So it’s official, the Norse God of Fire is more powerful than the Pope. The molten underworld has succeeded in preventing me and 49 other heathens attending the TAAN Spring meeting in Rome this week. This is hugely disappointing for all concerned however flights in Europe are chaotic at the best of times and this week has been something special. So my bi-annual recharge is in abeyance, and I don’t think listening to Pavarotti, eating pizza or hiring a Fiat for the weekend is really going to help either.

The chance to spend a concentrated period with like-minded people and to learn from them is of enormous value to me personally and, I believe, to our agency and our clients. Many of the changes and procedures we’ve introduced in recent years owed their genesis directly to a TAAN meeting. Not always from a presentation either, often a throwaway remark over dinner or an insight from another agencies experience can set allsorts of wheels in motion. The people who attend are passionate, talented and knowledgeable and when pooled offer a resource I’d find impossible to replicate elsewhere.

It also makes you wonder how many other events, meetings and conferences have been cancelled this week and the long term consequences of that. It isn’t just the immediate loss of flights, hotels and sundries related to the event but also the ideas generated, the deals agreed and the people inspired and enlightened. At a time when our economies could do with shared best practices, good ideas and enthused leaders something will have been lost this week that is impossible to quantify.

In the Tarzan films of my childhood I seem to recall a human sacrifice being made by ignorant natives in an attempt to quell an angry volcano, hopefully Eyjafjallajokull will accept this ignorant natives sacrifice of 4 days in Rome and six months of good ideas and return to its dormant state soon.