By Dana Freker Doody, Vice President of Communications, The Expo Group

The incredible keynote by Robert Safian, Editor of Fast Company, really started the 2014 Expo! Expo! in Los Angeles on a high note for me.

“You must set aside your nostalgia to adjust to changes,” Safian said in his opening keynote, setting the stage for a week-long educational experience encompassing peer-to-peer networking, show-floor innovation and of course conference sessions that covered brass tacks to future trends.


Safian said we are in Generation Flux — all of us, regardless of our age — and success will be determined by our ability to flexibly adapt. Events and media are facing rapid technological advancements and “high-velocity change” that distract the very people whose attention we seek. Safian went on to say, “smart leaders are creating a cadence of change to better allow their teams to not just respond to the chaos but also recognize it. They are hiring FIOs — people who can Figure It Out.” And figuring it out, he says, requires the following:

  • Move and Switch— Playing total football (meaning total soccer here in the U.S.) means being agile and fluid. Teams learned sometimes you have to pass the ball backward and sideways to get it to the goal. So having tunnel vision and just moving business initiatives forward without the ability to change it up and be flexible, can be detrimental.
  • Collaborate and Redefine — Everyone needs to know where the organization is going so they can break down the barriers and take ideas from everywhere. Titles and roles may get redefined, especially at the higher levels. Like in Total Football, sometimes the best attackers are your defenders.
  • Edit and Amplify — Know what you are good at and do that, even if it means doing less rather than producing a bunch of diluted products and services. Quality over quantity.

As an attendee, exhibitor, event planner and IAEE volunteer, I believe Safian’s message crystallized some awesome opportunities within our industry. It’s scary to make changes, but necessary. By framing the conversation in this vast industry community, Safian helped IAEE position Expo! Expo! as a can’t miss event. Come see what everyone will be talking about this year in Baltimore 1-3 December.



Posted by Elizabeth McQuade

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