Keynote speaker Thom Singer hosted IFAI’s annual award ceremony October 3 at Expo 2019, continuing his message to “see people.” As Expo exhibitors and attendees entered the breakfast event, Singer encouraged people to separate from familiar colleagues and sit with new people.
This year’s award ceremony was infused with an additional goal—that of networking with industry professionals. Singer, who encouraged people to network and get out of their individual comfort zones, has his own definition of E=mc2: meaningful connection between people.
“When I turned 50, I decided to do things I wasn’t comfortable with,” says Singer. He’s a regular customer at Starbuck’s, and his regular coffee drink is a grande nonfat latte. However, Singer has designated Mondays as “barista’s choice day.”
“It really freaks out 22-year-olds when I say, ‘You pick my drink.’” They freeze, get blank looks on their faces and finally fumble around and offer up some kind of drink—and not always to Singer’s liking. But discovering a delicious new coffee drink isn’t Singer’s intention. Barista choice days are just part of Singer’s belief that, “when you try new things, when you’re willing to try new things, it changes your world.”
Attendees were given two questions to discuss at their tables, then were asked to talk about what their colleagues discussed. The discussion questions were: “Is product line or capability diversification a core element of how your company plans for the future?” and “What new manufacturing process or materials are you starting to use or are looking to learn more about?”