Have You Reset Your Frame of Reference?
We’ve had GRAPH EXPOs that reset our outlook on technology, workflow processes, quality, and the environment. GRAPH EXPO 2011 reset our frame of reference. Are you in sync?
If my mother wanted to chide me for having a cluttered room, she’d say that it looked like “Fibber McGee’s closet.” My friend’s daughter would refer to a similar scene as an episode of “Hoarders.” When someone wanted to point out an outrageous outfit in the 1940s they would say it looked like Carmen Miranda; in the 70s, Cher; in the 80s, Cindi Lauper; today, it’s Lady Gaga.
Our cultural frames of reference change over the years. As generations pass and new trends come and go, we must adjust our own frame of reference or be consigned to the conversational dustbin (or, in our industry, I guess it would be the hellbox—remember that term?).
There was plenty of great new technology at GRAPH EXPO 2011, but I don’t think the show will be remembered for the technology. Instead, it will be recalled for changing our industry’s frame of reference. Like someone sliding his fingers together on an iPad screen, GRAPH EXPO 2011 opened up a wider view—past the pressroom or the sales force or even marketing or accounts receivable to the customer, the competition, and the cross-media universe in which printing now exists.
At GRAPH EXPO 2011, the print buyers were represented, as were the economists, the marketers, the mailers, the packagers, the website wizards, software specialists, graphic designers, database gurus, electronic futurists, environmental experts, and industry practitioners from more than two dozen special-interest groups that met at the show or in conjunction with it.
This year’s GRAPH EXPO made it abundantly clear that this multi-faceted and multi-challenging universe is our industry’s new frame of reference. We can no longer only look inward at advancing our products, services, and our processes—although we must ensure that all are handled at the highest levels of quality and efficiency—but we must also open our eyes to all the constituents that printing now touches in big ways and small, and that impact printing in similar fashion.
In short, it’s time for all of us to adjust our industry frame of reference accordingly, or one day we may be in for an unpleasant surprise when something quite unexpected comes in over the transom.