The non-techie goes to BC Tech Summit
My kids scoffed when I told them I was going to the BC Tech Summit. Admittedly, I did laugh a little too, as never once have I ever referred to myself as a “techie”. In fact, in crossing the chasm terms, I most definitely fall into the category of “late adopter” when it comes to technology. I don’t need the latest and greatest gadgets. I prefer to remain blissfully unaware of how computer programs work; just grateful they do what they do, so I can do what I do in my career as a legal professional and part-time student.
However, as evidenced by my later-in-life MBA journey, I’m at a time in my life and career where I have time to challenge both myself and the status quo. I find myself branching out of my traditional bubble, in search of new stimulus to breed new ideas. Which is, thanks to the 2019 Boivie Family Gift, how I found myself finding inspiration and learning from leaders at last week’s BC Tech Summit.
My highlights from the summit include the messages, “Diversity breeds innovation”, “Make meaningful connections”, and “We cannot be who we cannot see”, explained below.
We are our own barriers to innovation
In an energizing keynote presentation, Duncan Wardell, former Head of Innovation & Creativity at the Disney Corporation, advised, “we are our own barriers to innovation”. His solution? When faced with a problem, seek out, and listen to, people with different ideas as “diversity breeds innovation”. While Wardell’s advice is intended for solutions to business issues, I feel it has much broader use.
In our world where a presidential election platform includes promises to build walls to keep out people who are different, where groups strategize to kill those whose whose ideology may be different, where children are killing children and many live in fear, let’s be brave! Let’s take Wardell’s message and start seeking out and listening to people who are different from us – people who have different ideas, cultures and skin colours. Perhaps only then can we be innovative enough to start solving our world’s problems.
Make meaningful connections
Humaira Ahmed, founder of Locelle Digital Inc., a networking app for women, delivered two powerful messages in her six-minute presentation on the “Ones to Watch” stage, starting with “make meaningful connections”. Technology has changed the way we do business; we continuously strive to reach farther and faster to a larger audience. Social media has changed the way we communicate, personally and professionally. We rush from home to work, from meeting to meeting, and even here at the Summit – from speaker to speaker, and as we do so, we should be mindful that a “like” is not a meaningful connection. Ahmed’s message is a reminder to take time to properly network, share, mentor, connect before it is a lost art.
We cannot be who we cannot see
The second message I took from Ahmed’s presentation is, “we cannot be who we cannot see”. These seven words resonated so clearly with me as a woman, a professional and a mother. I’ve always believed in the importance of children having role models and mentors, but until recently had not considered the importance of these roles throughout life. There is no guidebook on how to do “life”, and in my opinion, I believe connecting, hearing stories and seeing examples of both successes and failures can help everyone navigate their personal and professional journeys. And for women and minorities, as we continue to breakdown stereotypes, just seeing other like individuals successfully navigating life can be enough to ignite and inspire us to strive for what we see and fearlessly forge new paths forward.
I shared these highlights with my kids after the conference. They were surprised I didn’t learn about the latest and greatest gadgets. What I took away from the BC Tech Conference was so much more than that: the importance of diversity, meaningful connections and mentoring so that we can fearlessly strive forward is really the essence of innovation; without innovation, there would be no technology.
Darcie Stuart is an SFU Beedie MBA candidate currently enrolled in the part-time cohort that operates out of SFU Surrey. She is a proven leader focused on internal and external team-building using a collaborative approach. You can connect with Darcie on LinkedIn.