Yes, that’s right, “Collaboration.” The word, collaboration, is widely used when talking about sustainable meetings. Sustainable event planners go on and on about how they must collaborate with the venues, chefs, waste haulers, general service contractors, hotels, transportation companies and even entire cities to produce an environmentally and socially responsible event. They are right. It takes communication and cooperation between all parties to really drive this change to the next level.
Now for the scary part. The next level will also require collaboration between industry competitors, even to the extent that we share our failures. There is no quicker way to move this process along than to talk about a failed attempt and the lessons we learned. Imagine each of us, checking our egos at the door and discussing a fabulous plan that just didn’t work out. To be vulnerable to our peers with the hope that in the spirit of collaboration, we all learn. Thanks to Elizabeth Glau, who bravely did just that on her blog.
For years, Oracle Open World (pictured above) has thrown open it’s doors for planners (including competitors) to go behind the scene and see Oracle’s successes and failures during this huge event. They collaborate with the entire hospitality community and repeatedly offer other conferences the opportunity to share their resources in the San Francisco area.
Ten years ago, we first had to sell a potential client on the very idea of being more environmentally conscious before talking about our services and our competitors were very few. Today, most clients are aware of the benefits of corporate social responsibility and the number of competitors vying for the business has increased significantly. The landscape has changed.
Let’s not let the fear of increased competition keep us from collaborating with each other. Let’s instead manage this monumental shift in our industry by sharing resources, ideas and, yes, even failures. If the recent reports of climate change are any indication, there will be plenty of work for all of us. We can make this work a little lighter with an open spirit of collaboration along the way.