In Neil's latest blog he shares his experience of exhibiting at the Public Sector Show in London. The show had over 2,000 visitors, 150 exhibitors and 50 speakers.
I’m not a massive fan of TV soaps, but I have been known to dip in and out of EastEnders, which is probably the best of a bad bunch. However I do find its portrayal of Cockney families rubbing along together in their Victorian houses overlooking the local square and boozer is a million miles away from the coffee shops and organic cafes hiding in the shadows of glass, steel and concrete structures that litter the route from Bank station in central London along the DLR into the East End.
I was en route to the ExCel to represent YPO at the Public Sector Show and it felt quite strange; the media paints a picture of doom and gloom in the housing market and in London more so than anywhere else! But as I travelled east the sheer number of newly built or incomplete blocks of modern apartments was staggering. Granted, these shiny 1 and 2 bed shoeboxes cost the equivalent of a 5 bed-semi north of the Watford gap, but they are there. And in their droves too!
And this was also true of the public sector show: The media utilise the same grey tones when reporting on the state of the public sector. Column inches sprinkled with the same motifs of “No money”, “no morale”, “staff leaving en masse”. The first event I had attended on behalf of YPO as a delegate had been poorly attended, this time I was being let loose as an exhibitor and as the DLR trundled along I was worried about spending a day counting logos in our literature…
However it soon transpired that my fears were completely misplaced! In fact, during the 6 or so hours of exhibiting my colleagues and I were inundated with people to meet and greet. We met representatives from all over the public sector; local and central government, education, charities and health sectors were all well represented during the 1 day event that proved to be a resounding success. The message coming from existing and new customers, partners and suppliers was consistent: “Yes, there are resource challenges in the public sector today, but no one was willing to roll over and call it a day, so what can we do together to overcome them?”
And so it transpired the media have got it wrong again by telling only half the story – painting an image of doom and gloom but not reporting the will of organisations and business to work together to tackle these challenges head on and succeed. I left the venue just as the rain began over East London, but it did nothing to dampen my spirits. I sat on the DLR as it clunked and clattered westward and looking out towards the Millennium Dome I was content that I’m part of an organisation that is doing its upmost to support the public sector in these times of uncertainty.