In the past, whenever an ice age occurred, the natural selection process over species seemed to be kicked into overdrive.
Living things needed to adapt to their changing environment in order to survive. If you listen to scientists today, the doom-and-gloom message signifies that we are on the verge of another ice age due to patterns in global warming.
Doom-and-gloom messages are common in every industry that has operated since the Industrial Revolution. Our current environment of CME reminds me of these metaphors: questioning the worth of CME; the federal government making assumptions that CME equates to physician kickbacks; grantors and even our accrediting bodies telling us more needs to be done in order to survive.
It’s obvious that the CME environment is changing, getting colder than it used to be, and a rapidly changing environment is impacting the members of this industry, but like ice ages maybe this is the best thing that can happen to our environment.
After an ice age, the environment is able to flourish, the air is clean and the soil fertile. The animals that survive have had to adapt, to become stronger—the survival of the fittest. I believe that this will hold true in CME; companies will have to adapt, to modify their current ways of doing business or they will fall into obscurity.
The days of conducting educational programs simply to fulfill a grant agreement are over.  The days of worrying about how many chairs were filled rather than the quality and takeaways of the program are on their way out. Providers that are interested in one-time participant hits, or not creating educational value for participants, or not willing and or able to make changes, all may evolve right out of this industry.
I’m not sure if this would be a good thing, but we all know of many people that would be in favor of it.
Nearly 99.9% of all species that have lived on Earth have become extinct. However, the time to prepare for an ice age is before the first snowflake falls and so now is the time for CME providers to act. When individual members of a species become stronger, the whole species becomes stronger. The same is true for those of us in CME. By expanding our horizons, by taking risks, by conducting our business as it was envisioned, we will no longer be forced to take a backseat to others that say CME is “worthless, biased, antiquated.” It might look different in the future, but the premise will remain the same.

Rick Kennison, DPM is president, PeerPoint Medical Education Institute