Sounds pretty dry right? But it may just play into the strength of our industry, wrestle back some control of our destiny, and move us forward to a place where we not only retain the value of what we do but move it exponentially on.
Let’s start with the simple business equation that for any event to happen, especially new concepts, there has to be the correct balance between risk and incentive. If the risk is too high based on the perceived reward, it doesn’t happen, and vice versa.
The events industry has long sat precariously close to this line, but pandemics shutdowns, restrictions and the like have thrown it well over the edge.
But now we have our trends; the increase trust and reliance on hybrid meetings, the emergence of a centennial audience, an industry willing to take on difficult subjects such as diversity, equity, and inclusion, to chase talent into the far corners of society and, to reach audiences it’s never engaged before.
All of these trends can be embraced so that we now reach a wider audience, pivoting between online and live formats, mixing hyper local with global, and protecting our content from disruption; in so doing, de-risk out events. It’s easy to think that innovation is driven by opportunity when it’s really driven by threat. We already have the ear of the sales and marketing director; this puts us in good favour of the FD and legal team as well.
Then let us consider other types of disruptive trends. Security, in the form of environmental, physical, data driven and of course disease. We now have the tools at our disposal to be agile in front of these threats, but also to cope responsibly with them when they land. We are in the age of the pandemic, but we’ve armed up and can either fight them on the ground or take the fight away from them … into the meta-verse if we must.
Finally, we have sustainability. The mother of all trends and the single most important of them all. How can we, as an industry, look to take our responsibility to affect change though the events we run. For me, this is all about accountability as well. In front of delegates its simple, it’s all about waste; don’t waste my time, don’t waste my money, don’t waste resources. Follow these simple rules and delegates are happy to meet face to face because of the social and professional value it undoubtably offers. In front of businesses, how can we show the events industry to be a sustainability solution, not a problem, how can we use brilliant partners like isla, Event Cycle, The Rubbish Project and many more to show the world that our actions speak as loud as our words.
Sustainability is also a risk though, and for me should be on the ‘trend-based-risk assessment’ as well as the RFP. What is the risk to the planet of what we do? It should sit next to security and fiscal risk, and then be aligned with the complete programme of risks, liabilities and finally, incentives.
The meetings and events industry is smart. We get it, we’re responsible and I would rather have our future in our own hands than with outside influence. We like risk assessments because we take our responsibilities seriously. For this reason, risk is one of my words for 2022; it should embrace everything we do, and how we do it.
Trends are there to be rode upon, like waves. We need to ride these mega-surfs in the right way and use them as a catalyst to improve what we do. If that means we boil it down into a four-letter word, risk is as good as any.
Alistair Turner, Eight PR