One thing John Berglund, CEO of Mira Smart Conferencing, took away from the ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo 2015 is that the only constant in life is change. Scott Wiley, President & CEO of Ohio Society of CPAs and an invited speaker at the event, reinforced that point in one of the Learning Labs.
“Scott really pushed home that there is significant risk maintaining the status quo,” John said. “Whether an association or a for-profit, the CEO’s job is to constantly seek out the new model for each particular organization and company.”
Even though Mira Smart Conferencing isn’t an association per se, many of Scott’s primary speaking points resonated.
Many organizations become complacent once they’ve successfully solved a market need, be it a way for members to earn CEUs or to provide new tools for a conference manager to manage their review process.
Member, clients, customers, and so on, will naturally use what is familiar and proven, as opposed to what is cutting edge and therefore untested. There is a lot of risk in innovation, but moving forward is critical to maintaining relevance.
“Scott had this great phrase: You need to challenge yourself to look through the windshield, not into the rear view mirror,” John said. “The next opportunity for growth is in front of you, not behind you.”
Extending the driving metaphor, Scott utilized a recent buzzword “Uberization.” The privatization of what used to be a public service challenges each of us to look for ways to reduce wastes, eliminate redundancy, and streamline process. At the end of the day, it is being nimble enough to adapt to changes in the marketplace.
“The disruptive nature of innovation fundamentally changes the value proposition ,” John added. “The challenge for associations is to think of their members as consumers. Educated consumers are savvy to that value proposition.”
Associations must outwardly focus to maintain relevance. This can be a tricky balance, so as not to alienate membership familiar with the tried and true.
“Innovation is the only constant at Mira Smart Conferencing,” John Berglund added. “From our founding twenty three years ago, we have customized our software and our product offerings to fit the customer, and not the other way around.”