Event Summary

Orient Express, Venice 2019

Creativity & Digital Transformation On The Orient Express

IT leaders and software companies from around the world convened in Venice, Italy for two days from March 21-22 and one night chartering the legendary Orient Express, as part of Insight IGNITE’s Innovation Roundtable series, a digital acceleration program organized by Insight Partners, curating digital business insights and debates about the technology that powers digital transformation.

As a growth acceleration investor, Insight Partners invests in companies as they get past 0 to $10 million and as the business unlocks. This puts the firm in an ideal position to determine what technologies are best suited to turbo charge digital transformation, which is crucial for large enterprises facing the digital chasm. During the Venice/Orient Express Innovation Roundtable, we gathered insights on how to tackle this by putting  people and creativity at the core of transformation.

Sourcing Global Tech

One creative approach to sourcing enterprise tech is looking outside the major hubs. While Insight Partners has made a number of investments in AI, cyber security and automation, the vast majority of the firm’s portfolio companies helping the G2000 cross the digital chasm were not founded in Silicon Valley or Tel Aviv. They were launched in unexpected places like Milan, Vienna, Kansas City, and Vietnam. This international diversity has been a key ingredient in cultivating Insight IGNITE’s global community, as it brings different perspectives to the forefront of the digital transformation conversation.

Harnessing The Creativity Of Youth

Kicking off the roundtable sessions, LEGO CIO Henrik Amsinck, delivered a keynote presentation on how the iconic company is inspiring and developing the builders of tomorrow. In doing this, LEGO sees digitalization not only as a challenge or threat, but as an opportunity. As children are moving into the digital play space Henrik and his team determined that to stay relevant they needed to create a digital building experience with different play themes for kids.

By bringing together LEGO’s physical products and marketing materials with digital and augmented reality, LEGO has made the analog come alive for children, allowing them to build worlds in 3D.  Regarding product development, LEGO harnesses the power of social media and crowdfunding by allowing consumers to submit their product ideas to LEGO. The ideas that get the most votes get produced and sold online. The power of new ideas and imagination—that largely come from the youth—can be drivers of innovation in any industry.

Innovation Is About Process

Continuing the conversation around the value young people bring to innovation, 24-year-old entrepreneur Josh Valman, CEO of RPD International, joined us for a fireside chat on how businesses can unlock creativity through age diversity. As someone who started consulting for some of the world’s largest manufacturing companies on supply chain and engineering at age 15, and who launched a career in robotics at age 10, Josh is living proof that all the tools needed for innovation are available to us. What needs disrupting is the process. That being said, we explored the idea that the ideal scenario for disrupting an industry involves pairing young, innovative thinkers with seasoned veterans who can provide context and experience. 

“Digital is the fourth economic revolution.”

– Rafi Sweary, President & Co-Founder at WalkMe 

Building Your Data Strategy Around Value

No digital transformation roundtable is complete without conversations on the importance of harnessing data. Bala Balakrishnan, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at Liberty Global, discussed the importance of looking at which customer segments and competitive external factors are driving value, as well as analyzing where the highest friction point is in your operations. At Liberty Global, he does this one journey at a time, one product at a time, and one metric at a time.

Understanding The People Part Of Data

Creativity and transformation are about people. To make better, creative decisions based on data Caroline Carruthers, Director at Carruthers and Jackson and and Peter Jackson, Director of Group Data Sciences at Legal & General co-authored the book “The Chief Data Officer’s Playbook,” a practical guide to making better decisions based on data. During their presentation, they discussed the fact that data doesn’t know boundaries and permeates every aspect of a business. Therefore, the CDO needs to work across an entire company.

A New Approach to Corporate Innovation

When it comes to creating a company, our guest speaker, Gary Lyons, CEO of Shipyard Technology Venture, talked about the platform his team created to build a company within two weeks from business plan to launch. The concept is driven by the idea of launching a boat to see if it floats. In other words, do it quickly and at scale.

Managing Digital Risk In The Boardroom

Regarding what role board’s should play in establishing the digital transformation strategies of a company, a panel of board members agreed they should bring in experts to help integrate digital business strategies. The session featured Olof Pripp, Vice Chairman, Board and CEO Services at Korn Ferry, Carla Cico, former CEO of Brasil Telecom, S.A., Karel De Gucht, who’s on the Board of Directors at ArcelorMittal and Proximus, and Stuart Sinclair, Non-Executive Director at Lloyds Banking.

The panel touched on the possibility of CIOs evolving into CEOs, due to the need for leadership to be digitally minded and tech savvy. They also explored the Fidea that as all this change transpires within global companies, they need to understand how geopolitics will impact digital strategies is growing.

Creativity: The New Currency

In the end, timing is everything. When it comes to digital transformation, we concluded that it’s paramount to always ask, “why innovate now?” We also determined that focusing on the intersection of humans and machines working together is becoming increasingly important every day. As machines become more capable of doing what humans can do in the workforce, creativity is becoming the new currency, which is why putting people at the forefront of data and transformation is key.