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RomeThe Business Leadership Forum was quite an experience and is hard to summarize. IBM did a good job of organizing it and everyone there appreciated it and learned a lot — I certainly did. As with most conferences, a lot of the value was in talking to people at breaks. Dinner at the Vatican is next to impossible to describe. It was the proverbial "you had to be there" thing. Here are some of the key insights delivered by Sam and his speakers and panelists during the conference…

  • Innovation is essential and what the 21st century is all about
  • Change is faster and more disruptive than ever
  • Globalization is inevitable
  • Ubiquitous connectivity is breaking down physical borders and creating connections between people, economies, organizations and governments in ways that were never thought possible
  • Businesses need to cultivate their uniqueness
  • Businesses need to encourage employees to be multi-disciplined, collaborative, and global
  • Innovation that matters comes from seeing problems differently and adding value quicker than anyone else
  • Constant reorganization is futile but leaders must look at a company’s structure strategically, consider which pieces need to shift and then unfold change bit by bit
  • Technology plays a leading role in innovation, but it isn’t the only factor
  • What were once disruptive technologies now are commodities
  • To innovate, CEO’s don’t need to control all the resources or build within their own frameworks. They need to partner and collaborate
  • Governments can help spur innovation among the private sector
  • Governments must be more flexible to respond to today’s business needs
  • Restrictive governments try to defend and preserve what has been achieved in the past, but if they rely only on the strength of their past, they put progress in peril
  • Governments need to open themselves to market and labor reforms to stay relevant and competitive in global markets