BY BRYAN HOLIDAY
bryanh@icmsaust.com.au

Good events are not all about smart technology.

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to attend a number of excellent master classes attached to the co-located business events trade shows ABEE and RSVP. It was both fascinating and mind-blowing to hear about the speed of change to activities that have been relatively free of dramatic upheaval for decades.
Naturally, much of the accelerated pace of change is being driven by technological innovation. One speaker mentioned that there were over 650,000 Apps for mobile devices. There are probably more by now.
There also seemed to be an enormous number of websites designed to help with every activity associated with organising, managing and producing a conference. To be accurate, these technical aids focussed more on improving processes rather than outcomes. They also seemed to empower the delegate to a far greater extent than they’re empowered now. This is an exciting challenge for event managers as they will have to offer more strategic advice and counsel to their clients and rely less for their revenue on undertaking labour-intensive activities.
One word that I didn’t hear mentioned was service. After reviewing a number of dictionaries the best and in some ways the simplest definition I could find was – the action of helping or doing work for someone. The future path for all people who work in the narrowing gap between client and supplier is that they become managers of information and that is the service that they’ll sell.
Another word that I didn’t hear in the sessions on technology was creativity. Anyone who produces special events must have been in awe when watching the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in London. Simple stories portrayed with elegance and humour using both professional and volunteer performers combining to create magic. Of course technology was a major factor in bringing the sequences to life but it was always secondary to the primacy of the human imagination.
So despite the exponential growth in our tools of trade there will always be a place in business events for people who can convert the age-old desire to meet into a sparkling festival of ideas, networking and productivity with a keen focus on client service.

AON