01. Introduction

What is a forum? By definition a forum is “A medium of discussion conducted out of doors where public business is transacted”. To industry this translates to intermixing with one other to determine and introduce work needed to conduct successful business. Forums are becoming an increasingly popular tool to bring industry leaders together to solve the worlds problems. However, if not conducted correctly or if the timing is not right, a forum could produce negative results.

This report is being written to help organize the steps necessary to conduct a successful forum. Furthermore, it is being generated in hopes of preventing mistakes from occurring over and over again when holding forums. This report is by no meanings an accurate step-by-step guideline to conducting a successful forum. Each individual forum held to date has had a unique set of objectives thus, mandating unique proceedings.

In June of 1998, the American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE), Drilling Engineering Association (DEA), Energy Research Clearing House (ERCH), and the Minerals Management Service (MMS) held a joint industry forum on Shallow Water Flow (SWF) to identify the technical challenges and needed forward research. This forum was probably one of the most successful forums held to date. It brought one of the largest multi-disciplinary groups of people together to share information and to identify gaps surrounding the SWF phenomena. The forum was well attended with over 180 participants representing Operators, Governmental Agencies, Service Companies, Research Facilities, and Academic Institutions.

The suggestions and recommendations that follow in this report were based mainly on the experiences with this particular SWF forum. Although I have had experiences with organizing other successful forums, I will use this forum as a foundation, if you will, to identify the positive as well as negative results in conducting a successful forum.