The Top 7 Things We Learned From Events This Year

It has been a busy year for the Greystone events team. In addition to kicking off the first season of our Tech for Business Leaders event series, we teamed up with General Assembly to run a series of events exploring the intersection of technology and social/cultural issues. We enjoyed diving into new experiences and rich conversations with speakers and audiences. But most importantly, we learned a lot. About technology, about business, and about our community. We want to give a hearty “Thank you!” to our guests, and share a bit of what we learned with you.

1: Technology companies aren’t the only ones innovating in Colorado.
There are a lot of smart and savvy people doing great things in Colorado, and not just on the Front Range. From food to fashion to roads to homelessness, Coloradans are finding new ways to approach some of our most vexing problems.

2: The definition of a “technology company” needs updating.
Every company is a technology company. Restauranteurs use technology to source product, healthcare companies build complex dispatching systems, and clothing designers use complex technology to help us regulate our body temperature. Technology has integrated into every business in one way or another.

3: It’s all about data.
Greater access to technology by more people, in more places, in more industries, is creating massive amounts of data that can be used to make better decisions. Data is changing the transportation industry with AI vehicles, road monitoring, parking and traffic flow optimization, etc. As Peter Kozinski, Director of CDOT’s RoadX program, says, “Data is the new asphalt.” In the healthcare industry, it is a lack of access to data that is creating issues, primarily to a lack of interoperability by EMR (electronic medical records). Access to information across systems is key to finding the best outcomes for patients. In agriculture, data is creating new ways for farmers to improve crop yield and connect directly with chefs, keys to improving profitability.

4: Private and public partnerships create more successful outcomes.
Peter Kodzinski, Director of CDOT’s RoadX, discussed how CDOT has partnered with Panasonic to create national guidelines for self-driving vehicles. At Tech and Urban Planning, we heard about the City of Westminster partnering with Waze to get local traffic pattern data; something cities don’t have the resources to do on their own. These types of partnerships create opportunities for improved services and business opportunity.

5: Technology still needs people.
Regardless of how great the technology is, our panelists talked more about the people they work with and the people they serve more than they talk about the technology. They emphasized the partnerships, the collaborations, and the community. It is their connection to people that has enabled them to use technology to create success.

6: Change is never easy.
Across industries and technologies, it is tough to make people and systems change. The bigger the systems and the more people affected, the harder change is. Many of our panelists are fighting uphill battles as they attempt to drive change in industries, communities, and governmental organizations.

7: Change is possible.
It is fitting that, at this time of year, our last key lesson is a lesson in optimism. Our panelists are making changes happen. They found ways to create change, often wholly upending entrenched mental models and behaviors. Our panelists delivered hope and inspiration, and we look forward to seeing what they accomplish next year!