Tradeshow and Exhibit Thoughtleaders
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John F. Kennedy

Stephanie Selesnick's Articles

A Chance To Fail May Foster Success 

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What do we learn from moreóour successes or failures? Is there a place in your conference or tradeshow for attendees (and exhibitors and sponsors, too) to fail safely?


In todayís ROI-dominated world, any new idea, once implemented, is expected to make money within 30 seconds of being launched. Does this attitude reward the same old stuff instead of fostering innovation in the workplace?


So, how can we incorporate the idea of safely failing into our shows and events?

Some tech shows use hackathons. For those who have never heard the term, itís where a team of tech gurus and technicians get together and work to solve a problem or create new software or hardware for a money prize. This can take anywhere from several hours to a few daysóbut it sure works!

So, how can your show incorporate a hackathon? Crowdsource ideas for problems to be solved and then have exhibitors and their clients (attendees) put together teams to tackle the issues. Either stream in a video onto the show floor or designate a place where they can work. Charge fees to participate, get media coverage beyond just the usual industry coverage and encourage innovation all at the same time!

How about using workshops to solve problems? Most workshops arenít doing this. Thereís no work, no interaction, no innovation or problem solving!  They are usually longer educational sessions with a panel of talking heads and not much hands-on work.

Why not build teams based on size of show or particular issue? Give each team a problem to solve, let them find solutions and then share with the rest of the class. How much more interesting and engaging does that sound?

Plus, the added bonus of both hackathons and workshops is that thereís a place for creativity. If an idea is developed that ultimately fails, everyone learns and the impact on ROI is zilch. Actually, itís in the plus column if you really think about it.

Rethink the education you provide your industry. Give people a place to fail safely.

© 2013 by Stephanie Selesnick