Well, things are beginning to return to some degree of normality – even if the weather remains anything but normal, after our annual pilgrimage to the Airmic Conference, this year held in Birmingham at the ICC.
After a year of planning, a year of preparation and designing, months of building and creating content and organising workshops and dinners, the start all came down to a certain boxer finishing his gala dinner at the venue late the night before! This delayed our entry to the hall by two hours - not the easiest of starts to Airmic 2017 - but with the help of the team at the ICC and everyone involved working well, a great range of stands were built in record time, ready for the opening. Maybe that was our first thing to learn about ‘things to come’?!
Overall, the sense from the Conference was one of optimism, despite all of the issues and changes ahead, and there was a very strong debate about the key issues on the lips of business. As you would expect, some of those key topics included:
- Innovation – the need for the market to challenge itself and respond to the needs of the customer rather than what is best for itself
- ‘All things digital’ – from data sharing/mapping to AI and Cyber, which perhaps presented the greatest discussion purely due to the uncertainty about what that means for the market and how best to plan for the ‘when not if’ scenario voiced by many
- Emerging Risks – trying to plan for the things that we don’t yet know might be a problem.
It was clear that all of the exhibitors had invested to some degree to engage their message, be that in workshops or on the exhibition stands – FM Global with their Flood Map or Travelers with the VR Experience as examples, but many have yet to grasp the opportunity presented to them by technology and design to really make a difference and articulate their proposition in a new and dynamic way.
It is clear that much of this market is built around relationships, yet we still seem to rely too heavily on it – avoiding the increasing number of people that are involved in decision influencing/making and those that don’t attend the Conference. Companies are making improvements in the way in which they deliver their key messages and the intellectual difference within their business, but much more needs to be done to really explain what we know about the future and how we can help companies plan for ‘things to come’. We must be relevant to the market and what we say must resonate with their issues.
If you didn’t get the chance to attend Airmic this year – or if you’d like to see if you were captured on film there, have a look at our Airmic Conference 2017 Medley :