Here are Three Lessons I took from this Issue's Cover Story on the U.S. Green Building Council's Annual Greenbuild Conference.
If your organization's mission aligns with societal needs, then its meetings have a chance to grow. It's remarkable that a meeting of Greenbuild's stature is only seven years old. The USGBC responded to the need for a green-construction event, opening Greenbuild in 2002 with 4,000 attendees and 200 exhibitors; in 2009 Greenbuild had 27,373 attendees and 1,800 exhibitors. Does your organization want to grow its events? If so, re-examine your organization's mission and fine tune its message — and your meetings — to align with current societal needs.
If you want to be a leader, you have to take risks. Greenbuild is nicely established in the market, and show organizers could maintain the status quo. If it's not broken, don't fix it, right? Wrong. For 2010, the conference is putting into place the Greenbuild Mandatory Exhibition Green Guidelines — green standards that exhibitors must meet if they want to exhibit at the show. Industry experts say it's a bold, unheard of, revolutionary move. Kimberly Lewis, vice president of conferences and events at Washington, D.C.-based USGBC, acknowledges that Greenbuild might lose some exhibitors as a result. But Greenbuild has a waiting list of eager exhibitors, and its new standards will label its exhibitors as being truly committed to green construction. Having a booth at Greenbuild will be more valuable than ever. Is your organization top in its field? To maintain that position, push the envelope with invention and creativity at your meetings.
Measure your results. To have credibility in the marketplace, Greenbuild and its vendor partners have to prove how green the show really is. An independent auditor examines all aspects of Greenbuild. As a result, “We can't just say, ‘Yes, we recycled this or used that material.’ We have to document it,” says Jenny Burr of Champion, Greenbuild's general services contractor. Data and metrics are the keys to success in today's corporate world. Make them king in your, too.
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