To the Point

What’s Your BIG IDEA?

How to enact positive change in the meetings industry.

No industry connects people to ideas and opportunity more than the meetings and events industry. When your attendees get together, the ideas flow.

That’s what happens at PCMA’s Convening Leaders every year, and our 2014 annual meeting was no exception.

This year, we started off with a bang when both Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick joined us at our Opening General Session. Both leaders were enthusiastic about our meeting, and the importance of the meetings industry in general — kicking off Convening Leaders on the right note.

The next day, in partnership with the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), we challenged meeting attendees to think outside the box and share their BIG IDEAS for the meetings industry. What will help you do your job better? What will make your meeting more competitive? How can we better share our industry’s story with the outside world?

In the meeting’s BIG IDEA Zone, many of you communicated your ideas about space design, engagement and experience design, learning design, operational efficiency, and engagement technology on Post-It notes. Some introduced completely new ideas, and others borrowed from successful concepts in other industries. We also invited design students to attend our meeting and share their big ideas; see p. 30 to learn what they had to say.

Convening Leaders was just the start of our year-long BIG IDEAS initiative, supported by the PCMA Education Foundation. With hundreds of great ideas already shared, we want to keep the momentum going. To submit an idea, simply go to and tell us what you think will help drive positive change in the meetings industry. If your idea is too big for words alone, feel free to include images, links, or videos. You can also follow us on Twitter @Big-IdeasCL or tweet at #BigIdeasCL. The deadline to enter is May 1,2014.

After May 1, DCVB and PCMA will select the top 10 BIG IDEAS from all the submissions, then open it up for a crowdsourced vote to select the winner. I personally think we’ll all win by sharing our BIG IDEAS and stimulating conversations about how to advance the meetings industry — and the individual submitting the winning idea will get the opportunity to participate in a brainstorming session with one of the best BIG IDEA guys out there: Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and “Shark Tank” innovator. The winning idea — and the person behind it — will be announced at PCMA’s Education Conference in June.

The BIG IDEAS initiative isn’t just about coming up with one transformational million-dollar idea. We want to encourage the industry to keep finding ways to innovate — so we can define the trends and not be defined by them.

What’s your BIG IDEA? I hope you’ll get involved and share it with the industry today.

Deborah Sexton

Deborah Sexton is president and CEO of PCMA.