The Conceptual Age – reporting from ISM 93rd Conference St. Louis

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Just returned from a wonderful conference – the ISM 93rd at St. Louis. St. Louis is a nice place and the conference center was great as was the metro train transportation which I used to check out a surprisingly great Indian Restaurant, Rasoi.

There were many great sessions throughout the conference and I will probably allude to them in future posts. However, Daniel Pink as the lunchtime speaker on Monday simply resonated with me and many other participants. Pink did not probably say something totally new but did manage to convey his message really well.

In a nutshell, Pink said that three things were changing our world, particularly in the developed West. These were Abundance, Asia and Automation.  His illustration of abundance was rather neat in that the rather new self storage industry is for the extra "stuff" we have gathered and the self storage industry exceeds 22 B $ and is larger than Hollywood. Asia  and the impact of China on manufacturing and India on services is well known as are the burgeoning markets and aspirations in these countries.  But it is automation that is the clincher of  the "conceptual age". If it can be codified and written down it will be either outsourced or automated, preferably automated. Interestingly, it is not Indian accountants that took over all the tax returns but the 29 $ software you can buy at Wal-Mart to file your taxes. Why would you pay 100+ $  to a tax preparer ??

This leads to Daniel Pink’s thesis that it is necessary to have a prepared left brain that is analytical, sequential and is geared to doing well in the SAT. However, the left brain alone is not enough because by definition what the left brain can do, can be codified,written down and then outsourced and finally automated. So beyond the left brain is developing the "conceptual" skills of the right brain that ‘s about synthesis, modeling and innovation in your field of expertise no matter what your "left brained" expertise is. Very interesting and provoking and so thought many of the participants I talked to.

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