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2020 Trends Executive Briefing Recap Blog

On March 5, 2020 we celebrated the launch of the Kin + Carta 2020 Change Report by gathering at Chicago’s Loft Lucia to forge new connections, exchange ideas and explore how themes from the Change Report are impacting different industries.

Hosted by Kin + Carta’s Kelly Manthey and Ryan Maguire, the event featured four guest speakers, who each offered their own insight based on one of the report's 9 key themes.

Dawn Bradshaw, CMO, Wintrust Mortgage
John Higginson, CTO, Groupon
Kevin Peterson, Director of Corporate Innovation, Polaris
Stacy Trackey Meagher, Managing Director Google Cloud, Google

In case you weren’t able to make the event, here’s what you missed:

To read more about these topics

Download the Kin + Carta 2020 Change Report

Our very own Kelly Manthey kicked off the event by speaking to the first theme of the report called “Evolving Identities.” The theme sheds light on the blurring of category definitions, including the growing phenomenon of businesses insisting on being considered a “tech company.”

Kelly explained that, in the sense of the tools we use to deliver value to customers, every business is a tech company, and that more significant consequences can result from this line of thinking.

“Sometimes you lose your focus...or you miss the innovation that’s right in front of you,” Kelly said. She also explained that Kin + Carta is far from immune to the challenges that come with organization-wide change.

“We looked at our business and said, what is it that we’re really good at? Who are we becoming as the industry’s changing? We’ve grown a bit tired of the notion of disruption. What we exist for today is to make the world work better; to be really tangible, roll up our sleeves, and dig in.”

We’ve grown a bit tired of the notion of disruption. What we exist for today is to make the world work better; to be really tangible, roll up our sleeves, and dig in.

Kelly Manthey - Group Chief Executive, Kin + Carta Americas

Inspired by the Change Report’s theme of The Great Data Reckoning, Dawn explored the new levels of abundance in data, how marketing has transformed, and what leaders should do to better put data to use.

“Data is more important than creative,” Dawn said.

Dawn explained that, for those who are familiar with her background as an artist and creative, that statement might come as a shock. But as her career has evolved over time, her job has transformed from developing big creative-driven marketing campaigns to building digital infrastructure and working with CTOs to build data warehouses. Now serving as the CMO of Wintrust Mortgage, Dawn explained three paradigm shifts that she’s witnessed over the course of her career.

First - the dramatic shifting in roles. As the “Mad Men” era of marketing is replaced with data-led mindsets, Dawn underscored the importance of bridging a skills gap by creating a culture of data fluency across the organization.

Dawn also explored the changing paradigms in data-led targeting and customer experience, and how shifting from demographic and psychographic consumer targets to intent-based segments is allowing brands like Target, Netflix, Amazon and Spotify to set new standards for personalization and customer engagement.

For more insight into the evolution of Big Data, the new tipping point in the abundance of data, and what leaders can do to tackle the problem, read the Great Data Reckoning in the Kin + Carta 2020 Change Report.

We have to really pay attention, not just to get the tech right, but to get the people part of it right as well.

John Higginson - CTO, Groupon

The Change Report also catalogs recent milestones in the interaction of Artificial Intelligence Separate but Symbiotic: AI & EQ Grow Together. The theme specifically looks at how the integration of emotional intelligence in AI technology is leading to new meaningful innovations, but also how the areas where AI falls short of capturing the human condition can yield just as valuable insight.

John Higginson expanded on this theme, exploring the current state of emotionally-intelligent AI systems, and what it means for businesses trying to better understand and engage with the people they depend on most.

John began by sharing real life examples of how AI in action: Including bots that have successfully generated and tested ad copy for JP Morgan Chase and how HR teams are using AI to develop a more accurate impression of employee morale by analyzing disparate inputs that go beyond the usual annual survey.

Drawing from the experience of his mother seeking medical diagnosis aided by IBM’s Watson, John discussed the importance of identifying AI’s limitations, and how the handoff between machine and human is critical to providing empathetic patient care.

As Groupon’s CTO, John also explained how the company engages customers through the balance of algorithm-driven promotions with human testing, both qualitative and quantitative. John said the key is about balance, and that as things only continue to evolve, that balance between machine and human interactions will be more important than ever.

“We have to really pay attention,” John said, “not just to getting the tech right, but to getting the people part of it right as well.”

The Change Report also includes a theme titled New Brand Battlegrounds, highlighting the emerging paradigms that brands must consider and compete in, including things like voice technology, empathetic service and inclusive design.

To illuminate the role that empathy has played at Polaris, Director of Corporate Innovation Kevin Peterson shared how the company is investing in new ways of engaging customers. Kevin discussed a new business model the company had created called Polaris Adventure, summarized in a simple idea.

“We took empathy for our non-customers,” Kevin said.

Their strategy centered around opportunities that might lie just beyond the normal field of vision, but could present valuable new growth for the brand. This included exploring how to support rental operators of Polaris products with additional business services and cultivating new ways to learn about potential customers who were interested in their products, but were held back by life-stage obstacles that the company hadn’t previously uncovered.

Kevin explained how the organization is now putting these new insights into practice, including adopting new financial metrics, more iterative product development processes, flexible team structures and data-driven operating models.

Everyone’s going through it, whether you’re a tech company or not. We’re all going through change and transformation, and there are plenty of ways we can all learn from each other.

Stacey Trackey Meagher - Managing Director Google Cloud, Google

The Advancing Change section of this year’s Kin + Carta Change Report includes two themes about bringing transformation to life within an organization. Real Time Negotiating explores how the demand for faster, personalized, real-time experiences will force a shift in priorities across departments. Similarly, Agility Meets Flexibility focuses on the need for more flexible ways of working and the evolution of Agile thinking within enterprise organizations.

Highlighted by a plethora of new investments and challenges, Stacey Trackey Meagher - Managing Director Google Cloud, shed light on how Google is undergoing its own transformation to continue delivering on its mission of organizing the world’s information to make it universally accessible and useful.

In February, Google released a much talked about Super Bowl ad telling the story of Google’s voice assistant helping a man to remember a lifetime of memories shared with his wife. Stacey said that type of impact is a great example of the extraordinary capability of personalization and AI, but also the immense good the technology can provide.

As Google pursues the next generation of world-shaping innovation, Stacey shared the company’s commitment to “10x thinking” and how “Moonshots” characterize the company’s commitment to big, bold ideas that might otherwise get overlooked in favor of incremental progress. She said the tech giant has taken significant strides to strike the right balance between short term efficiencies and future-focused ambition.

Moonshots that include Waymo’s 1,500 autonomous cars in cities like Phoenix, Loon’s innovative balloon technology to extend internet access to the billions around the world without it, or Calico’s mission to redefine how we think about aging and biology.

As so many of Google’s services make their way into enterprise organizations, Stacey shared insight into Google’s emphasis on how partnerships are vital to making new data-driven experiences a reality.

In terms of the transformative process that so many companies find themselves in, Stacey reminded the audience that Google is far from immune, and that collaboration and connection are as important as anything.

“Everyone’s going through it, whether you’re a tech company or not. We’re all going through change and transformation, and there are plenty of ways we can all learn from each other."

To read more about these topics

Download the Kin + Carta 2020 Change Report