We, the American contingent, have concluded our discovery expedition. You have already read a lot about the Mexican leg of the trip which stood out for its contrasts, social entrepreneurship and gigantic manufacturing and supply chain operations. Now is the turn of America. The land of the free and the home of the brave. No better place in America than San Francisco to witness the “free and the brave” mindset.
We had the chance to hear from some of the most exciting companies of the present times. Uber stood out for the enormous scale that it has attained in such a short period of time. Twitter stood out for its ability to analyse and dissect data like no other. They could actually tell you, people in which street in Istanbul talk most about coffee. Such capabilities are game-changers in transforming the way the business is done. SalesForce.com stood out again for its unthinkable growth rate and its rolodex that boasted of some of the biggest names in the Fortune 100 as clients. When you come to think of it, none of these companies existed as recently as 15 years ago. And now, not only do they exist but also they set the tone for everything from the way we travel to the way we talk to the way we engage with customers and everything in between.
IDEO, the one of its kind design thinking firm, had the most fun office one has ever seen, complete with a toy lab and fabrication workshop. The informality of the atmosphere at IDEO, highlighted the pointlessness of the facade that many professionals and companies adorn even in the present day. Their motto was simple – to be human centric and to have fun. Their portfolio of impressive projects ranges from designing the first ever mouse to completely revamping the voting mechanism in LA. Clearly they are a successful firm and as Sinatra would put it, they do it “their way”.
There was a lot more but I will leave that for my classmates to share through guest entries. However, I would like to highlight the success of our Navigating the Future Conference in San Francisco which was received very well by the audience and generated a lot of high quality discussion.
Even on my repeat visit to the city, San Francisco did not fail to inspire me and fill me with energy as I walked through the city and explored its many attractions including a ride in the famous cable car. Some of us also managed to squeeze in a long drive north and south of the city – a drive we will remember for years to come.
And we will remember that what makes San Francisco a great city is the fact that when every one asks “why” San Francisco asks ” why not”.
Signing off from Schipol enroute to Geneva.