Sunday, April 12, 2009

New World of Work

A number of these videos have been flashing around recently. They are each quite impactful, but it is important to look at them with fresh eyes after you've seen a few of them. The temptation is to think "Oh, yes. I've seen that." Look again. You might discover something new.

I watched this New World of Work video while thinking about the future (and the past) of conferences and meetings. World demographics are changing wildly. More people will be retired than are working in some countries. The demographic mix in the US will shift dramatically in the next 30 years, in terms of ethnicity, language, social classes and much more. The best jobs in 2020 have not been invented yet, and they will use technologies that we haven't even dreamed of. These are the jobs that our schools are preparing young people for.

Does this sound like a world in which people will be willing to invest their time and money in a big conference where a handful of people talk at them? No way! This is a world where people will have ultimate choices about how they use their time. They'll be able to do endless things online, on the phone, in virtual worlds. To get people to attend a meeting physically will require a tremendous attractor, and talking heads ain't it.

What can people do in person that cannot be replicated online? Look each other in the eyes. Shake hands. Overhear a conversation and jump right in. Collaborate intensely. These are the experiences that the meeting industry must strive to create, because these are the only experiences that your attendees won't be able to get online.

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