Given the right fuel, a smoldering ember can slowly build in heat and suddenly flash into full flame. We are on the threshold of a similar flash point in the meeting industry. Technology has been this burning ember – the Internet started in the late 60’s, personal computers in the 80’s, the web in the 90’s.

The stage has been set -- we are now starting to go through an explosive transition – but the major changes are yet to come! Finally, in the last year or so, almost everyone in our industry has come online and many have web sites. This, coupled with advances in high-speed and wireless telecommunication, will likely fuel more changes for meeting professionals in the next decade than the past thirty years combined! This technology flash point will have a profound affect on us all.

Once we start utilizing these technology tools to full advantage, fundamental business structure changes. National boundaries will become less important. Collaboration will become nearly as easy to the next hemisphere as in the next cubicle. Much of the world’s body of knowledge will become accessible with a few keystrokes. The basic nature of meetings will change. 

Fortunately, we are social animals and there will always be a demand for meetings, but the character of these meetings and how they are planned will likely go through drastic transformations.

If there ever was a time to invest in efforts to deal with this change, now is it – and the MPI Foundation a natural choice for this support! The Foundation is the "research and development" arm of MPI – the products and services that result from Foundation funding allocations are aimed to help meeting professionals cope with change and do their jobs better. From Foundation funding, we have seen the development of MPINet, the resource library, technology labs at the major MPI meetings, the Platinum Series technology tracks, and support for the CMM with the importance of technology stressed in its curriculum.

But let’s focus on the future. The generous donation of $10,000 from the MPI Northern California Chapter has been earmarked for technology applications. There will be much more to do as this digital revolution affects nearly every aspect of our lives. As you consider your charitable giving budget, please consider the industry that has provided your livelihood. Invest in your future and support the MPI Foundation.

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