The Network

Innovation Leader
June 14, 2017, Boston MA

In mid-July fifty or so leading innovation service providers gathered at the Fidelity ThinkSpace in Boston for “The Network,” a provider-centric conference held by Innovation Leader. Sessions were mostly participant led, with prime spots going to top vote getters (session topics were proposed and voted on in advance).

Mark Rogers, a design strategist at Fidelity Labs, ran an excellent session on experimentation at the edge of what was possible and legal. Participants had to envision a restaurant concept designed by Cirque du Soleil, operated by Hilton Hotels, with random prompts pulled from a hat. My partner and I gamed out a concept geared toward mobsters with a giant electrified modern art installation at the center, with a discrete entrance, at the Isabella Steward Gardener Museum, all for <$100 and cleared through Hilton’s legal department. It really got you thinking.

There were plenty of breaks for the exchange of business cards and backgrounds. An “introduce yourself to your neighbor,” encouraged sharing your media diet, with your partner recording the results on a sticky note (suggestions from all the sessions, gathered and linked here).

Despite being nominal competitors, the spirit was generous and earnest. The final session explored the innovation landscape ten years back and ten years hence. Looking forward, there was a central focus on what comes after machine intelligence, robotics and automation. How do we re-humanize, detach from our devices and manage information overload? How does the future of work play into the concept of self? What will education and community look like?

Excellent nuts to crack from a group of crack innovators. We look forward to seeing what we can come up with in the next year so we can share a bit of progress at The Network 2018.

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