Blogger: Barry Siskind

A well thought-out and implemented digital initiative permits organizations to do things better, faster, and cheaper. It is a crucial element in the search for new ways of engaging users. Yet, within our industry we find examples of early adopters and others who have yet to invest in the resources necessary to join the digital revolution. The time to implement digital solutions is now and companies that do – thrive. The others run the risk of becoming irrelevant. In fact, one source predicts that “4 out of 10 companies will be dead in 10 years if they fail to drive digital innovation.”

Quickly transforming innovative new ideas through digital innovation is the application of new technologies to existing business problems and practices. It sounds a bit ominous but like it or not its where we are heading. The 2020’s may be remembered as the decade when companies who have been reluctant to adopt – did.

The challenges of adopting can be great. Adopting new technologies requires capital, human resources, specialized skills and risk. Not all organizations have the resources readily available to know what will work best for their specific situation. This is where the UFI’s Digital Innovation Working Group can be of tremendous help.

The goal and mission of the Digital Innovation Working Group is to promote digital ideas and concepts to the exhibition industry that will help exhibitors and visitors get more out of the shows they participate in. Delivering the right applications at the right time is the mission of the UFI Digital Innovation Working Group. The Working Group is intended as a platform for all UFI members to share, discuss, review and embrace new and thought-provoking digital developments and projects.

The mission of the Digital Innovation Working Group is to help our industry discover digital trends and innovations that will enhance the future business model for visitors and exhibitors.

Three of the current activities that this Working Group are currently engaged in include:

1. Organising an annual Education Forum for the industry to meet face to face to discuss digital innovation trends and developments.

2. Organising an annual Digital Innovation Award that offers all digital projects and products serving our industries the opportunity for recognition and rewarded for their achievements. It provides exhibition professionals a formal forum to exchange interesting and innovative ideas, concepts, techniques and knowledge to related digital innovation issues and finally to honour those in the exhibition industry who have successfully implemented creative and results-oriented initiatives. Group Chair Matthias Baur adds, “It isn’t just Award winners who benefit from the tangible business returns, shortlisted companies also reap benefits such as reduced sales cycles, quicker inbound investment, improved staffing and elevated customer discussions.”

3. Social Media. There are two active social media groups to exchange the latest digital innovation ideas or ask questions of industry experts:
a. LinkedIn (UFI Digital Innovation Group), and
b. Twitter @UFIDigital

Membership is open to all UFI member employees who are experts in the digital field or willing to help promote all aspects of digital innovation to UFI members.

This Working Group understands that not everyone has the same level of digital knowledge so members fall into two categories: Those who will help promote topics through the industry and those who can directly contribute to developing content.

To accommodate both needs membership is divided into two levels:

1. Group Member: Group members will participate in committee meetings. They will help promote the group’s activities and share their digital knowledge directly or via existing channels

2. Core Group Member: Core Group Members agree to actively contribute to existing channels by creating content, covering digital innovation topics (presentations, online posts, short articles etc.), active presentations, events and host group meetings.

If you are interested in joining this group as a group or core group member, contact Working Group Secretary, Jana Hofmann,