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Birmingham: RWM – Recycling & Waste Management

RWM signifies Recycling & Waste Management. The Circular Economy Connect Theatre was more than a presentation venue, it was also a new area dedicated to facilitating networking and learning among sustainability and waste professionals across commerce and industry.  Keynoter Sir Stuart Rose spoke at the Circular Economy Connect Theatre to an attentive audience, keen to learn how to drive up recycling rates, re-think product design or simply learn how to manage waste management better.  Paul Vanston of Kent Resource Partnership told delegates that “It is important local authorities gear up their understanding of the theory and practice of the circular economy”. And Roy Vercoulen revealed the benefits of Cradle to Cradle product optimization. “Circular economy”, hey?  And what was that about “going circular”?  How would these people answer the charge that they were just… um… going round in circles…?

Cologne: Kind + Jugend

Kind und Jugend (kids and youngsters, more or less, if your German’s a little rusty) is billed as the leading international trade fair for the baby and toddler outfitting sector in Europe.  Kind + Jugend 2014 could claim to span around 100,000 square meters of exhibition space, and played host to more than 1,000 exhibitors from all over the world, showing their wares to over 20,000 trade visitors from 110 countries.   The supporting program included numerous lectures, the Innovation Area and designers’ presentations, with a primarily focus on trends in babywear and kids’ apparel.  There was an impressive range of peripheral kid-oriented products aside from the clothes:  things like car seats, furniture, safety indoors & outdoors,  shoes, dolls, wooden & cuddly toys, electronic & acoustic toys & games, prams, buggies, joggers…  In all cases there was a careful focus on product safety & certification.  Now, what’s the German word for ear-muffs…?

Cologne: DMEXCO – Digital Marketing Exhibition & Conference

DMEXCO is the Digital Marketing Exhibition & Conference, and the stars were out in force at this German talkfest — stars like Dawn Airey of Yahoo, Steven Althaus the global brand director for BMW, Sital Banerjee of Philips, Pete Blackshaw and Tom Buday of Nestle, Carolyn Everson of Facebook, IBM’s Caroline Taylor… the list went on, uniting senior ad agency people with luminaries from the client world.  Some were there to speak (this was, after all, a communications gathering), while others were content to moderate sessions, and tease out the revelations from the speakers.  Topics?  Well, things like “Digital Marketing in times of Confidence Crisis”, and “Der Connected Consumer: Das Smartphone im Zentrum des Multiscreen-Szenarios”.  Say what?  Okay fine, I know you only speak a little German, but read it slowly and you’ll puzzle it out the same way I did….  #dmexco

Saint-Liboire: Expo Champs (Salon de l’agriculture)

Comment allez-vous?  Welcome to Canada for the Expo Champs Salon de l’Agriculture…. You know all about it, right?  Oh, okay, you don’t speak French…  Well, “Champs” has nothing to do with champions or championships or boxing or anything, it means, like, fields.  As in “agribusiness”, which is what this thing is all about. And to prove it, the whole huge show was held in, well, big fields.  You could check out corn harvesters, a pneumatic sowing machine for “intensive tillage”, forestry-management products like wood-chippers and log-transport hoists, stuff like that….  Oh, you want a tractor?  You’re right, the search for the perfect tractor for your farm can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, regardless of your level of experience operating a tractor, this show offers you the chance to test-drive the tractor or farm machinery you need.  Whadd’ya mean, the seat’s kind of hard?  Okay, okay, let me go find you a blow-up cushion….  #salonagri2014

Cologne: Spoga + Gafa

New inspirations and fresh impulses were in the (garden) air again when Cologne, Germany, was once again the “treffpunkt”  (that’s meeting place to us non-German speakers) for the garden industry.  Around 40,000 trade visitors discovered trends, collected ideas and established contacts at what describes itself as the world’s leading horticultural trade fair.  On the tour bus, Claudia Gölz, head of the NED.WORK agency from Düsseldorf, informed visitors about the latest garden trends in Germany, as part of a guided tour through  over 200 magnificent model gardens at local attraction Appeltern.  The group learned about the diversity of garden creation in Europe, the different ways gardens can be planted and furnished, and about the specific materials that can be used.  What’s that scent in the air?  Appeltern blossom?  Or Cologne…?  #spoga+gafa

Toronto: Public Works Congress & Exposition – APWA

This one is billed as “the best show in public works”, though you may have to be Canadian to be completely convinced on that score.  Doing its thing for more than 100 years, the APWA International Public Works Congress & Exposition draws thousands of public works professionals from all over the world.  The Congress featured more than 125 technical and professional development sessions presented by industry vendors and experts. APWA’s exhibit floor encompassed nearly 90,000 square feet, playing host to over 400 exhibitors.   There was a Technology Pavilion, a Green Pavilion, “Central Park”, New Product Showcases, and an Exhibitor Solutions Theater.  The topics dealt with ranged from  Career & Personal Development
and Construction Management to  Traffic Engineering, Utilities and Right-of-Way Issues, and Water & Wastewater.  How would you describe public works to a man from Mars?  Well, see, it’s public, and it works…  #APWAexpo

Cologne: Gamescom

Gamescom is Europe’s epicenter for games and gamers, the largest trade fair and gaming event highlight for interactive games in Cologne, Germany. More than 335,000 visitors celebrated the `next generation of gaming` at this mammoth event.  Visitors could look at Europe’s biggest trade fair for interactive games and entertainment, and discover the latest and best games, try everything out, and celebrate the games community’s highlight of the year.  Worried about extreme content?  With colored wristbands, the Gamescom exhibitors collaborated with the USK (an entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body) to ensure that younger visitors could only see what was meant for their inexperienced eyes.  Anyone who wanted to test a game had to wear a wristband, so that stand personnel could see which visitors were allowed in which areas by the color of the wristband.  Hey, that’s not a wristband, fraulein, that’s my Mickey Mouse Club watch….