Celebrating Our Past by Creating Our Future
January 11, 2023
It’s here! The Society’s 50th anniversary. *Insert virtual confetti toss*
All year long, SMPS is celebrating the founding of our organization—especially at our annual conference, Amplify A|E|C, in Austin. I hope to see you there!
This month—as the Society kicks off the celebration—many of us are thinking about what we want to achieve in 2023, whether New Year’s resolutions, annual plans, or words of intention. For me, the words I keep coming back to, for a variety of reasons, are: create and creativity.
As professionals in the A/E/C space, we’re part of a talented community that creates the environments that surround our daily lives. For those of us in marketing and business development, we’re focused on creating experiences, content, and—above all—value for our core audiences. Meanwhile, our industry is constantly changing, yet ripe for disruption. This requires us to continuously apply creativity and imagination to our firms and careers as we look toward the next 12 months—and the next 50 years.
You can learn more about the SMPS origin story and other milestones by checking out the Highlights of Our History. On a personal level, here are three ways the founders of SMPS have inspired me when it comes to creativity.
Plug into the power of plural
In 1973, a small group of professionals gathered to support each other’s work building business for their architecture and engineering firms. After a few short months, SMPS was born. While the practice of sharing information with people outside of your firm was uncommon in the 1970s, today, it’s second nature for most SMPS members to connect with others to give or get advice. And it’s one of our biggest strengths. Collaborating with a diverse group of individuals enhances creativity by introducing a variety of ideas and perspectives to consider, explore, and combine. As we look toward the future, how might we work together to share ideas and—as the founders did with creating SMPS—collectively develop new ones?
Use limitations to drive imagination
In the 1970s, professional services firms faced limitations to how they could promote themselves. At one time, architects were forbidden to advertise, and marketing in general had a perception of being unprofessional. This called for creativity, experimentation, and tenacity among the Society’s founders. The notion of creativity can conjure visuals like a blank canvas and scenarios where money is no option. Yet the best ideas and innovations can often result from limitations that challenge us to think differently. Gamifying processes, testing out concepts, and looking at challenges from a completely different angle can lead to much richer solutions than a boundary-free situation.
Don’t take yourself too seriously
When the founders first gathered, they called themselves the Society of Bird Doggers (SOBs)—a fun fact that always makes me chuckle. Whether through gamified approaches, moments of laughter and levity, or wacky ideas that you later scale down, it’s important to have fun during the creative process.
While our 50th anniversary is the ideal moment to reflect and celebrate, it’s also time to look toward the future. By staying true to our founders’ willingness to evolve and transform, SMPS will continue to provide unmatched value to professionals who win work and drive growth for their A/E/C firms.
Thank you to the inspiring founders of SMPS and everyone who has led and been a part of this organization throughout the past 50 years. I look forward to what we’ll continue to experience—and create—together.
Article written by SMPS President Holly Bolton, FSMPS, CPSM, who is owner of 3chord Marketing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.