Problem Solver - August 2013
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Explore New Ideas for Your Facility

One of the best ways to get new and innovative ideas for your facility is to attend trade shows and conferences. These types of events—especially when they take you beyond the usual market—can get you thinking out of the box. You'll come across new ideas and products from suppliers and manufacturers, as well as hear advice from industry experts and the experience of peers—all of which might inspire a new approach at your own facility.

If you really want a change of pace, why not take a look at a European trade show and conference?

Q: What's the value in going to Europe for a conference and trade show?

A: European trade shows draw an entirely different audience from around the world. You'll experience new things, new people and new places. What's more, you'll learn information that you won't always find at conferences and trade shows within the United States. New ideas crop up all the time and in all places—and you might learn something overseas that hasn't yet made its way to North America.

Every two years in Cologne, Germany, a conference for municipal leaders, facility managers, architects and engineers, operators of sports, pool and leisure facilities, landscapers, and operators of hotels, gyms and campgrounds brings together a multinational, multicultural audience. You'll find an exhibit hall with products aimed for sports facilities, public pools, playgrounds and urban design—not to mention service providers such as architects and project planners.

Q: What should I do to prepare for this kind of conference?

A: Once you've registered to attend, you should take your time to examine the list of exhibitors. Make a plan of who you'd like to visit with before you leave for the show, and contact the companies to set up appointments. European exhibitors generally take time to schedule appointments and have sit-down meetings in the booth with refreshments.

Be sure to leave some room in your schedule. You might learn something new or find an exhibitor who was not part of your original plan.

Don't forget to check out the various programs and sessions that will be taking place. You will get new information from experts across the globe. You might even get a brilliant new idea to bring back to your own facility.