To the Point

Distinguishing Innovation

Innovation doesn’t always lead to success — but that should never stop us.

We’ve announced the winners of Convene’s fourth annual Best in Show awards. From technology tools to CSR programs, you’ll find some of the best projects, products, and services from meetings industry organizations and those that serve them. There’s everything from Hyatt’s Meet and Be Green program — which helps planners be more environmentally friendly and save money — to CleanMed 2015’s meeting app, described as “pure engagement.”

We tip our hats to the winners — and everyone nominated — not only for their successes, but for their drive to challenge the status quo. The truth is, many innovations don’t succeed at first, or at all. Some ideas are just ahead of their time. How about the Apple Newton, introduced back in 1993? Or Microsoft’s smart watch, launched in 2004? Every organization has its own threshold for experimentation, but our industry needs to be open to new models, new technologies, and new ways of engaging attendees.

That’s where PCMA’s meetings can help. Our goal is to help you learn about the newest ideas, products, and services, and to take part in new experiences. Our initiatives aren’t always home runs. But both the hits and the misses contribute to everyone’s learning process and help us all determine what ideas have potential, how to better execute them, and what concepts might be viable for your own meetings.

At our recent Education Conference (EduCon) in June in Fort Lauderdale, crowdsourced learning was a large part of our efforts. The first session was an overview of methods and approaches. The second experience consisted of 13 participant-led breakouts on topics decided by the group, ranging from creating a digital content strategy to a discussion of women in leadership — which was so popular that participants asked for a similar forum in the future. The third session was a group evaluation of EduCon, led by conference facilitator Adrian Segar. This public process might not work for all meetings, but it was a wonderful experience for all participating to learn firsthand how such a live evaluation might play out.

Other key takeaways from EduCon? Open spaces can be effective for learning, as long as there are some unobtrusive controls on the environment. Our late-addition presentation on the legal implications of live-streaming technologies such as Periscope and Meerkat was well-received. And John Medina’s bold reminders about the audience’s 10-minute attention span were instructive in terms of framing presentations.

Thank you to our terrific hosts in Fort Lauderdale for enhancing the EduCon 2015 experience. Thanks also to the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center for allowing us to offer a hybrid EduCon experience on a complimentary basis to anyone unable to attend in person.

Not every element of our meeting may have been worthy of Best in Show status, but each contributed to a rich learning experience.

Deborah Sexton

Deborah Sexton is president and CEO of PCMA.