Innovation, The People

October 15, 2013 - 4 minutes read

Here’s me wearing Google Glass thanks to @BenGrossman

Technology can open the door to create deeper and otherwise highly unlikely relationships and connections. It’s a lever with profound capabilities that we’re only beginning to tap into. Not just in the way of increased metrics and (ROI) or bottom line impact, but in terms of the tapestry of our human existence. Keyword: human.

With the external backdrop of shameful dysfunction courtesy of the US government as they continue to engage in a full on tug of war over the Debt Ceiling & “ObamaCare,” The Future of Marketing Conference in Boston (October 2013) buzzed with the energy of collaboration and inspiration. Hailing from a kaleidoscope of industries and backgrounds, the attendees and panelists provided a salient display of what full-spectrum diversity can actually look and feel like.

Despite our individual agendas and aspirations, there was a captivating presence of mutual respect that seemed to elicit more engagement across the board. One session in particular stood out to me as it was clear the four panelists had conflicting points and personalities. As they shared the stage presenting their findings and fielding questions from the audience, their collective flexibility and willingness to compromise spoke volumes. What could have easily turned into another version of tug of war and a battle of the alphas was instead a demonstration of tremendous leadership and professional intelligence. I can’t help but think that this was the most impactful and inspiring part of that session, if not the entire conference for those who witnessed it.

In another session titled “PR is Marketing’s Future”, the premise was about moving away from traditional silos and instead creating collaborative harmony between disciplines of business. During the discussion, visible applause and support of each other’s successes, hypotheses, and opinions was infectious and caused a literal swell of attendees to huddle at the doors of the conference room, all trying to catch a glimpse; there was less than standing room only.

The takeaway is clear, it was technology and marketing that drew us all to this conference, however the deeper message was about how we as people interact with each other. The very essence of innovation revolves around flexibility and vision, a deep desire to enhance or improve what is. As a culture, we now have the ability and opportunity to build upon the infrastructure that technology has made possible. Connecting with others who are both similar and dissimilar to us and looking at situations through the lens of others allows us to add empathy to our list of attributes and skills.

Current and futuristic technologies including Google Glass and Apple’s predicted iWatch are but arrows in our quiver. Surely these are dynamic technologies with the potential to impact marketing and culture, but these are not the multipliers. The greatest innovation sprouting up all around us is how we as human beings use technology to connect with each other; to engage and collaborate solving the problems and challenges of today and tomorrow. It’s up to us, the innovators to continue to harvest and cultivate communities that breed respect, connectivity and constructive collaboration.