In our latest “Notes from the Road” installment, we reflect on an exhausting, exhilarating three days at the IEDC 2017 Annual Conference in Toronto, Ontario.
ROI Research on Investment and Gazelle.ai President Steve Jast and Executive Vice President Simon Leroux held dozens of meetings, and were joined by team members Margot Bégin, Hugh Kelley, Nadine Jeserich, Rebecca Moudry, Rick Moore, Elizabeth Selvadurai, Raidan Al-Eryani, and Jeff Funnekotter.
Steve’s initial impression? “I was thrilled to see such great participation; it was very well-attended, particularly for a location like Toronto, which is outside the home market of the US-based IEDC. That says a lot about the city, and about IEDC’s ability to pull in so many people.” The idea of a fellow Canadian city being such a world-class host was also a source of pride for the Montreal-based crew.
Other notes from the road:
- It was encouraging to speak with people from places like London, other parts of the UK, and Western Australia. The IEDC Annual Conference is an international conference and it would be great to see that momentum continue.
- One recurring theme that we heard often at our booth: Economic developers are interested in ways that they can maximize the large volume of data that is now available to them; it’s a far cry from the old “yellow pages” days, and many are understandably trying to navigate this new data-heavy landscape.
- This availability of data is also leading to a very competitive landscape for EDOs. Competition is very stiff for greenfield development. Why? Because even the smallest players, with effective use of data being used to level the playing field, are now viable suitors for investment attraction.
- We heard an interesting quote from an attendee: “Data is like oil; the more you refine it, the more valuable it is.”
- Clearly, Amazon was on everyone’s mind. It’s very interesting to see how the search for their newest headquarters plays out; we think there’s some great opportunities elsewhere of course – the smart players will take advantage while so many are focusing all their efforts on Amazon.
Speaking of smart plays, we held over 150 pre-scheduled meetings and one-on-one demos of Gazelle.ai during the conference. We did it by using our own secret sauce, in a sense – using the tradeshow meetings process that ROI has provided to hundreds of clients over the years.
The energy and opportunities evident throughout the entire event are great signs for the world of economic development, and the IEDC is to be commended for a very well-run affair.