Are you a virus?
Let me rephrase that. Do you see yourself as an innovator, a change agent, one that pushes the envelope?
If you do, you may very well be a virus.
Defining A Virus
A virus is an infectious agent that replicates within the cells of a living host.
Viruses spread in many ways. Insects spread viruses in plants and animals. Coughs and sneezes spread viruses in humans. Contact with food, water or an object where a virus landed can spread viruses.
Extending The Virus Metaphor
Many conferences are in need of a change. They need a virus acting as a change agent to do things differently. They need someone to have the courage to take a stand and foster innovation.
So how can the virus metaphor help us innovate more?
1. We can’t see a virus with naked eye.
Viruses often innovate in the safety of a smaller meeting or as a pilot project within a larger meeting. If you attempt to use event technology in a new way at your meeting, you may be a virus. Unfortunately, we can’t easily see these viruses. It’s only through the sharing of stories that the virus becomes visible.
2. A virus can only replicate within a living host.
As a conference innovator, do you share your thoughts, strategies and experiments with others? Who is your conference colleague that serves as a springboard for ideas and innovations? Viral replication begins with conversation and conversion. Openly sharing your innovative ideas may be the catalyst that ensures that your conference and organization remains vibrant.
3. Viruses often trigger natural defenses.
Just like a virus, it’s common for innovators to be attacked while the followers prosper. Once your superiors or customers identify you as a virus, the change agent, it may trigger their defenses. Organizational immune systems are comprised of those who want to maintain the status quo. It might be the AV vendor who doesn’t want you to livestream the meeting or Skype in a presenter. Or it may be some vocal customers who say they aren’t ready to adapt their conference routine to the realities of a changing world.
Regardless of the antibodies you encounter, know that it’s natural for people to defend the status quo. The most fearless innovators are accustomed to others acting as barriers. They know that it’s about a change management process and sharing lots of information. While the virus may slow, ultimately their viral nature is resistant to the system’s natural defenses.
4. Viruses may be immune to antibiotics and need to be aware of vaccination programs.
Sometimes organizational leaders adopt policies to protect the conference from disruptive change. “Mobile devices and laptops are not allowed at our conference. Doors are shut and locked from the outside once the program begins.” While these policies may seem like good ideas in the short term, often they tend to expire as other conferences evolve.
We Need A Conference Epidemic
Our traditional conference needs an epidemic. We need innovative practices to go viral and infect meeting professionals across the globe. If we are to reimagine the conference, organizers will need the services of continually evolving range of viruses.
Are you ready to join me for a conference pandemic?
What are some other ways the innovative meeting professionals are like viruses? What do conference organizers need to foster innovative and creativity successfully?