Harrogate International Centre’s Lynne Farrow says information is the knowledge economy’s currency.
We are moving onto a new era. Business has changed dramatically during the last couple of decades, particularly since the introduction of computers and mass data manipulation. This comparatively small period in the commercial world (when compared to the industrial age for example) has changed the way we work. It has given us the tools and information to move forward. The real trick though is how we use that information. If knowledge is power and we are at the start of the knowledge economy, then surely information is the currency.
The event industry is a rapidly changing market place and a key part of the macro knowledge economy, while supporting its own micro knowledge economy.
Our industry brings together vast groups of people; we draw ideas from them, we constantly re-invent what the word event means and we have the flexibility to grow with the needs of our customers, suppliers and stakeholders. Of all industries, we are the best place to be a part of the knowledge economy.
Like the fiscal economy, the new knowledge economy needs to be based on a strong currency – information made up from data, hubs of expertise, businesses and like minded people coming together to share and progress. And this is where we are already leaps ahead of other industries. For years we have developed and supported ‘destinations’ and ‘associations’. The events industry already has a thriving knowledge economy, we now need to appreciate its power and invest further for the betterment of all.
Take Harrogate as an example – a far cry from stereotypical Yorkshire and ‘northern destinations’, it has re-invented itself as a growing hub of commerce, fashion, networking, best practice and success. Venues, organisers and suppliers work in harmony to make the town a centre for knowledge exchange and information sharing.
We have all seen a giant leap in internet usage over the last couple of years, particularly social media. This instant sharing of knowledge on a global scale allows individual places to become the centre of the world for periods of time – consequently, last month Harrogate was the centre of the flooring world and therefore the centre of the knowledge economy built around that industry. In a week it will be the centre for the textile and knitting knowledge economy… the list goes on.
However, like any economy, knowledge is reliant on investment and faith in the currency. We need to support and maintain their faith by ensuring we develop further micro economies, and above all apply quantitative easing by continually injecting new information into the system.