I spent a week in September at Hitachi NEXT 2018 in San Diego. Although the weather was lovely, it was the collaboration going on inside that really sparked my interest. I’d like to share a few of my takeaways from the event.

I learned that data is everywhere. According to Forbes, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day – and this data permeates everything we do. However, author @MalcolmGladwell reminded us that embedded intelligence and data insights can only take us so far. It’s the human character in each and every one of us that influences behavior. Will you rise back up when faced with hardship? Can you find your grit as well as your grace?

I learned that we have made the world unnecessarily complex. In her talk on the second day of NEXT 2018, @LisaBodell, CEO of futurethink, shared a study done by Deloitte University that showed that 75 percent of people surveyed at the SVP level and below reported their daily operations to be complex or very complex. And Lisa believes that all this complexity is destroying our companies. She suggested we kill the stupid rules, those inefficient or low-value norms that somehow business no longer questions. When did finding time to think become the exception? Be intentional and simplify. That sure sounds good to me.

I learned that we all must champion an expectation around diversity of thought. This must be a core tenet of leaders today to build a future of parity for our daughters and sons. Give more than you take, and celebrate the tremendous value of inclusive actions. You may make better business decisions, and you’ll certainly grow your character.

I learned that change is inevitable, but social change requires thoughtfulness. Embrace the double bottom line – not just financial return but return to society. Annette Moore at the NASA Johnson Space Center said, “Return it in a better condition than you received it.” Be deliberate in this focus and use innovation to drive this change for the betterment of society.

I learned that we are better together. So many ideas, so many opportunities. Together, we can leverage innovation, thoughtfulness, and our grit to realize a better tomorrow.

That is Social Innovation.

 Curious about what you missed? Check out the videos from Hitachi NEXT 2018