imX Conference Encourages Meaningful Participation
If you didn't get to attend imX — the "invitation only" interactive manufacturing experience — there's a nice overview at The Huffington Post from Michele Nash-Hoff. The inaugural Interactive Manufacturing Experience (imX) industry summit, which took place in Las Vegas from September 12-14, was put together by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association (AMTDA), along with eight eXperience partners (DMG/Mori Seiki U.S.A., Fanuc, Kennametal, MAG IAS LLC, Makino, Methods Machine Tools, Okuma America, and Sandvik Coromant).
According to Nash-Hoff, what really set this show apart was its focus on benefits to the attendee, instead of the usual exhibitor-centric approach. Generally tradeshows aim to pack the floor in order to generate lots of sales leads, but in order to attend this show, you had to be invited by one of the sponsors, their partners or an exhibitor.
"The goal of imX was to chart a new course for the future of the domestic manufacturing industry by fostering collaboration among American Manufacturers of all sizes," Nash-Hoff writes. To accomplish this, event planners encouraged individual meetings and group discussions between exhibitors and attendees. A series of interactive panels also provided opportunities for guests to engage directly with end users and industry observers.
The first day featured a keynote presentation from newly-appointed National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Chief Manufacturing Officer, Michael Molnar, who discussed ways to participate in and benefit from the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, launched by President Obama. The second day's keynote presentation featured Peter Schutz, of Harris & Schutz Inc. The author of The Driving Force and retired CEO of Porsche AG, Mr. Schutz spoke on the topic of "Leadership: Extraordinary results from ordinary people." On the third day, world-renowned futurist Jim Carroll delivered an address on "What do world class innovators do that others don't?"
According to SME President, Paul Bradley, PE, imX was the result of five-years of careful planning, during which the imX team reached out to community members and customers to find out what they really wanted in a conference.