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Multi-tiered IDEA idea shelved

IDEA has shelved plans to expand the membership base of the organisation, according to new CEO, Katherine Singson.

When PICA/IDEA president Dave Marshall realised his vision of a change of name and constitution of the old PICA organisation on November 22 last year, a change of structure was also outlined, with a hierarchy of membership categories, ranging from:
– A group of senior imaging and CE distributor company executives from big distributors to Australia and New Zealand. (This small group would retain majority voting rights over the other divisions);
Professional division (pro gear distributors);
Consumer division (smaller ‘second tier’ consumer photo distributors);
Associate Distributor division (staff of the above divisions);
Retail Executive division (senior retail executives);
Retail General division (all other retail staff);
Enthusiast division (enthusiast consumers);
– Enthusiast’s pets and trade journalists’ division (just making sure you are paying attention  – but the rest of this information is from a PICA document titled ‘Vision 2011’!).

‘Definitely the constitution was written with long-term flexibility in mind, and the provision for sub-groups was made along similar lines to that of other industry organisations as reviewed by the executive,’ said Ms Singson.

‘[IDEA] have not progressed on expanding the groupings at this point, but it’s nice the potential exists for if and when this makes sense.’

She added that IDEA was ‘always seeking to encourage CE distributors with an interest in imaging to be part of our association.’

– Indeed, one of the major reasons argued for making major changes to the organisation formerly know as PICA was to recruit up to eight big CE companies into the fold. This has not as yet occurred.

Katherine Singson floated the idea of a marketing sub-group for the annual photo industry show: ‘An interesting example of a sub-group might be, for example, to bring together a marketing advisory board, especially as we work towards the next Digital Show. It’s truly an industry-wide event and requires much advanced coordination and teamwork.’

She disagreed that the now-shelved structure outlined above would have been overly hierarchical: ‘From what I understand, the idea we were going for is that to really move/impact an industry, you need to engage everyone.

‘As we both know, there’s a whole eco-system that keeps our industry interesting and growing. I also think there’s heaps of talent at all levels of an organisation regardless of their size and it’d be great to engage these players appropriately when the time is right,’ she said.

Meanwhile, the IDEA executive team has been reduced by two, with Jerrel Dulay (editorial,  web, social media) and Judd Ferguson (exhibition space sales) having completed their contracts and left the Association. Ms Singson and Eve Philips (adminstrative manager) remain, with Paul Curtis having handed over the CEO’s role to Ms Singson but staying on in an advisory capacity in the short term.



  1. Alan Logue Alan Logue July 12, 2012

    So what are the dates for next year? And how will the PMA be included in the show?

    • Keith Shipton Keith Shipton Post author | July 12, 2012

      Hi Al. Katherine wasn’t able to volunteer the exact dates, I’m afraid – but I’m tipping (or hoping) first or second week in September. Running a show like this during AFL Grand Final weekend or even the week before would be a courageous decision – in the ‘Yes, Minister’ way! Pity Brisbane or even the Gold Coast wasn’t considered – it’s nice there in August or September. As for PMA involvement – it hasn’t really been mentioned by anyone so far, and I haven’t asked, sorry. And you know what hey say about assuming. Final observation is that the relationship between PMA and IDEA is probably the worst I have seen it. This can’t be good for any of us in the photo industry – the people running those two organisations included. Not least because they are financially joined at the hip – both now deriving the bulk of their operating expenses from the show.

      • Alan Alan July 12, 2012

        On the PMA side, I know there are people who are VERY committed to this industry. Those people include small business owners like ourselves who have a vested interest in keeping their/our business running. The other members of PMA also seem to be able to work together for the good of the industry.
        In previous years this has gone well, but now we have IDEA, and I’m a little worried about who they are there to help – us little guys, and other retailers, or the big guys who have significant market dominance. I owe a lot to PMA for how our business has grown – at this stage, I’m not sure what I have got from IDEA, especially since its held out of my state, in which we have an EXCELLENT convention center.
        Surely the dates have been set for next year – good grief, it’s a convention centre and they have to book long term. I’m not sure why it takes a get together in Hamilton Island to confirm the date – surely there is a meeting room in a QANTAS Club they could use, and save the travel time and costs!

        • John Atkins John Atkins July 13, 2012

          The associations work this way because of egos. Why we can’t work together to help people involved in an Industry that is continually reinventing itself beats me.

          • John Swainston John Swainston July 17, 2012

            I’d like to take a different view. I’ve been involved with our Industry Associations since 1979 – 33 years. I’ve seen every combination, APIC, PIMA, PIC, PMA, PICA, IDEA, DIMA, IAP, AIPP etc.. For most of those 33 years the Australian industry has actually worked very closely together, most years the Industry members supporting and subsidizing retailer conventions, and in recent years, PMA Australia, directly. In turn retailers have supported local importers, joining in campaigns for waste reduction, GST fairness and other employment issues. Both sectors have worked with the Profession and Educators (There’s another – PIEA!), and annually we have assembled to educate, enlighten and publicize photography.
            Two of the 3 main associations continue to be well funded and the bulk of all the activities are supported by huge numbers of volunteer hours, from retailers, wholesalers, educators and professionals. In fact in no other country I know of, except China, does every element of the industry combine so closely as we do here in Australia. And I spend as much time in overseas markets now as I do in Australia. But, like politics, all industry issues are local in the end – who’s looking after MY interests? I think we should be proud of the efforts of so many for so long with broadly aligned interests. As the industries change, so do the interests and weighting of those interests. With a common mission to grow the imaging industry, (IDEA’s core value, AND now declared to be so by PMA’s new Executive Director, Jim Esp) – the goals are much more aligned than many think. And, like politics, it is up to the industry leaders in ALL fields to actively engage their respective members and ensure that that goal is achieved. You only get out of any industry group what you put in. In all sectors there are indeed some who put in a whole lot. If you think their collective efforts are not up to scratch, then do something YOURSELF, as others like Robbo, and Alan Michael and John Paxton have done in the past, and as Pro and Industry members have and continue to do today, too many to mention.
            With over 40 years in this industry in total I continue to gain strength from the ideas of others and am happy to continue to work with counterparts from all sectors for a common goal of improved fortunes – for us, our fellow industry members and our customers.

  2. Vic Vic July 15, 2012

    Why do we need two organisations in such a small market anyway? Most within the industry don’t even know who IDEA is made up of, same as they didn’t (and still don’t) what PICA was or who it was made up of. Many believed it was an offshoot of PMA. By the way, what does PICA/IDEA do with the money they make from the annual (and shrinking) exhibitions? The lack of exhibitors and industry members visiting (not counting the public) must be telling us that maybe the show has had its run and time for a change!

    • Keith Shipton Keith Shipton Post author | July 16, 2012

      Hello Vic – nice to hear from you! In general terms, IDEA and PMA use the funds to run their offices and run the next year’s show. When PMA was running the show for three years 2008 – 2010 (?), they paid PICA somewhere between $250 – 330K/year out of the show’s profits. Now, as I understand it, PMA has been receiving $250K from PICA/IDEA for the past couple of years from the show takings. Dave Marshall is on record as saying that so long as the industry has a successful (ie, profitable) show, PMA will be ‘successful’. (I’ve kept it on tape for posterity!) With PMA in the US probably not able to support the local operation as in the old days, this funding is vital for PMA’s continuance in Australia in something like its present form. Hence my ‘joined at the hip’, ah, quip. (That comedy film about the dysfunctional co-joined twin brothers springs to mind!) There also used to be and probably still is some support for the pro side of the industry from the show profits. Outside of running the IDEA and PMA offices – mainly salaries – and thus the various programs they support, the single biggest expenditure each year is…the marketing budget for next year’s show! I suspect that the just-completed show was nowhere near the funds generator previous shows have been – but I may be wrong. All the above will be of news to most people, and it’s about time it wasn’t. Well, in my opinion, anyway.

  3. robbo robbo July 15, 2012

    I note a lot of disappointment within the industry about the way the trade is self-destructing at an trade organization level. It’s time …in fact it’s overdue.. that the two major bodies get together and showed some mutual respect, and start working together with one mutually agreed outcome. Dave Marshall had the right idea to try and get the CE channel along for the show…maybe with more support from the retailers they may have been convinced to join…but the PMA wasn’t asked to be a part of that process.
    So we looked like what we was a divided industry pushing our own barrows… the two of them in different directions. I always believe that “THE TEAM WILL GET A BETTER RESULT THAN THE BEST INDIVIDUAL CAN”. It’s time that our great industry was lead by ONE team of enthusiastic people regardless of who they work for, or which side of the fence they come from.

  4. Tony Tony July 16, 2012

    There are some interesting comments above and some humour I think.
    The illustrious PICA changed its name to IDEA even though it doesn’t seem to have any new (useful) ideas! It still seems to hang out in the Tropics for meetings which must at least be pleasant and I guess we are standing by for for a further golden tripod award to its wonderful leader who was awarded his first one as a tribute to his ability to support the CE and mass merchant channel over Australia’s specialist dealers!

  5. Bruce Bruce July 17, 2012

    I reckon that terrible Golden Tripod award time was when the chasm between the wholesalers and retailers really split. It was such a stupid idea. Crazy stuff, just showed that PICA had no idea about what the retailers thought.

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