Innovate 2011 Conference

I attended an one-day event this week hosted by GlobalLogic (a Sequoia funded private company of 6000 employees worldwide focusing on software development for over 200 clients including ISV’s) called Innovate 2011.

The welcome event was at Stanford University Faculty Club and the guest speaker was Salman Khan (not the well-known Bollywood actor). This gentleman is known as Sal Khan of the Khan Academy. He was terrific on what he has done to the world of K-12 education using short clips on YouTube made available for free to anyone across the globe. One of the first ones to discover his work and mention it to a large audience was Bill Gates last year. Bill said that he regularly uses these video modules for his children. Soon after, Sal got donations to his non-profit organization from the Gates Foundation, Google, and John/Ann Doerr. His passion and innovation in the field of school education is nothing less than revolutionary. Talk about non-linear thinking..this is awesome!

The conference keynote speaker was Geoffrey Moore, the well-known author of Crossing The Chasm. Geoffrey highlighted a big disconnect (I have been speaking about for a couple of years) between consumer technology and enterprise IT. The typical new generation worker of today is so powerful as a consumer (using latest tools of social networking and micro-blogging) yet so lame as an employee at an enterprise (where such tools are not deployed, and sometimes even barred). He mentioned “System of Record” (transactional systems in use for years at the enterprise) vs. “Systems of Engagement” for the consumer where a revolution in applications is taking place. He suggested that IT for the middle tier at large enterprises must embrace these systems of engagements. Geoffrey’s session was very meaningful and relevant. He emphasized the “Return on Innovation” as a key outcome of this adoption of the systems of engagements. Enterprises can not just have  “different” products, they must be ‘differentiated” products for success, just like what Apple’s iPhone has done over Nokia’s failure to produce an equivalent one yet after 3 years.

The rest of the conference had several panels, one on medical equipment industry adopting new innovations, mobile platform and what is happening, and finally enterprise application development panel. The last one had members from SAP, HP, SalesForce.com, Citrix, and Yammer. I did not realize that Yammer is the “social networking” company for the enterprise and is doing very well, being founded by ex-Paypal fellow David Sachs.

There were about 150 attendees and the sessions were quite interactive.

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