Virtual meetings cannot completely replace meetings in person, Jacques Attali told delegates at the Association of Corporate Travel Executives' Global Education Conference in Paris.
According to Attali, a French economist and former advisor to President Francois Mitterand, the most important place in an office is the coffee machine.
When employees meet at the coffee machine, their interaction is “outside hierarchy” allowing them to freely discuss ideas – a vital source of innovation for a company.
“I understand that a lot of things can be done on videoconferencing,” said Attali, but “quality events, where people will learn something” are extremely valuable to an organisation.
Attali, who was named by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world, said the music industry has demonstrated the importance of attending events.
“I very often think that music is the best way to forecast the future,” he said. “Look at what happened to the music industry. Try to sell a CD – nobody wants to buy it.
“Try to sell a concert ticket – you will find a lot of people ready to buy it. Why? Because it is an experience. An event. Where people share life experiences.”