Can you predict the future?

With the theme emblazoned in big fluorescent yellow capital letters across an impressive set, delegates at this week's IGD convention paid hundreds of pounds to get a little taster, from a stellar cast of speakers. They left none the wiser.

If the presenters weren't looking back to the future for "inspiration" - the 1980s in the case of Tesco's Richard Brasher and the 1950s in the case of The Co-op's Tim Hurrell - they were squirming in their seat in an effort to give nothing away.

Mark Price promised something really groundbreaking in the spring but, despite repeated requests to spill the beans, told interviewer Michael Buerk we would "have to wait and see".

In this elegant charade, it was as if the brief was to show the delegates how clever you've been, how important you are and, in one or two cases, how great your graphics look. But whatever you do, was the mantra, don't give anything away.

The most memorable example was saved for the last. For many delegates this was a first chance to see new Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips. So the presentation was eagerly anticipated. But what did we learn? That Philips is smooth; charming; a natural presenter; and too smart to give anything away even if it might undermine the regularly stated belief that Britain's grocery retail industry is the nonpareil.

I understand the reasons for the reticence of speakers, of course. In this industry, the launch of a spiced crack pepper mayonnaise is guarded in the same hushed cloak of secrecy as the Iranian nuclear missile programme (although I've always found it's execution, not ideas, that are the recipe for success).

Apart from the relaunch of the IGD Academy, then, the closest the event came to generating news was the polls. How ironic! That the most revealing insights of the day came from... the delegates.