What is intangible, yet valuable; unique and rare but not easy to guard? I am sure that you can come up with a few answers, but the ONE that plagues my mind in the event planning world is CREATIVITY.
There are some people in this world who are simply BORN with creativity. They are typically innovative and/or conceptual thinkers that can see one idea and generate several others to compliment that one original thought. A creative person who is an innovator is one who can develop a concept that has never been imagined by anyone else. Their ideas are often unimaginable, leaving you to think that the idea is crazy or even impossible to implement. For example, could you really imagine a day in which you could talk on a phone that did not have a wire connected to it? Or even a day in which all of your favorite music could be condensed into the machine that fits into the palm of your hand? Well, one creative-innovative individual thought about each of these concepts and made history. Whether you fall in the category of the conceptual thinker, innovative "crazy" person or maybe both, there is one thing that is evident, there are thieves that are lurking to steal your creativity.
This type of robbery happens daily in the world of event planning. Whether your creative ideas are stolen from vendors, potential clients or even your peers, you must take every precaution to guard your valuable creativity (aka "intellectual property").
I recently shared an event idea with a local publication and sought out the support of a local venue to host the event. No sooner than 5 months later, the ENTIRE event concept was being promoted with a joint partnership between both the publication and the venue. So, I was completely excluded from the entire event although it was my "creativity" that sparked the interest. I was left "heartbroken". Not only did I feel betrayed, I also lost an event that I had hoped would boost awareness and funds for my small business.
Unfortunately, in this industry it is hard to plan events without sharing the concept of the event. But, I have learned a valuable lesson. Draft a Non-disclosure Agreement for your events and present them to those vendors or partners that you are seeking to support the event. If they refuse to sign it, then that is an automatic indication that they only have their interest in mind. Although you want their participation, it is important to remember that you are inviting them to participate in your vision. Not only are you sharing your creativity, you have taken the time to do the research, budgets, and timeline to create the event.
There is a value to your creativity. Obviously, everyone is not "born" with this gift. So, protect your "valuables" from the Creative Thieves. They are not only stealing your gift but also your potential to earn money.