There are certain terms that businesspeople tend to throw around a lot. Terms that don’t really mean anything if you really think about:
Another one you hear a lot is “R&D”. It’s usually a generic term that I dislike, but we have been using it a lot around our office lately – not to mean research & development, but to mean something else: Rip off & Duplicate.
Now before you go calling a copyright lawyer on me, let me explain. This version of R&D is how the non-profit world works. There are no new ideas in non-profit organizations. Ideas are circulated around, finessed, finagled, and made to work for each different organization. These people have been recycled and recreating ideas, projects, and events for years.
I’ve been working on getting my “IOM” certification for several years. It’s a certification that doesn’t mean much to most businesses, but for Chambers of Commerce, it’s the Institute for Organization Management, and it’s kind of a big deal. Every year for 4 years, I spend a week at the Midwest site, which happens to be in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin, with a class of about 30 other Chamber and Association professionals from all over the country. It’s a chance for us to share ideas, learn from one another, and gain knowledge to bring back to YOU, our members.
I have made some great connections through Institute, and I’m looking forward to returning this year for my 4th and final year. But the best part of Institute has been the emails that our class circulates the other 51 weeks out of the year. We ask questions of each other; we ask for feedback; we share successes and commiserate losses. Ideas get tossed around, and everyone weighs in on what they have done that worked and what didn’t work for them. When our staff first started talking about putting on Savor the Flavor of Waukesha County last year, I went to this group of friends and colleagues and I got some great suggestions, feedback and advice.
I’m attending an event in a couple of weeks that another large Chamber of Commerce in the area is presenting. I called their events manager to make sure it was ok with her. Her answer: “Of course! You know you never have to ask to attend any of our events!” The event they are doing is one that I’ve considered presenting for our members, but I want to see how they do it first. She even told me that if I want to get together with her afterwards, she would love to sit down with me and talk about what has worked for them in the past.
Her attitude really encouraged me. She knows that I’m coming to check it out and see if it would work for our members. Even though we have a lot of mutual members, she welcomed me, knowing that there are no new ideas in this field.
What about in your field? Do you work for an organization that is the trendsetter, constantly coming up with brand new ideas and new ways of doing things?
Not to be critical, but I kind of doubt it… I would be willing to bet that you do your own version of R&D every day!!
PS – I mentioned Savor the Flavor of Waukesha County. There are still tickets available, but they are going fast! Don’t miss out on this food tasting event, unique to Waukesha County (but not completely unique!) Click here to see the participating food vendors and sponsors, as well as to buy your tickets!
Also: Visit www.unsuck-it.com to learn ways to get rid of that pesky business jargon!)