The big show of the year for cosmetic formulators and other people at the sharp end of cosmetic development is SCS Formulate, organised by the Society of Cosmetic Scientists. It will be held as usual at the Ricoh Conference Centre in Coventry on the 11th and 12th of November. I go most years and feel quite proud about it as I organised the first two on behalf of the society back in 1999 and 2000, and although I haven’t had much to do with the actual work for many years I still feel that it is sort of my show.
The interesting thing is knowing the thinking behind it originally to see how it has developed over the years. It has adapted to a changing world well, rather better I think than a lot of other shows I go to. One thing that it has really shone on is providing lots of opportunities to learn stuff. There are all sorts of presentations on all sorts of topics so there is always something to pick up.
I think this is really important because in the modern world there are a great many ways more to find out what is going on than walking around a show. I remember being told when I was a young fresh faced scientist that the most important thing you needed to build your contacts was a comfortable pair of shoes. The shoes still help, but you really need a good internet connection nowadays.
But there isn’t really a conflict between being online and a full sized three dimensional show with real human beings in it. I find myself often arranging to meet people that I have only interacted with online at events like Formulate. There is something about being in the same room as someone that can’t be reproduced on Skype. So when some of us who regularly chat about these matters on LinkedIn hit on the idea of having a meeting to discuss how the latest cosmetic regulations are working out, meeting up at Formulate was an obvious idea.
There was a bit of a problem though. Formulate is organised by the Society of Cosmetic Scientists, so if the meeting had been an official one the society might have been held responsible for what was said at it. That didn’t sound like a fun kind of discussion at all – you can’t speak freely if you are an official spokesman, or might be interpreted as one. So we came up with the idea of making it an off programme fringe event. The bigwigs in the society weren’t 100% happy with that idea initially. There were a few fraught phone calls and even a thread deletion on LinkedIn.
But it has all been settled now and the meeting is 100% going ahead and is 100% unofficial. If you are at the show, I’d recommend popping in to hear what some of us really think about the cosmetic regulations. The session won’t be recorded and there will be no handouts available afterwards. You have to be there. It will be going on in a darkened corner of the room that is being used for the Knowledge seminar between 12.30 and 13.15. The agenda isn’t drawn up yet but it will be short – the main thing will be to have a discussion. Bring your experiences, your comments and your questions. You’ll probably want to bring a sandwich as well.
I think this is the way things will develop in the future. Events and organisations are more fluid and less structured than they used to be. There are other subjects that might benefit from a bigger opportunity for participation rather than listening. I’d be very pleased if fringe events become a regular feature of Formulate in the future.