The ESSA G50 has been a central strategic event in the industry for several years and over that time it has adapted to suit the changing needs of the market and those who attend the event. This year the event had two very different content streams, and ESSA Chair John Robson picks his favourites.
There is always a challenge in delivering content that suits an audience as wide and varied as the ESSA membership. Do you make it highly practical, hands on advice that can be used by our large cohort of smaller, owner managed businesses, or do you drive strategic content that engages in futurology? It really is difficult to navigate a course between these two and still deliver an event that is relevant to the broad sweep of companies that attend. One key component to the success of the G50 in previous years has been having an effective event chair. We have been fortunate to have had some notable individuals in the past, and this year we were especially fortunate to have Kent Allen as our chair for the day. Kent has an impressive cv as both an organiser at Clarion Events and as president of Exhibitgroup/Giltspur in Canada.
Leading the strategic charge was Phil Soar, whose industry insight is based upon years of research and an in-depth knowledge of the industry that is hard to equal. We listened to evidence of a contracting exhibition market, which was balanced by the relative security of the events and exhibitions sector when compared with other media. My take on this was that this sector is a good place to be if you can accept change.
Phil explained that the current use of the internet and more importantly social media in our working lives would have been completely unforeseen ten years ago. Similarly, we cannot begin to imagine the landscape in which we will be operating ten years from now. Change is now so ingrained in our business and personal lives that the only variable is the pace of change, and technology and a competitive environment will only serve to accelerate this in the future. I believe that, based upon Phil’s presentation, the survivors will be those companies that can accept and adopt change by making it part of their operational culture. A thoughtful session to start the day.It was initially hard to see where the parallels could be drawn between Toyota Materials Handling UK and an event service provider, but a presentation by Tony Wallis clearly showed how the application of a rigorous process could pay dividends. There was a clear message that industrial processes work. Kan Ban, Kaizen and TPS may look daunting but the principles can be adopted and applied to our industry and, if driven from the most senior position, can have a direct effect on the bottom line. This was a perfect example of theory in! action, and the results at Toyota are impressive.
Nigel Nathan shared the extensive work and investment made in Olympia to restore this historic and beautiful venue and put it into context with the future of Earls Court. Highlighting the current oversupply of venue space in the UK, he positively reinforced the message of adapting for change and provided reassurance that EC&O are committed to providing well thought out exhibition space in the capital city. Also on Nigel’s agenda was TFL’s decision to close the tube links to Olympia which is increasingly becoming a news item across the media.
My final note from the day was the impeccable professionalism with which James Gower and his team managed the demise of the Liverpool Boat Show only 10 weeks out from the event. It was engaging, honest and presented in such a way as to allow those present to gain both insight and a measure of how hard it is to deliver a large-scale competitive event.
As my first G50 in the position of chair of ESSA, I was! delighted with the attendance and the quality of the day. The feedback showed that different groups of people got benefit from different parts of the day, which just goes to prove that there is never one winning formula. It does, however, provide us with a great opportunity to plan for the G50 2012. If you are planning to take a day out of the office to better understand this industry, I cannot think of a better way to get such a broad feel of the state of play.
Category: General Event Industry News