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There’s No Rulebook When It Comes To The Future

‘You don’t have to say yes to everything, you just have to be curious,’ Play Big CEO Nancy Giordano advises an audience of solution providers at the NexGen conference.

Technology is changing, culture is shifting, and the amount of information is growing. Solution providers need to evaluate their position and how they can contribute to the new landscape.

The current pace of change is demanding more visibility, transparency and innovation from companies old and new. Making it through the gap between systems and approaches breaking down and new ones being created is the goal, said Nancy Giordano, CEO of Play Big, a company that helps forward-looking organizations transform, at The Channel Company’s NexGen 2018 Conference and Expo Monday.

The world is in a state of ambiguity where nothing is permanent, she said. But the good news is that solution providers can manage this constant state of flux.

"It's easy to assume this isn't happening,” said Giordano. “You don’t have to say yes to everything, you just have to be curious."

[Related: From Sole Proprietorship To Global Solution Provider: What MSPs Need To Do To Evolve]

Some traditional companies are seeing success by experimenting with new technologies. Lowe's, for example, has implemented augmented reality and virtual reality technology to help customers envision home improvement projects, an undertaking that was considered risky at first but has been successful for the company, Giordano said.

“You don't have to have advanced knowledge of new technology, you just need to be able to maneuver quickly,” she said. .”

Terminal, a Boston-based solution provider with 40 employees, is creating an action plan for the future and understanding the impact that fast-paced change will have on the company, said GP Ganapathi, general manager for Terminal.  

"I'm trying to make sense of future needs, but it's vague," he said. "One idea I have is to monitor my investments and start small with new technologies, like AI," he said.

Ganapathi is also thinking about how he can get his staff excited about the future too. 

"We have frequent meetings so that some of these ideas don't fall by the wayside. We don't have big budget for R&D, but we can do some small things that encourage out-of-the-box thinking."

Solution providers should ask themselves where they can invest, and who, potentially, they should be investing with, according to Giordano. Pizza Hut, for example, recently partnered with Toyota to build a self-driving vehicle that can cook and deliver pizzas. That's because the company wasn’t allowed to have a driver in the same car as an oven, she explained.  

Diversity of thinking is also critical for any company looking to shift its mind-set. The more backgrounds, ages and genders a company has means more productivity and success, she said.

"Companies that have a more diverse board have 15 percent more growth," Giordano said.

Lastly, the case for curiosity has never been as strong, Giordano said.

"There's no longer a rulebook that tells us what to do," she said. "The future requires ‘leadering’ versus leadership to really tackle the big shifts happening around us."

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