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Conference fatigue?

Jun 10, 2019

It’s June and the early round of conferences has come to a close.  Some may say thank goodness.  But me, no, not really.  I have never suffered from conference fatigue and probably won’t be starting this year.

I have been able to bring you reports from ARA, IMA and FIDI.  This month I have a report from OMNI in Seville and in July you can look forward to hearing from EUROMOVERS and BAR.  As I have said many times before, they are all different and all worthwhile in their own way.

This month our lead story is from the FIDI conference where Patrick Schwerdtfeger threw a little light on the world of artificial intelligence, Blockchain and disruptive innovation.  There was one idea that I thought was particularly interesting: the principle that disruptive innovation always comes from companies on the fringes that tackle the least profitable part of the industry first. For example, I am old enough to remember the British motorcycle industry before we had heard of Honda.  In those days the UK made large, oily, unreliable bikes. When Honda entered the market with its Honda 50 ‘moped’, everyone left them alone thinking that was no great threat. By the time they turned up with the 750cc 4-cylinder flying machine in the early 1970s, the game was up, their reputation established and the likes of Norton, Triumph and BSA were consigned to the scrap heap. Similarly, Patrick asks you to look to your major suppliers, ask what they do poorly and can you do it better? He observes: “when you do something new you don’t have much competition because others don’t have the courage to try”.

OMNI is a kind of antidote to conferences.  There’s no sales, no business cards, no private meetings – just industry leaders helping each other to take a more strategic view. Some think OMNI is secretive, it’s not, but it is discreet.  That’s the way it should be.

But the biggest laugh was at the Metropolitan 50th anniversary party where Peter Schaefers invited all the members of the Mongoose Club, an under-the-radar group of the great and good who perform charitable work, to take centre stage for once. You could almost smell the brains racing to decide whether they should be unmasked or not.  Very funny and all taken in the spirit of friendship and generosity with which it was intended.

Don’t ever tell me that conferences are boring.     

Steve Jordan, Editor, The Mover

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