Just 1 New Idea

oneJust 1 new idea… that was the mission I was given when I first attended the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA) Conference over 30 years ago.

1 new idea, I was told, would pay for the trip, be a return on investment, keep us fresh and always changing, stimulate thinking for other ideas, have us not operating in a vacuum, and would challenge me to grow professionally. All that for just 1 new idea... no problem.

I was also told that if I couldn't find that 1 New Idea… I wasn't looking (...or working) hard enough!  Pretty clear message.  

Those first couple of years were somewhat intimidating and overwhelming, particularly as a young person who didn't know a thing.   However, after I learned to "lean in" , by asking questions, talking with vendors, attending educational sessions and introducing myself... those new ideas started pouring in!

Since my first conference in 1979, I couldn't count the new products, menu items, services and best practices that I have found at IAAPA. It has continued to be exciting walking the miles of trade show floor, and not knowing what you might see when you turn the corner to start on a new aisle.

The new ideas I have received by attending, have then multiplied through the relationships made, and the brainstorming, benchmarking and information exchanging that occurs throughout the year.

I really enjoy our industry, so besides managing my own business, I've gained tremendous value by participating as a volunteer.  I would  have never imagined the hundreds of volunteer hours, committee participation and resource contributions made over the last several decades.   Besides learning from my mistakes (…most of the time), any experience or expertise I have gained has come from working alongside others.  That old saying of; "you always get more than you give"... its true.

Any success I have enjoyed, would have never occurred if I hadn't attended the first time.  And it's not a "one and done"  deal. To keep growing… you got to keep going.

So here I go again… looking for that 1 new idea….for the 30th time.   I have no doubt, just like every other year, its there to be discovered.    Hope to see you on the trade show floor or in an educational session.

About The Author

ken whitingKen Whiting is an amusement park and attractions food and beverage operator, and industry consultant for improvements in F&B, retail and workforce productivity. Reach out with any questions or comments you may have at: