It’s All About Innovation


Thomas Edison said “everything comes to him who hustles while he waits” and other than his out-of-sync male-bias point of view, his sentiment couldn’t be more true in today’s intense pace of technological change.

Last week I made the trip to Convergence 2014 in Santa Clara. It was an inspiring event! One of the biggest takeaways from the event was the importance of innovation and the role that it plays in our radio future.

Some years ago, at the urging of my friend (media consultant Holland Cooke), I first attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. My goal at the outset of attending that event, and in subsequent years, is to seek insight into new technology and catch that “innovation  bug” that so permeates CES.

From that spirit of bringing products to market and attending and participating in Convergence comes the realization that the radio business has to realize that to innovate is to thrive on the digital highway. Innovation came in all shapes and sizes at Convergence and the diversity  of the presenters and the attendees makes it worth the trip.

Meeting attendees like Chris Fleming from Lubbock, Texas, Amy Stroud from Somerset, Kentucky, and Michele Mitchell from Springfield, Illinois, proved that digital curiosity and a passion for improvement doesn’t only emanate from major markets.

Internal pride from innovators, whether they are showcasing big products at CES or they were on display at Convergence 2014, is a big takeaway that we all can’t forget as we forge ahead in competitive and disrupted times. Too often we become our own worst enemy and cut ourselves off at the hip even before we start an innovation process. Innovators approach their craft with tremendous pride and as CEA  President Gary Shapiro once said, “the ancient warriors overcame great odds to beat enemies who were bigger and better equipped,” and we need to use that pride to guide our future.

Partnerships always step to the foreground of my CES experience and Convergence echoed that same path this year. Steve Lehman the former CEO of Premiere Networks brought that point home  effectively in his panel called Circling Sharks or Future Strategic  Partners, and it reminded me that sometimes we are all quick to judge defensively who can’t be a partner, rather than how someone or something  can be an addition.

Behavioral analytics are a major priority for CES innovators and the future innovators for radio have to stay way ahead of the pack to thrive. We have more data available to us than ever before and we have to pick and choose what data or insights are most actionable to help us set our course.

As Edison also said, “I find out what the world needs, then I go ahead and try to invent it.”



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