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ICX Summit Scavenger Hunt

Yesterday, I wrote about my standout experience at the 2015 ICX Summit, which wrapped earlier this week in Chicago.

There was another experience I wanted to share, and it warrants a new post. Many will write about the great content that was presented at the Summit, and believe me when I say that we had a phenomenal lineup of speakers. But I want to focus on a little event that happened at the very beginning of the ICX Summit – the scavenger hunt.

So. When I could talk about Jason Goldberg’s insightful opening keynote, Blaine Hurst’s rousing closing presentation or any of the generously detailed content that was shared in-between, why would I talk about a social activity that took place before the Summit actually started?


ICX Summit Scavenger HuntLet me explain. On Sunday, the ICX Summit officially kicked-off with an ice-breaking event, the scavenger hunt, that broke the large group into smaller teams of 6-8 people. Reading this, you may be rolling your eyes and thanking your lucky stars for skipping something so juvenile, but bear with me.

Since I was on staff at the event, a group of strangers collected around me as they were assigned to Team 4: Matthew Bates (Utah’s Hogle Zoo), Cristina Ferrari and Doug Frick (FRCH Design Worldwide), Victoria Wells and Andrew Stevens (P.F. Chang’s) and Victor Leung (Beijing Pico Exhibition Management).

Andrew Stevens was quickly elected as our team leader and downloaded the Scavify app and got us logged into the hunt so we could read our directions. From there, we set out into a beautifully sunny day to perform tasks like take group selfies, check-in, and ask designated associates questions at the various stores we visited.

And once we got out on the street, that’s when the conversations began.

ICX Summit Scavenger HuntBy creating small groups out of a larger one, David Drain and his event staff created relational magic by making it virtually impossible for even the shyest, most lousiest networker to stay anonymous. In our team of seven folks, over the course of three hours, as we trouped up and down Michigan Avenue, we learned things about each other that you’d never learn covering acres of booth space at NRF.

For example, not only did I get a hearty recommendation from Andrew and Victoria for using Phoenix for an upcoming ICX Symposium, I learned the names of their children and the complicated circumstances surrounding the middle name of Andrew’s son.

Some of may be thinking, “So what?” at this point. “What does knowing a kid’s name have to do with anything?” All I can say to you is if you don’t know the answer to that question, I surely can’t explain it to you.

For others of you, who get the value of relationships, you’ll understand why a silly children’s game ended up being a huge value to me and most of the folks who participated on Team 4 that day.

Deepening the bond

ICX Summit Scavenger HuntWhen it came time to wrap-up the scavenger hunt with an Uber ride to a Warby Parker store a few miles from Michigan Avenue, I had to start thinking about other things, like sewing a button on my seersucker blazer (Thank you, Men’s Wearhouse!) and prepping for a few conversations that I was scheduled to have at the opening reception.

Later, however, as the reception wound down, it was only a little after 7:00, and most of the attendees were still looking for something to do. And just like that, like magic, Team 4 re-constituted itself and Doug was telling us about a restaurant he had in mind.

We lost one teammate, but picked up a couple of new partners in Sean Anderson (Six Flags Entertainment) and Eitan Smilchensky (Inwindow Outdoor), along with Jessica Arstingstall, our event coordinator who made the trains run on-time.

ICX Summit Scavenger HuntWe all walked together to Mercadito, pairing and re-pairing all the way, having new conversations and picking up ones from earlier in the day until we finally arrived and ordered a round of cocktails.

The photos make it look like we were having fun, and we were. That’s the whole point of a day like that – to forge the kinds of bonds that will be mutually beneficial, and pleasurable, down the road.

If you make it to the 2016 ICX Summit, which will be held in Dallas, I recommend spending the money on an extra night at whichever hotel we end up at and participate in the activities that kick-off the event. Not only will you have a great day, but you’ll probably meet some people who end up being friends – and collaborators – for a very long time.

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