I arrived last night to my hotel in Toronto around 8, as expected, and asked, after I checked in, for the room we’d been assigned for our event the next morning. The people at the desk checked and checked again and said, decisively, that there was no meeting for the ILO Institute the next day.
Did I raise my voice? Did I become a loud, dark cloud in the hotel lobby? Yes. Yes I did. Almost an hour later, the event coordinator was dragged from his nearby home, explained to the desk staff where in fact the key information was held, assured me that we were indeed expected, and the tempest in a teakettle passed.
I’d been worried about attendance at the Toronto event – only about 25 people had RSVP’d overall, and five had dropped out prior to the event. Twenty people around the table is more than full house. Fifteen feels fine; fewer and it feels like we’re doing something wrong. And we always have some no-shows. So how many of the twenty remaining on the list would find their way to our room? Ten would be plausible – and not good. Happily, seventeen showed up and I was delighted. A couple of great academics were in the crowd, including the new dean of an engineering college that focuses strongly on innovation as a discipline, and Dan Breznitz, who recently accepted a chair in innovation at the school of international affairs at the University of Toronto – someone I’ve come to enjoy through e-mail prior to the event, and now a new friend.
I’m not sure how many new members this event will generate – I’d be happy enough with one, this being our first outing in Toronto. Our lunch speaker is an old friend, the former Chief Innovation Officer at AIG and our guide through the drama of that company’s dramatic decline beginning in 2008. We share a cab to the airport, and the cycle repeats again as I begin thinking about tomorrow’s event in San Francisco.