“Learn to learn again!Soak in the knowledge of something new!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
I went to a virtual conference the other night – not as a speaker, but as an actual participant, an audience member! I was trying to figure out when was the last time I actually did this, and I think it was when I went to the Electronic Mail Association annual conference in New Orleans in 1990! (The association no longer exists; the idea of email back then was new and disruptive. Involved with the technology already for 8 years, , and I was busy building a little business around the concept…..before my next career exploded into reality in 1993.)
The event had to do with the innovations occurring in the virtual meetings and special events industry, and was put on by the Toronto chapter of ILEA – the International Live Events Association. It’s the representative body of another side of the massively devastated industry of which I am part – meeting planners and show producers, catering companies, lighting and AV groups, and even the small little companies that stuff the goodie bags and boxes that you would receive when you went to a conference or event.
There’s not a lot of work, a lot of pain and hurt, and not a lot of good news when it comes to going back to business.
That said, I did not find a virtual room of people bemoaning about the fact that their world has changed – I did find a place of people with ideas, concepts and imagination! The most powerful thing I learned – and I knew that it was true but needed to experience it first hand – is that there are a lot of other people out there like me, from different parts of this industry, who are working hard to reinvent this industry. Refusing to give up, reinventing and transforming, building out new ideas to create a new disruptive industry that provides a critical service to companies and industry.
What did I learn? There are all kinds of ways to structure audience interaction into a virtual event that I knew nothing about. That AV companies are thinking big about how to empower virtual event speakers with equipment to put on a great ‘show’ – any AV companies are working with the idea of a ‘studio in a box’ by which they send all the necessary equipment to a high profile speaker for an event. I discovered that there is quite a bit of fascinating virtual event technology out there that goes beyond the basic infrastructure provided by platforms like Zoom or GotoMeeting.
I must tell you this – I found it massively inspirational and a breath of fresh air – I needed the kick of inspiration to help me to learn about all the other wonderful things occurring in an industry of which I am part. I knew there were a lot of things going on ‘out there,’ but so far, I’ve been extremely busy on reinventing myself before I set off on the voyage of discovering new lands of transformation.
And it was wonderful – so much so, that I’ve already signed up for a 3-day virtual industry event later in October!
Learn to learn again – don’t get stuck! It’s when we stop learning that we stop innovating, start stagnating, and become stuck in that proverbial rut!