Chicago Ideas Week Disruptive Tech Photo

Technology: Disruptive Innovation (Chicago Ideas Week 2015)

This was my second year attending Chicago Ideas Week and it was just as empowering as it was last year. Looking through the schedule, there are always so many amazing sessions offered across the city. It can be hard to narrow down what to select, let alone get a ticket before everything sells out. Thankfully, I was able to grab one of the last spots for Technology: Disruptive Innovation. You can click here for my live tweet recap.

CIW 2015 Disruptive Tech Pamphlet

The session was held at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago. I met others in the tech sector along with a few college students  just entering the sector. It’s one of those events where the fellow attendees are just as interesting as the speakers themselves.

The lineup of speakers included event host Chuck Salter of Fast Company, Doug Oberhelman of Caterpillar, Jane Park of ComEd, Joseph Paradiso of MIT Media Lab, Brad Keywell of Uptake and Mark Spates of the Internet of Things Consortium. Definitely some powerhouses in the room, right?

Outside of being interested in the subject, it’s such a hot-button issue now–for very understandable reasons. Just a few days ago, Fast Company addressed tech addiction and the possibilities of design solutions. Ars Technica came out with an article last week discussing user concerns with the Internet of Things.

I find myself going back and forth almost hourly. On one hand, I know my information is already out there in the world. Every contract I sign and warranty I fill out for a new electronic is another group of people who know something about me. Convenience is a very easy way to give into this change. On the other hand, what I do in life isn’t everyone’s business. Just because it would be more convenient doesn’t mean it’s necessary or wanted.

Even if you know exactly where you stand on the issue, I think it’s healthy and important to stay updated on where the sector is shifting. The reality is that these shifts already started and there’s a lot of much invested in being “the first” to hit the ground running first.

From Caterpillar monitoring equipment across the company’s entire footprint and being able to rectified problems to MIT Media Lab’s amazing walk through of prototypes for fingernail wearables (and the Chain API discussion)–everyone’s trying to figure out innovative and secure ways to make systems speak to each other.

Mark Spates was easily one of my favorite to listen to in the group. The way he simplified connected vs. intelligent devices was inspiring. I’m also researching what I can on the Intelligent Light exercise.

During the live Q&A the question of security was brought up. And I really think this is where the crowds tend to be divided. How do you keep my information safe within one system, let alone an entire ecosystem?”

In Joseph Paradiso’s words, “If a product is perceived as threatening, no one is going to buy it.”

Disruption of any kind is uncomfortable. It is questioning a way of life that has been around long enough to gain trust and acceptance. However, with the tech explosion we’re in the midst of, I feel like we have a few years before anything “slows down” to a more “comfortable” level.

Regardless, it’s an interesting ride to be a part of. Let me know your thoughts! I’d love to know where everyone else is standing on this discussion.

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