We’ve all been there: That feeling of “Why am I here?” when we attend a trade show connected with our industry: The interminable schlep round stall after stall; the warm wine; the forest-killing bag full of business cards and leaflets that may never be looked at again. Am I right?  However, I think we can re-boot our interest and re-frame our involvement if we approach trade shows with the eye of an outsider – a cultural spy if you like.
Els Dragt in How to Research Trends, discusses how trade shows can be a fantastic place to learn about the status quo in a given industry or category. A litmus test for cultural orthodoxy, if you like your phrasing a little more grandiose. My feeling is that trade shows can be great stimulus for thinking, for observing the culture and the dilemmas of a category or an industry at first hand; a place of observation and diagnosis.  A place to har

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