After spending time working on what we had planned would be our cover story for this issue, our conscientious Contributing Editor Molly Brennan expressed some concern. She wasn’t finding many concrete examples, she said, of how 3D printing was being used at meetings and conventions.
That gave us pause for several reasons. First, this would be not only the cover story that carries the entire issue, but our CMP Series story as well, for which readers can earn one credit hour toward their CMP certification or recertification. Most important, we’re serious about our primary goal as editors of this magazine — to provide content that is relevant to your role as a meeting professional and the industry as a whole.
But it didn’t take us long to decide to stick to our original plan and to tell Molly to forge ahead. Because we think it’s also our job to shine a light on emerging technologies — or technologies that are gaining ground across industries as they become more affordable and accessible — and to explore how they might be used to benefit the business of meetings. And 3D printing certainly falls into that category.
The truth is, we can’t always accurately predict whether something will take hold and transform the way we go about our lives personally and professionally, or whether the tool, platform, or technology will remain confined to niche applications. My favorite Super Bowl commercial this year illustrates that point. It’s the BMW commercial featuring a clip of Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel on an episode of the “Today” show from 1994, where they expressed their confusion over what this thing called “the Internet” is all about (convn.org/BMW-Internet). Fast-forward two decades, and it’s difficult for us to remember a time when being online wasn’t part of our daily routine.
I thought about all of this recently as I read a book review of Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on It, in which author Ian Leslie argues that technological advances paradoxically may be stifling our inquisitiveness and creativity. For example, Google gives us immediate answers to our questions, Leslie says, nipping true curiosity — which requires cultivation and “grunt work” to arrive at a deep understanding of a subject — in the bud.
In other words, real curiosity is given short shrift today because it has no immediate payoff. Yet the drive to know more, Leslie maintains, is an essential criterion for a rewarding life.
In that spirit, knowing that there may be no immediate application for you, we invite you to read this month’s cover story — and to approach a lot of the content we regularly serve up in the same vein. If curiosity is indeed a skill, you can count on Convene to cultivate it by exploring just about everything that might have anything to do with meetings.