Monday, March 3, 2014

Scavenger Hunts and Industry Knowledge

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It's been a busy few weeks at my association. Our Annual Conference just passed, we're now revving up for our big triennial trade show. In fact, when this post goes live, I'll be in the thick of things at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Always on the lookout for ways to increase my and my staff's understanding of the industry we represent and the technology it produces, we're launching an experimental program at this year's show--a kind of staff scavenger hunt where the items sought are components manufactured by our members and, hopefully, at work in their natural environment.

Our trade show, you see, is co-located with the tradeshow of one of our major customer markets, so we have the opportunity not just to travel around our show floor looking at our members' components (perhaps a shelf full of valves here or a display of hoses of different thicknesses and strengths there), but to travel around the co-located show floor hunting for examples of our members' components working as part of an integrated system (perhaps on a excavator here or on a road paver there).

Hence our scavenger hunt. The rules of engagement: In teams to two, venture out onto the show floors and take a picture (or video) of a fluid power component. On our show floor it's worth five points. On the customer market show floor it's worth ten points. If everyone gets at least one hundred points, we'll host a celebratory lunch when we get back to the office and everyone's name will go into a hat for a drawing for a free iPad.

I'm looking forward to it, and hope that many of my staff are, too. Not only will it get us out of our own booth and talking to our members and their customers, it should also give many of us a crash course on how our members' technology is used in the marketplace.

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This post was written by Eric Lanke, an association executive, blogger and author. For more information, visit, follow him on Twitter @ericlanke or contact him at

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