A guiding motif of the tech world today centers around the idea of disruption. Tech companies and startups disrupting old models and markets of every kind. That’s why the folks at Ernst & Young brought 250 executives from a wide range of companies together to discuss how innovation will fuel growth, transformation and disruption in the years to come.
MIT Sloan’s Professor Hal Gregerson asking the audience: “What are the uncomfortable questions in your work and life that you are not asking yourself or others?”
Ernst & Young held the “Innovation Realized 17” event at the Naval Air Station in Alameda in a large tent, which housed a series of fantastical surprises for the audience. The event space itself matched the theme of the conference: Disruptive Innovation. Produced by members of Cirque du Soleil, the spectacular visual displays and entertainment encouraged creativity. It was unlike any event I have seen before. There were conference chairs suspended high over nets, rooms with only walls of rain separating them and meeting spaces that were literally completely in the dark. As you might imagine the metaphorical motifs were designed to inspire creativity and a new way of thinking. The speakers, entertainment and even the food were top notch. The photographers at Wired covered the atmosphere well in their article “The Upside of Disruption.”
The circuslike tent where Innovation Realized 17 was held.
Hosts, Seth Adler and Alex Kinnebrew, discussing the future of AI.
Superfluid Markets and Frictionless Commerce
I was honored to have been asked to speak on the topic of “Superfluid Markets And The Implications of Frictionless Commerce.” We covered a range of topics on the transformation that happens by simply removing friction. We ended the sessions with a reverse Q&A where I was able to ask the audience this question: “Would it be easier to disrupt your current business model by a) convincing your fellow execs to switch gears or b) quitting, raising $15 Million in venture funding and disrupting the company you work for now? I was genuinely interested in the answer, but not overly surprised that nearly everyone opted for choice b.
A couple of other panelists and I were interviewed afterwards where we recapped some of the conversation. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would be happy to participate again in the future.
To see a bit more of what happened at the event, watch the video on YouTube.
*Header photo credit to EYQ
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