Ever wonder where the conference topics come from? Here are the 2008 business survey results.

Author:Barboy, John
Position::Issues on the Ballot

As a 30-year public relations professional, I've watched the role of research in our industry emerge, grow and become a dominant point of importance in our everyday careers. A large part of our job is research-related-market research, competitive analysis, industry news tracking, research on reporters. ... the list literally goes on and on. Our job is to know what's going on in our client's industry, know where the stories are and know of the messaging angles that will work.


Even beyond that, our job is to provide analysis and derive meaning from research. What is important and what isn't? I am happy to say that the Detroit Regional Chamber shares my passion and views research as an essential part of strategic planning and effective communications. That is why 2008 makes our fifth consecutive partnership on a research project for the Mackinac Policy Conference. Our research with the Chamber is designed to listen to the community and learn what they like and do not like over a period of time.

This year, though, we changed the format to make the research more interactive. Two-way communication is the best approach to real change. We wanted to involve Chamber members more in the process and also create a policy platform that the Chamber could revisit at next year's conference-a ballot of priorities to help the Chamber lead their policy campaigns regarding southeast Michigan throughout the next year.

We polled more than 200 Chamber members in February about several policy topics, including the economy, taxes, transportation, health care and government reform. In April, we shared the results of the poll at two community forums, made up of Chamber members, to further probe the results and help shape the policy discussions for on the Island.

The results? One of the best policy agendas for the conference in recent years, and a "ballot" of policy priorities that conference attendees will help determine on the Island at this year's conference.

That's right, in the middle of networking and in-depth discussions this year about shaping our region, all conference attendees will have the opportunity to prioritize policy topics for southeast Michigan. Attendees will be voting, through stationed kiosks and online in the business center, on Wednesday and Thursday. The results will be announced Friday by Dick Blouse, Conference Chair Leslie Murphy and myself and shared statewide with all...

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