Visiting !nnovate Milan 2019: innovation is not a buzzword

  • Geplaatst op woensdag 26 juni 2019
Innovate Milan

I was one of the lucky people who got to attend Avanade's yearly innovation event in Milan this year: !nnovate Milan 2019.

While there are always opportunities to attend events when you work here, I felt this event was special in the way that you get to connect with people from Avanade worldwide. Together with over 200 of my colleagues from all over the world I spent 3 days completely immersed in all the amazing things happening today, and more importantly, what's happening next.

Being an ambassador

Every country (Avanade has offices in 23 countries) got to nominate three ambassadors to join the event. This turned out not to be some honorary title where you just attend a few presentations: the ambassadors were immediately put to work.

We spent the morning establishing the Avanade Innovation Manifesto, a concise description of how we think Innovation should be approached at Avanade. Innovation is not a buzzword, that much is clear to me now.

This session was a great opportunity to connect with my peers from all around the world. I work in our Digital Innovation Studio in the Netherlands, and the reminder that we have great people on the other side of the planet that are able to solve similar problems was very welcome.

Dutch delegates at !nnovate Milan

Key takeaways

After the design thinking sessions we joined the other attendees for some very inspiring presentations in three different tracks: Advisory, Emerging Tech, and Experience. I managed to see quite a few brilliant presentations in the last two categories, below are my key takeaways.

Blockchain done better
One of the most interesting (and fun) presentations was about blockchain. It was presented by Davy Davidse and Tijmen van de Kamp, who both work in the Digital Innovation Studio as well. Their presentation, dubbed "Blockchain: How To Stop Losing Money" helped the entire audience look beyond the initial hype of blockchain and instead sketch a clear roadmap on when and how to use this technology.

Tijmen and Davy talking about blockchain

Things, Insights, Actions
Internet of Things and all sorts of connected devices were themes that made their return throughout the innovation event. We saw client cases from Japan, as well as some hands-on tinkering. Using the MXChip, our colleague from Japan showed us how Microsoft divides their IoT architecture into three separate areas: "Things, Insights, Actions". Turns out the best way to simulate a spike in temperature and show real-time data insights is by having your audience put devices under their armpits.

Human language is not built to explain quantum mechanics
"Do the next thing now" was a slogan that was mentioned a lot during this event, so it did not surprise me when I found myself in a presentation called "Quantum Computing: An Introduction". Two of our British colleagues explained Quantum Computing very well by using coin tosses and Slinkys. They closed with the phrase "If you don't get it, you're probably getting it". They also explained how human language is not built to explain quantum mechanics, all the more reason that I was impressed that they managed to make this difficult area easy to understand.

Conversational design
There was an excellent presentation that focused on conversational design. I've built a chatbot in the past for fun, but I felt like it was lacking something. Our international research and design teams are constantly digging deeper into what we expect from the bots that we use and how we interact with them. One of the key takeaways was that over 70% of people don't return to your chatbot after a single bad experience.

Driving innovation

I'm back in the Netherlands now and as I am writing this I see our Ambassador Microsoft Teams channel overflowing with people collaborating on how to best bring everything we saw in Milan to our colleagues in our respective regions.

Working at Avanade means working at a global organisation and this global network helps you stay ahead in a world that is more technology-driven than ever. Innovation is driven not only by technology but happens when people come together and wonder about what's next.

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