For the first time in 10 years, the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) will not be hosting the premier event for the Intelligence Community in October, the GEOINT Symposium.
Last night USGIF officially made the announcement that GEOINT 2013 will be postponed until Spring 2014. The reality is that key government decision-makers are not able to travel to conferences anymore, which was an issue in both 2012 and 2013 — but is now further complicated by the government shutdown.
Here’s what Keith Masback, CEO of USGIF, stated in his letter to GEOINT 2013 attendees and USGIF membership:
As you well know, we are operating under the significant constraints of a government shutdown. Recently the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Pay Our Military Act,” which allowed most Defense Department personnel to return to their jobs alongside the excepted personnel who were still working. However, the act also included language that has made it impossible for personnel to travel (except in direct support of operational forces) or attend events — including the GEOINT 2013 Symposium.
The GEOINT Symposium is not the only casualty of today’s austere and highly uncertain climate. On Monday, FedBizBeat showcased a comprehensive list of 44 government-related events that have been cancelled in the past 12 months.
[pullquote]What is very discouraging is that the GEOINT Symposium is truly an ideal forum for industry and government to connect. [/pullquote]What is very discouraging is that the GEOINT Symposium is truly an ideal forum for industry and government to connect.Whether through keynote addresses from top defense and intelligence leaders, or networking with fellow industry members and government program managers, USGIF hosts a world-class event that transcends the world of geospatial intelligence.
Certainly many companies that planned on attending GEOINT are scrambling today to cancel travel plans and recoup any others expenses. In the middle of these challenges, a bigger issue arises: how can industry connect with government when major events like GEOINT 2013 are postponed?
Last month, Market Connections and Boscobel Market Communications issued a study revealing how both industry and government believe that event cancellations and federal travel restrictions are negatively impacting innovation and collaboration.
Now that GEOINT 2013 has been postponed, we imagine that even more industry members and government employees believe that collaboration and innovation will be further stifled.
However, fortunately, the study also highlighted a number of tactics that contractors can do to counter this lack of face time with government customers. These include enhancing thought leadership efforts, hosting webinars and using third-party research.
While these tactics may not be a compelling as meeting a prospect at one of USGIF’s renowned networking events, they should to be considered in order to survive this challenging time.
We doubt that the postponement of GEOINT 2013 will be the breaking news that will make our government leaders resolve the shutdown. For the government contracting community, this news is another harsh blow in what has been a highly difficult year.