Comedian Jean Kittson and marketing expert Dan Gregory debated the role of Innovation in Events in front of 100 event professionals at the inaugural leadership and networking luncheon, The Conversation Table hosted by Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) and stakeholder micenet AUSTRALIA Magazine.
Adjudicated by creative thinker, Nigel Collin the debate opened with Dan Gregory arguing for innovation, citing examples where innovation solves problems, where it keeps things fresh and that even bad innovation is good.
“Innovation reduces risk by producing a defence against competition. For example when Coke was dominated by the anti-sugar movement, they innovated and created diet-coke. In fact, not innovating is risky business,” debated Gregory.
However, for all his arguments, he was out-witted by the PowerPoint loathing, linguistic gymnast and crowd favourite Jean Kittson.
Ms Kittson described the dangers of events being innovative mainly because events in her view are about people and the urge for simplicity wins every time.
“If you must innovate, steal an idea from abroad who has gotten it right. The Romans never took their eye off the main game, if they wanted to try something out, they tested it on a slave first,” argued Kittson.
The Conversation Table was a fresh avenue for Meetings & Events Australia members and non-members to network and share their ideas on the debate.
Linda Gaunt, Chief Executive Officer of MEA said: “I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this fantastic new initiative. I’m already looking forward to the next one in January 2012.”
Ray Shaw, MCI Australia and longest serving MEA Accredited Meetings Manager was thrilled with the event. “After being a MEA member for 37 years, I don’t think I’ve seen a better event as I have today. I think it’s a must see for all events industry professionals,” said Mr Shaw.
However, it was Ms Kittson who summed up the debate with her profound observations: “All change is not progress and all progress is not change.”
The jury is still out about innovation.
The Conversation Table was presented by Meetings & Events Australia and stakeholder micenet AUSTRALIA Magazine. It was sponsored by Merivale, MCI Group, QANTAS, Ovations, Zadro Communications, AV Rentals and Oneill Photographics.
The luncheon was held at the very elegant Ivy Room by Merivale on Friday 7 October.