San Diego, CA
Ahhh…Beautiful San Diego, California. Queue the sunshine, the beaches, pacific coastlines, parks, museums, farmers markets, incredible restaurants, a TSW conference and the Gaslamp District within walking distance from the event.
The fascinating thing about the Gaslamp District is its ability to transform and reinvent itself over and over again. In the 1800’s it launched only to then to be called “Rabbitville” in honor of its only inhabitants. An entrepreneur stepped in 1867 and transformed it into a booming downtown near the water. The boom busted and the stores moved to Market Street leaving an unsavory district that was infamously dubbed the Stingaree. The district languished for years; however, it has undergone a full transformation and renaissance to its present-day form. As I whipped around the historic streets on a rented electric scooter (talk about a transformation for one year to the next), I couldn’t help but admire not only the historic buildings but also the buzz from all of the people, restaurants, dive bars, theaters, clubs, and people dressed to support their Major League Baseball team. Commerce is once again great in the Gaslamp District.
Why share the history of the district? Well, it felt like one of the trending topics at TSW this year was “transformation”. Whether it is digital transformation, organizational transformation, or the general transforming of a weakness into a strength, so many of the presentations and exhibitors were focused on providing some sort of transformational guidance.
As Charles Darwin so accurately intimated, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Transformation and change are necessary for survival in the warp speed business landscape that is technology and professional services.
Nearly all of the presentations, from the keynotes to the breakout sessions focused in on transformation. The message was clear. The customer expects, and in truth demands, business outcomes to help them adapt and thrive. We learned about turning data into outcomes, transforming the support that we offer, developing a leadership toolkit, creating a Rockstar CS organization, and improving our offerings to proactively service our customers. Our very own Tim Short, VP of Global Customer Experience, along with Chana Lewis, presented on the need for the services group to embrace selling. This is a relatively new shift that companies must embrace to survive. They also homed in on the need to adapt to the changing needs of organizations.
Interestingly enough, after the presentation, we had a flood of people track us down to share that the presentation hit home. It resonated. Change is inevitable (for survival) but needs to be managed properly.
Back at our exhibitor booth in the packed convention hall, it became readily apparent that attendees were looking for tools to transform their work. Some of our most popular giveaways were stickers that fully resonated with busy the attendees. Some of the more popular stickers were:
“I need a spreadsheet to keep all of my spreadsheets organized.”
“Project Manager—I solve problems you don’t know you have; in ways you don’t understand.”
“Profession Services—we do precision guess work based on unreliable data, provided by those with questionable knowledge.”
We all recognize that were in the middle of a full-blown transformation. The reality of this situation is that we must adapt to survive. They say that history repeats itself. Just as the Gaslamp district had to adapt, reinvent, embrace change, acknowledge new startup districts, and deal with legacy issues, we too must overcome similar issues within our organizations to become the place “to be”. TSW was an awesome opportunity to make new friends, attend fantastic presentations, receive/offer transformation help in the businesses that we run, and enjoy some amazing food in the revitalized and hip Gaslamp District of beautiful San Diego.
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