburgh, Glasgow and either Falkirk or Grangemouth. The most popular time, by some margin, was the early evening. One of the suggestions was to host the presentation first, then go for dinner and drinks. This may make things easier in terms of finding venues so I will adopt this format.

We are currently aiming to host the first event in January.

General Comments

I created the Survey on Tuesday the 6th of November and shared it with members of the committee. On Monday the 12th2, an email was sent to IChemE members inviting them to complete the survey as well as it being published on social media (facebook and linkedin). The majority of the responses arrived within the first 48 hours and only a handful have been submitted in the last few days.

The survey started by asking people their general comments before asking any other questions. Most of the comments were positive and supportive of the idea. There was a question around “Why disasters in particular?”, the answer is partially to catch people's attention but mostly to provide a focus and theme for the events. There was a comment made that we need to ensure we handle the topic with respect and another that:

The description of this dinner series in the main email reads more like a Horrible Histories event, rather than a constructive conversation around safety in various process industries.

It might be worth highlighting the underlying theme of safety?

As a result, I will ensure that the event information focuses more on the safety and learning aspect in the summaries, rather than making it seem like an afterthought.

The results for the second question “How likely are you to attend one of these events?” are shown on the first page. This was actually just a filtering question, used to ensure that people who are unlikely to attend did not get asked questions about location or time. Anyone who selected “Probably not” or “Definitely not” were taken to the final question asking if there were any other things they wanted to let us know about.

When

The most popular time, by some margin, was the early evening. One of the suggestions was to host the presentation first, then go for dinner and drinks. This may make things easier in terms of finding venues so I will adopt this idea.

I also intend to schedule each event for the third Tuesday of the month. This should be considered a ‘default’ option, but it can be moved for speaker or venue availability.

Where

Results

Responders were asked to select which locations they would be willing to attend an event. They could select multiple locations as well as suggesting a location that had been missed3. The results are shown in the graph below. The dark green represents the total number of people who are willing to attend a particular location, the light green represents the number of people who are unwilling to to attend any other location4.

We had 6 people respond from Aberdeen. Considering there is a separate Aberdeen Members Group, I was not expecting to get responses from Aberdeen. Those responded from Aberdeen and left and email have been informed that I am unlikely to organise an event up there but the Aberdeen Members Group are welcome to copy the format of the event.

Conclusion

I will rotate the location between venues in Edinburgh, Glasgow and either Falkirk or Grangemouth. I will aim to host at venues that can be easily accessed from a train station to aid members who need to travel (including myself).

Help

The final part of the survey was asking if people were willing to help organise the events in some way. Again this question allowed people to supply multiple answers.

I was surprised and very pleased with the responses and did not expect to get as many people offering to help as I did; particularly surprised with the number of people willing to present a talk.

I need to work out how best to utilise the 19 members who have offered to ‘Research a topic’. I think I will keep their names on a private list. If any presenters request help, then BCC email those on the “research a topic” group details of the request and allow the presenter and any individual volunteers to get in touch with each other. I am open to alternative options.

I have started responding to those that have left contact details and started to schedule in the first few events. I need to continue to respond to the remaining volunteers and I hope to do so by the end of the week.

Notes

  1. Unfortunately 7 of these respondents didn’t leave an email address.
  2. The same night as the last committee meeting.
  3. The first 15 responders were unable to suggest an extra location however this was amended after someone pointed it out in the general comments.
  4. The Falkirk number (2) includes people only willing to attend events in Falkirk or Grangemouth.
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