The Mother of Invention

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The Mother of Invention

By Paul Van Deventer | Sep 10, 2020

“Necessity is the mother of invention” means when put in a difficult situation, one is likely to be inspired to create a novel or ingenious solution. One of our favorite Greek philosophers, Plato, is often credited with this phrase, however, the concept was well known before the phrase appeared in translations of his works. 

While today, our careers, our families, our association and our industry rely more on resiliency to counteract this next normal, to accelerate our own recovery we must embrace the opportunity and need to create out of necessity.

History has shown countless examples of creativity during crisis. In 1665, during the bubonic plague, Isaac Newton spent his quarantine time away from university to create early calculus and, ultimately, his musing regarding gravity. This was the original Apple idea!

It is a steadfast belief in our industry’s resiliency that drives this task to bring people together from all across the globe.

Fast forward to today, and I am reading how diverse industries are reawakening concepts that were long dismissed, purely out of necessity. Check out how drive-in theaters are staging a robust comeback for concerts, productions and, yes, even movie viewing!

Long-since-emptied shopping malls throughout North America are finding new life feeding the ecommerce industry by transforming into Amazon distribution centers. How ironic is that?

My new favorite is the unusual architectural phenomenon of buchette del vino (wine holes), carved out of Renaissance facades around Tuscany. Given the necessity to eliminate contact during early pandemics and as a retail novelty, these tiny portals created in the 16th century have made a comeback by allowing wine service and creating acceptable distancing for both purveyor and recipient.

Your MPI team decided early on to embrace “necessity” and weave it into all aspects of our association and our livelihood. It is that mentality that is driving our efforts to execute an industry’s milestone with a hybrid World Education Congress (WEC).

Wellbeing Resources: Supporting the wellbeing of our meeting and event planner community.

MPI has always been resolute in curating, distributing and connecting relevant education for the benefit of our members and community. Often, this education was delivered either in-person or through a virtual program format. We deliver education. We try concepts and take risks so you don’t have to.

Come Nov. 3 in Grapevine, Texas, within the Gaylord Texan, we are “all in” to deliver a LIVE experience married with LIVE digital programming at WEC. Our partners and teams will relay an in-person experience live and digitally for our members who, for any number of reasons, cannot join in this genuinely innovative congress.

Yes, necessity has driven this effort. Upon reflection, we were heading down this path soon. Why not try now? 

Yes, there is risk and there is opportunity. And, yes, it is a steadfast belief in our industry’s resiliency that drives this task to bring people together from all across the globe. Because, when we meet, we change the world!

Paul Van Deventer
MPI President and CEO
Follow me on Twitter @MPICEOPaul



Paul Van Deventer
President & Chief Executive Officer at Meeting Professionals International

Paul Van Deventer joined the MPI Global Team in April 2013 as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In this role, he leads the strategic direction of both MPI’s global association and the MPI Foundation, with responsibility for managing its global staff, operating budget, membership programs and community services.