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Measuring success

May 7th, 2018 / By: / My Take

The Smart Fabrics Summit April 24 in Washington, D.C., was a highly successful event in my opinion, and I’m not just saying that because IFAI was one of the sponsors. I came home grateful that I had had the opportunity to be there. Of course, my ultimate agenda—information I can turn into news—is different from most other attendees, but we all want good information, if for different reasons, and we all want the contacts—also for different reasons.

Nevertheless, I think we can assume some agreement on what makes an event “successful.” Here’s a list, somewhat off the top of my head, but I suppose it’s been percolating in the back of my mind for a good while.

A successful event:

1. Is well attended. Whatever the organizers were expecting, it should meet or exceed those expectations, and if it’s a repeat event, it should show growth in numbers. Check.

2. Offers insights in the presentations that most of the audience could not have  – at least not in every case. Check.

3. Keeps the seats full all day, because attendees don’t want to miss anything and stay for the whole thing. Check.

4. Attracts influencers in the industry, so that conversations with attendees are inspiring and useful. Strong opinions spark lively and thought-provoking discussions during breaks, over lunch and continuing through the end-of-day networking reception. Check.

5. Offers follow-up opportunities. In my case, it’s more in-depth information about timely topics, stories I may not have known about, sources for stories in the future, and even expert writers for specific topics. Check.

My feature on the Summit, “Addressing the issues in smart fabrics,” falls woefully short of covering everything that took place that day, which is why you should expect more stories in the future that are inspired by the event. For starters, take a look at “U.S. Secretary of Commerce shares insights at Smart Fabric Summit,” about his wonderfully candid interview.

There are many more events relevant to the textile industry, and fortunately I have expert writers willing to help cover some of these for Advanced Textiles Source. Seshadri Ramkumar outlines some of the important discussions at a recent TAPPI conference in his feature, “New directions in nonwovens.” This is Dr. Ramkumar’s area of expertise, and I believe you’ll find it enlightening.

I’ve always had an “if you don’t go, you won’t know” attitude about attending almost anything, because it’s not unusual for good things to happen that just couldn’t have been anticipated, or even planned. These unexpected opportunities are unique to face-to-face meetings, in my experience, which is why I hope you’re thinking seriously about other IFAI events coming up.

Planning is well underway for IFAI Expo in Dallas. Take a look at the scheduling changes that have been designed to help exhibitors and attendees make the most out of their time during the conference and show, and visit often for new information. Or ask me, because if you don’t go …


Janet Preus is senior editor of Advanced Textiles Source. She can be reached at