The musical thing is, as I thought it may, starting to get old. But still, the way they used it to thank sponsors, etc., was about the least painful I've experienced, so who am I to complain? And the songs are still pretty funny. Still, I'm hoping they move the cheese for tomorrow's closing session.
Then David Cooperrider, PhD, professor and chairman of the Department of Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University and faculty director for the Center f or Business as an Agent of World Benefit, took the center stage. First, I loved his message, which boiled down to: Your business/organization can do well by doing good. Whether you take on environmental issues, poverty, whatever your cause, if you look hard enough, you'll be like Toyota with its Prius and be able to make money by making the world a better place. But he didn't need 45 minutes to get that message out. It dragged, and he was dwarfed on that big stage all by himself.
One interesting thing he mentioned that I'd like to learn more about was something called "appreciative inquiry," which has been used by some organizations in their meetings to come up with ways to become better world citizens and make a profit at it.
I look forward to learning more about the global summit on social responsibility that ASAE and The Center are planning for 2008. At this point, it's unclear exactly what ASAE (etc.)'s role will be in bringing associations into a social responsibility role (Cooperrider repeatedly mentioned changes that could be made by an "association of associations," but he didn't say anything specific).
Overall, I'd give the session a B, but I'd give the organizers an A for effort.
Immediately afterward, a bunch of us journalist types met with convention center officials to hear all about and tour the new McCormick Place West. I'm not usually one to go gaga over a convention center, but this is absolutely beautiful, and well-designed. They listened to their customers when doing the designing, which resulted in things like moving the enormous Skyline ballroom so it now is right across from the 470,000-square-foot expo hall, so it'll be easy to move people from a general session to the trade show floor. Another highlight is flexible registration space. Rumor has it the ballroom is among the top two largest in the U.S. (Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas would be the other biggun). My personal favorite was the rooftop garden, adjacent to the ballroom, which offers gorgeous views of the Chicago skyline.