This book includes a plain text version that is designed for high accessibility. To use this version please follow this link.
2011


EDUCATION CONFERENCE PREVIEW


“In the association world, we’re blessed with an opportunity to lead. I’ve noticed that everyone in the association community really has two choices. You can become a passive vessel for getting along and keeping members happy. Or you can try to be a leader.”


Innovation is creating something different that someone else is willing to buy. It doesn’t only have to be in products or tech- nology.Agreat innovation was the Internet. That clearly is a gift to the world. But innovation is also Starbucks. They created an atmosphere and a way of distributing coffee that people like. People are willing to pay for it. To me, that’s innovation.


What’s interesting is that your book isn’t so much pessimistic as realistic. At least, it has an optimistic subtitle. The editor insisted on an optimistic title. I have to be perfectly candid with you. [Laughs.] And the editor was right. Americans are an optimistic people, and they want optimism. But, yeah, it is optimistic in the sense that I do believe in American excep- tionalism and that Americans have unique ability and creativ- ity and innovation, and will stand up when tested. I think our failure of leadership—President Bush, PresidentObama—has really been a failure tochallenge Americans in any meaningful way. I don’t think our politicians are willing to step up on that. They don’t do what we pay them for, which is to make tough decisions despite whether or not they get reelected.


Is part ofthe problem that some ofthese issues— the deficit, public education, infrastructure—have been with some ofus our whole lives, and seem intractable?


Maybe. I certainly never was a deficit hawk until a few years ago. I think they’re fixable. I wasn’t alive [then], but I picture what it was like to be an American when Hawaii was bombed by the Japanese.We had nowar infrastructure, and we created one within a matter of months. The trick is always to look at the long term and get over the


crisis of the moment. You’re right, these problems have been around for a while.Onthe other hand, in the last fewyears we’ve increased our debt more than in all the prior years put together. It does reach a point where it’s out of control. Part of me feels that both political parties have defined themselves in a way where they’re not capable of dealing with the issues. And I don’t know what the answer is there. But that’s democracy, in a sense. You have extremes that take over each party, and the middle people have kind of gone away.


What will you be talking to your PCMA audience about? I will be talking about the role of associations and meetings in terms of a duty to focus on the big picture and to guide your membership to the big picture.You have to respect the fact that sometimes you have to lead, and in the association world, we’re blessed with an opportunity to lead. I’ve noticed that everyone in the association community really has two choices. You can become a passive vessel for getting along and keeping mem- bers happy. Or you can try to be a leader.


Gary Shapiro will deliver a general- session presentation at the PCMA Education Conference in Baltimore this month. For more information, visit www.pcma.org/EduCon. To learn more about The Comeback, visit www.comeback-book.com. To learn more about CEA’s Innovation Movement, visit www.innovation-movement.com.


What role can meetings and conventions play when it comes to fostering innovation? Innovation, again, is not just about a product or a technology. It’s about change—even how you think about and do things. The mostpowerful group inAmerica are those[meeting planners]who get people together and share ideas. If you’re controlling what people are seeing and being exposed to, that’s a very powerful thing. In the association community, that’s what we’re doing. I would urge the association world not to be passive; to be


active. Have a viewpoint. What’s the worst that’s going to hap- pen? You’re going to lose your job? When I started out in my career, I couldn’t understand the association world. I couldn’t understand my job. I was put in charge of an organization, and there was a guy who had been the boss. And I said, “I don’t understand this job.” And he said, “It’s a great job. You can do anything you want, until you’re fired.” And he was right. That’s the truth about these jobs.You can do anything you want, until you’re fired. 


Christopher Durso is executive editor of Convene. 60 pcmaconvene June 2011 www.pcma.org


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110