Simon Clayton (pictured), chief ideas officer, RefTech, on the event tech hype cycle and finding uninterrupted thinking time.
What’s one thing you would change about the events industry?
People chasing the ‘magic bullet’ of tech. Event organisers seem to be constantly looking for a ‘unicorn’ – that is, tech that they think will completely transform their event and that’s never ever going to happen. All new technology goes through what Gartner calls the ‘Hype Cycle’ – a series of five key phases of a technology’s lifecycle – that includes the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ (the flurry of wildly unsubstantiated press releases claiming that the technology is going to change everybody’s lives) which is then followed by the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’ (where interest wanes) and then some of these ideas make it to the ‘Slope of Enlightenment’ (the slow but interesting part as people start to really understand the product’s real uses) and then it settles down into the ‘Plateau of Productivity’ (we all know what the product can and can’t do and it is adopted into the mainstream).
What issue most affects your working life?
A lack of time. There are not enough hours in the day, and like most people, I suffer from a lack of uninterrupted time. This is fine when I’m doing small tasks, but a lot of my job is to problem solve and to think creatively so I need focus and concentration. This is the nature of the world we live in – we are surrounded by distractions and interruptions. I do find that my best thinking time is when I’m on ‘holiday’, and I can step away from the everyday interruptions and ponder.
How has your business changed over the past five years?
It’s not changed enough. We are always trying to change and move forward with what we do and the products and service we provide, but it’s not happening quickly enough for my liking. I’m driven and impatient, but we often don’t have the time or resources to move things as quickly as I’d like.