By Len Monheit
‘Wait and see’ seems to be much the prevailing attitude through the first few weeks of 2006, at least if you judge the volume of communication and pace of product announcements.
I’ve got a bit of problem with the wait and see approach. You see, the waiting implies passivity, and those that are passive lose the ability to define the battle ground. No battle ground, you say? Well, there’s always a battle ground, although frequently it’s not defined as such. Work going on in the background you say? Building infrastructure and capacity? Preparations we just can’t see? Well, maybe, but I would certainly expect to see more front-line activity – and even enthusiasm for the tasks and challenges at hand.
Preliminary response to a few of the upcoming events was ‘same old, same old’. While there might be some legitimacy to this feeling, this industry, even more than some others, still relies on physical events to facilitate communications, and to drive business relationships, so even if the agenda for the event doesn’t strike your fancy, and the issues don’t seem to be reaching critical milestones, then the stagnation of dialogue in the absence of vibrant events should get your attention and prompt your organization to seek alternative vehicles to either do things differently, or trigger interactions on an individual or encompassing basis that will drive opportunity.
While a good part of the responsibility lies with the event organizers to ensure that the events are appropriate, topical, at times provocative, and generally have a value potential, a certain amount of responsibility also lies with industry to make sure that event organizers have the opportunity to capture top of mind (or business) issues. If there are no issues, whose fault really is that? And are there really none, or are many potential participants too tired of the ‘same old’ to provide new insights and strategies?
For many of us, Expo West, SupplyExpo and Nutracon will be the next major event and opportunity to seek insight, innovation and opportunity.
It’s interesting to note that no event ever gives us any of these ‘on a plate’. What the most successful typically do is provide the environment for creative individuals to make the most of an opportunity. In a best case scenario, it’s as much the attendees as the event, that creates the chance for inspiration.