Two weeks ago I attend the one-day conference “Best Practices and Emerging Technologies” put on by the UW E-Business Consortium. I have attended this annual event for several years and enjoy the fact that it cuts across technology, customer service, marketing and supply chain disciplines.
It was a treat to hear two inspiring keynote sessions, one from a London-based futurist and the other from lead engineer for the Mars Rover Curiosity.
A key takeaway from the conference was the continuing and varied influence of millennials on business. Here are a few points that stayed with me:
- McDonald’s corp opened offices in downtown Chicago, Silicon Valley and India for the sole purpose of attracting the young talent they needed to move information technology, marketing and related functions into the digital world. At that point, they changed from a very traditional dress policy to no dress policy.
- As discussed in an earlier post, your smartphone home screen is your new inbox. I am increasingly finding others contacting me via multiple channels (LinkedIn messages, text messages, Skype, Yammer, Slack, Spark, etc.) and with invitations to connect on social media (Twitter and others).
- Presentation styles have evolved to a TedEx-like standard (tell me a short and concise story). One outcome is that sometimes the younger speakers are often better than those more steeped in the traditional style of yesterday.
- Both speaker and attendee attire at business meetings has shifted away from the old norm of business wear or business casual. The new norm is to wear to a conference whatever style you wear to work, whether that is company logo wear (think Harley Davidson), fancy jeans/shirts/stylish jackets, golf club wear or traditional business attire. Anything goes…regardless of age or rank.
Another interesting topic was the role of emotion and empathy as part of the product experience. Companies that can understand, appreciate and create an emotional connection with their target audience will win in the marketplace. Making an emotional connection to your user applies whether you are clicking on your phone, at an event, or at a business meeting. Additional resources:
- Harvard Business Review, For Any Product to be Successful, Empathy Is Key
- Wall Street Journal (subscriber access only), The Importance of Empathy in Our Services-Centric, People-Oriented Economy
- Irving Wladawsky-Berger, The Importance of Empathy in Our Services-Centric, People-Oriented Economy
I’m already looking forward to next year.