Retired Emerson Senior Vice President Dave Beckmann delivered the morning keynote presentation, Think for a Change (The Future of Automation).
He highlighted the mass changes going across the world, including Europe. Currency concerns, political changes, businesses disrupted by technology, and more. In our world of process automation, processes are growing more complex. Dave showed a picture of a floating production storage and offloading ship and it’s complex process.
To contend with these changes, most of us go into “hunker down” mode and keep a low profile. On a scale of importance, operational excellence is the least successful path to success. The most important path to success is innovative thinking. Product superiority is also fleeting. Dave highlighted how the iPhone was quickly replicated by Android devices.
It’s all about how you think. It’s very difficult to change how you think. Success used to come through horizontal thinking–spreading technology far and wide. Vertical thinking is the path of companies such as Apple to own the end-to-end experience. This also has its risks through rapid technology change. Dave proposed that spherical thinking will be the path to success.
The way we think is so ingrained in us, it’s difficult to see how change is impacting us. Businesses resist this change and soon disappear. Today in process automation, vertical thinking is way. The goal is to simplify the complex.
Times are changing. Even vertical thinking is under threat. PCs have short life cycles, viruses and patching is a constant, complexity remains.
Spherical thinking through vision is thinking about the things that the rest of us should be thinking about. Creativity is the key to success. Failure forces a change to a new path. We get creative when our left brain is maxed and we’re forced to use the right brain. Go outside your comfort zone. Balance your life. Stop doing so much email. Cross-pollinate with people outside your current sphere. Bring passion to your work.
Think right. Think creatively. Think passionately. Innovate incessantly.