When I start to write anything for Engage of course I have something at MPI I want to tell our readers about, so I always have a topic in mind. But I'm a very visual person, and to kick start my storytelling I like to have an image that represents the topic. While searching for an image to represent the latest edition of FutureWatch I came across the image above - a dictionary entry.
It reminded me of my 7th grade student council campaign speech that - like every other candidate's speech that day - started with a quote from Merriam Webster's Dictionary that defined some aspirational word we had chosen to represent ourselves. So, even at the risk of sounding like an aspiring young student council candidate, I think the definition of "future" I found today is worth quoting to kick off this post.
Future - an expectation of advancement or progressive development (thank you Merriam)
That really is what the newly redesigned and evolved FutureWatch study is all about - defining the expectations that meeting professionals have around the advancement and progressive development of our industry.
In collaboration with Association Insights who conducts the research and compiles the data, our team here at MPI decided to take a new approach to FutureWatch this year. While the study still provides hard data on the predictive direction of business in the year ahead, it now provides more insight into the "Why".
By utilizing real answers from real research participants in interview excerpts, readers can now gain insight into the deeper details behind the numbers. Additionally, the new format breaks out the critical data on major trends that indicate meetings are going to get smarter and be more strategic. The study also breaks out trends in enhancing supplier and planner relationships and a provides separate section on technology trends.
I also think the team did a great job at connecting the dots from the trends back to applicable tools that are available through MPI that can actually help readers take this data and do something about it. For example, one of the top trends identified is that SMM is now critical, not optional. So in addition to outlining what respondents say, the report then provides additional links to webinars that provide guidance on how to get an SMM program started.
In this new edition of FutureWatch you'll not only find predictions on advancements- but also tools for how to progressively develop skills to adapt to them. I'm really hoping that savvy speakers out there will dig into FutureWatch and develop new presentations around these progressive and trending topics. And smart suppliers or destinations (both big and small) can really dive in and get inside the modern planner's head when it comes to decision making. Anyone in the tech sector who wants to break into the meeting and event industry should also be turning a critical eye to the statistical data on technology integration into face-to-face meetings (i.e. 72% of planners anticipate digital event strategies).
So if all of this has piqued your interest and you'd like to learn more about the study (of course you do), I'm going to encourage you to spend some time with Bill Vogelei in a webinar on Jan. 19. You can find out how to register here.
Our team here at MPI and Engage would love to hear how you've used data from FutureWatch or other MPI research to conduct business in a smarter or more strategic way. What have you done?