The Safest Time in Human History

Best Practices : Article

This is the safest time in human history.

So says Steven Pinker, experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist and popular science author. His claim is based on a statistical analysis of deaths by violence throughout human history. Apparently we are killing each other less than we used to. A lot less.

But don’t tell our event planning team how safe the world is. Over the past several years, a number of our client events have been displaced, uprooted or otherwise derailed by a myriad of human upheavals.

In 2006, a coup d’etat in Thailand forced a last-minute change of winter meeting venue to Montreal, where nighttime temps plunged to a frigid 30 degrees F. below zero. Incursions by the Syrian military into Turkey have given us pause about staging a meeting there in the fall. And as I write this, I’m at another association meeting in Seoul wondering if Pyongyang will make good on its threat of “final destruction.” Not this week I hope.

You can add to these human disruptions the ongoing wrath of Mother Nature to what keeps our event planners up at night. Over these same several years, we’ve had client meetings and events foiled or nearly so by hurricanes, erupting volcanoes, blizzards and tornadoes.

While there is still no substitute for face-to-face interaction, our client associations increasingly leverage communication, social networking and collaboration technologies to fill in the gaps between meetings. Or in some cases, to eliminate meetings altogether.

For more than a decade we’ve been deploying software to accelerate collaboration on a global scale. Yet our experience shows that many associations are still slow to adopt collaboration and social networking tools. All this despite the overwhelming popularity of – well, I won’t mention them because there are so many, and they are so well known.

Speaking just of collaboration tools for a moment, that’s a crowded software category. So crowded that it may well be difficult to plow through the long list of solutions on your own. Capterra, which pairs buyers and sellers of business software, lists a total of 338 web collaboration software programs. Tomorrow there will probably be 339. And that doesn’t count association management software solutions that incorporate collaboration tools of their own. It pays to get some help finding the right software for your organization’s particular requirements.

When we started implementing online collaboration solutions in 2001, they were expensive. But not so any more.

Today, some annual subscription plans for online collaboration and networking solutions cost less than sending one person to an association conference on the other side of the globe.

Not to mention the fact the travel is sometimes risky. Even during the safest time in human history.

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