Mercure Holland House Hotel, Cardiff 9th & 10th November 2011
Whilst we are proud to be celebrating our twenty-fifth conference and to remember the countless organisations and individuals we have helped during those years it is the lessons we have learned along the way that are important for the future.
At the time of writing this article, we are expecting at least one delegate who was at our very first conference in London in 1987. Whilst they are still in the ideas business, that world has changed out of all recognition. They, like our association, have changed with the times as working practices, business pressures, social aspirations and, above all, technology have evolved. With the growing internationalisation of business, the terminology has also changed so that suggestion schemes, ideas programmes, involvement, empowerment and many other words become interchangeable but all express the ethos of what we do.
Getting to twenty-five conferences is an achievement, although for our sister organisation, IdeasAmerica 2011 is the year of their sixty-ninth conference which will take place in San Antonio and one of the earliest recorded suggestion schemes of the modern world was some one hundred and twelve years ago. What does this tell us? It tells us that the basic concept of an employee contributing an idea to improve the workplace or the business remains as valuable today as it did all those years ago.
Another aspect of our business that has not changed is the hunger of ideas managers for information. From the basic nuts and bolts of putting a fresh programme together or seeking out the latest techniques and technology to further advance their work, this hunger is ably fed by the national organisations with their comprehensive and independent advice and expertise.
Each year these organisations seek to create the best possible opportunities for members to feed that hunger through websites and meetings, culminating in an annual conference where experiences are shared, concepts grappled with and performance reviewed against others.
For first-time delegates these events are helpful in the most basic ways. For the experienced delegate it is of course an opportunity to share their experience. However, as ideas managers are very open minded and flexible, even the nuts and bolts sessions can serve as a re-evaluation exercise, as keeping a scheme under such review is the key to continuing success.
Consequently, whatever your experience or involvement in the ideas business, conference is something not to be missed. Even the most perfect amongst us can leave knowing that amongst their peers they are still doing it well and the rest of us can leave re-energised with new thoughts to apply to our work on our return.
ideasUK Cardiff 2011 will be just such an experience, grasp it with both hands.