Back in December, the MIA invited the industry to participate in a number of open forums about the organisation itself. Here is the feedback we collated and how we are going to act on what we learned.
Over the course of a week, we hosted three virtual Town Hall meetings, and arranged a significant number of smaller meetings to allow as many people to offer feedback as possible.
In all of these sessions we used the same framework to provide a starting point for discussion, and to assist in capturing the responses. It was based around three open questions:
- What problems were businesses facing right now
- What were the issues in the future that were causing concern
- What could the MIA do to make a difference, and be of help.
The response was terrific, with over fifty companies actively taking part and offering insight and opinion.
It is probably not a surprise that the same few issues were dominating peoples thoughts in real time. The uncertainty around Brexit was huge, particularly with regard to how it was going to effect product supply lines and the cost of transacting business. The prospect of a third national lockdown, and what that would mean for those businesses with a limited digital footprint. And the continuing issues faced by those whose livelihood was linked to the live music sector from band & orchestral through rock’n’roll.
For some, the last year had brought new opportunities and new customers, and they were considering how to engage with these covid-starters.
For many retailers, the primary issue that was dominating their thinking was the changing landscape of traditional or bricks and mortar retail. As such we discussed issues around business rates, the cost of premises and whether consumer confidence would return, both in terms of spending and the desire to actually shop face-to-face.
The plight of music education was also a concern for many, with the fear that the lack of access to teaching through schools and the effects of the pandemic would lead to a lost generation of musicians. This was compounded by concerns about the ability of live music to rebound, either down to reticent audiences or lack of venues.
There was a lot of discussion around what and how the MIA can support the industry now and in the future. We have captured literally hundreds of individual suggestions, ranging from general to very specific. The interesting thing is that they can be summarised in four recurring themes.
1. Bringing the Industry together.
Networking, face-to-face events, peer to peer support groups, panel discussions, MI speed dating. These all came up as examples of how importantly it was felt that the MIA should facilitate ways of bringing people from the industry together.
2. Amplifying the voice of the industry.
The MIA has a role to ensure the challenges facing the industry are presented to the relevant bodies, to make the argument and to bring about change. Working with the industry to understand not only what the problems are, but also what the solutions look like.
3. Empowerment through training & advice.
The request for training came up time and time again. Whilst the actual curriculum requirement was fairly fluid, the one thing that was consistent was the desire for development and understanding. In many instances this was professional, with topics such as HR, Social Media, Logistics and Competition Law
4. Keeping everybody informed.
Simply put, the ask was for relevant information, regularly updated and filtered for the industry. Formal and accurate statistics for the industry were also requested by a number of businesses.
We have to begin by thanking everybody that took part, and gave their time and embraced what we were trying to achieve. The response was amazing, as were the responses, and we learned a lot.
We have already begun to implement some new initiatives inspired by the feedback we received, the first MIA ‘drop-in’ session took place last Friday and these will continue on a weekly basis. We have created a Young Professionals Network to bring together people working across the industry and we have planned a series of networking events, including face-to-face gatherings in the coming months.
We are in the process of commissioning the first series of training sessions, to cover some of the requested skill-gaps. We are also hoping to use the weekly ‘drop-in sessions’ to refine the curriculum needs and offer ways of connecting individual business with approved providers.
We are continuing to develop MIA News, engaging with more individuals and companies on targeted and relevant content. If you have any requests or suggestions please let us know.
We’ve made a start, but we need to do more and we need to keep hearing from you. We are planning on opening the Town Halls up again in February for those that weren’t able to take part last time, but if you would like to arrange a chat before then please let us know.