An opening session shouldn’t be so much fun. People showed up way before the start of session and broke out in group chats. Sometimes you know the mood of an event before the event even starts. This was obviously going to be the case for the 2014 IEEE PES T&D EXPO in Chicago.
Two class individuals kicked off the event: Tommy Mayne and Carl Signieri: Mayne as VP of Meetings and Carl as IEEE PES North America T&D Chair. Two more welcome and recognizable characters could not be found for this event as they are putting in encore performances here in Chicago, having both served in the last Chicago T&D EXPO.
That said, General Co-chairs Ronald Donovan and Joe Svachula stole the show with their zany video of them wandering around showing us the sights and sounds in an upfront and personal way. Yes we are talking pizza, ice skating (poorly) the Bean, Soldier and Wrigley field and so much more. I snickered all the way through the video.
IEEE PES President Miroslav shared the vital role this event plays in our educational and professional growth, bringing up the increasing presence of international participants. After being warmly welcomed we were challenged to take a deeper look into our own future and the future of our industry by speaker Daniel Burrus. You might expect this from a futurist, but Daniel seemed to have this ability predict what you were thinking and then debunk your logic, before you even verbalized a thought.
Telling us that we would probably make lists of what we should do and what we could do, he instead challenged us to throw those lists away and write one or two things we would do.
Great advice I didn’t want to hear.
Daniel suggested that in looking into the future we should separate the future into hard trends and soft trends.
He provided examples of some hard trends to help us get the difference.
Hard Trends include demographics including population growth and aging. Here is a hard trend you would have trouble arguing with: more government regulations.
Product hard trends could include increasing virtualization, increasing networking increased product intelligence and the shrinking of devices. Another is moving into the cloud – and with more security.
What about faster communication speeds? Or mobile first?
How about the merging of three digital accelerators: processing power, bandwidth and storage (we are only talking data here).
States Daniel, we are in a state of transformation and in the next five years we will transform how we market, sell, communicate, collaborate, innovate and educate. (I don’t know about you but this sounds more like fun than like a threat.) And as a communicator I can personally tell you as Daniel so well states, that we will move from merely informing to engaging. Nice Daniel.
Game changers include 3D printing, a hard trend. Drones – another hard trend.
As Daniel drew to a conclusion he challenged us to keep these words in mind as we map out our future. I would suggest you find a way to actively engage in future trends keeping in mind the social, virtual and mobile trends that will sweep over us. We can join the party or be buried by it. Daniel gave me a lot to think about and I am starting today to connect virtually and socially. So I am challenging you right now to send me a note. I’ll respond and we will let the dialog commence!