As a long-time ASUG Executive Exchange member, I am often asked, “What is the value of Executive Exchange participation?” I’ve answered this question a bunch of different ways over the years, but all the answers really come down to one thing — how do you stay relevant? What are you doing to actively increase the value in what you do?
A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Steven Johnson. Steven is an author and thinker who studies how the evolution of technology and human experience shape our world. Steven talked about the concept of the “slow hunch”; the idea that innovation is the process of people linking together seemingly unrelated topics and problems to find innovative solutions. I love this idea; I believe that real innovation comes from outside of whatever our own box is and I always challenge myself to look for new ideas in new places.
For me, the Executive Exchange is that place. It differs from the traditional industry-based community, because you aren’t spending time with a bunch of people just like you. EE brings together executives with diverse backgrounds but with a common SAP experience that helps ground the conversation. It lets me interact with people from seemingly unrelated industries and see if their box has a better answer than my box does.
Earlier this year, I was talking to a technology executive with a Fortune 100 company about a new product from SAP. They were considering it, and we had just gone through a similar evaluation. Based on our talk, and some subsequent information exchange, he was able to kick start his evaluation and save time and money in making a decision. Afterwards I couldn’t help but think, “How did this connection even happen?” We’re in totally unrelated industries, and his IT department is bigger than my entire company. The short answer is two words — Executive Exchange.
Executive Exchange pushes itself to be the place where members can innovate. How do I know this? The talk with Steven Johnson was at an Executive Exchange event. How’s that for an “IT group” finding new ideas in new places?
CIO & VP of IT at Summit Electric Supply
ASUG Executive Exchange Steering Committee Member