Last week, tech visionaries, digital creatives, and enterprise WordPress experts came together to share ideas and learn from one another at the 2017 WP Engine Agency Summit. The information, projects, and ideas shared across this year’s Summit were powerful and immense. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about groundbreaking trends in the tech space, the shift in how different generations use and live with the internet, and meaningful ideas on how to push engineering and WordPress forward faster.
The Summit concluded with WP Engine’s CEO, Heather Brunner, recapping the speeches and panel discussions and sharing some key takeaways along with a few snippets of inspiration for the audience to put forward into their businesses. Here’s to a more innovative, open, and boundary-breaking digital future!
Generational Power Has Shifted
From Jason Dorsey, President and Co-Founder of The Center for Generational Kinetics, we learned that generational power has already shifted; buying power is now with the millennials and the power to decide what’s possible for digital experiences in the future has shifted to Generation Z. This information isn’t a prediction, it’s happening now. Moving forward, how will your business rise to the challenge of the expectations of a generation of digital natives who will be the dominant buying power in the next decade? Generation Z, a generation that is entirely dependent on their smartphones, experience, use and interact with the internet in new ways; we must prepare for the future.
Intermittent to Immersive
Technology is no longer a convenient tool we intermittently take advantage of, it’s immersed in our lives. Technology has to shift, therefore, to be immersive, predictive, and personalized. The challenge for the future is: how do you continue to build a one-on-one personalized, real-time experience for the consumer?
Leigh Christie, Director of IsoBar NowLab Americas, explained that immersive experiences are sort of continuum; immersion simultaneous must occur in real-time, contextual experiences as well as empathetic experiences where you embody someone else and imaginative immersive experiences that are often other-worldly and psychedelic. As we create technology that is immersive, we need to start thinking about technology that we are capable of creating today.
Both Experimentation and Safety are Table Stakes
Brands, agencies, and businesses of all sizes need the ability to experiment, be agile, and try things quickly while at the same time be able to launch campaigns and sites with a very degree of security and confidence. It’s a balancing act – we need to figure out what works and drive ideas for the shifting personas but we also need to have the ability to do so safely. We want agility, openness, and integrability so that we are free to experiment but beyond that, we want the ability to launch at scale.
Open > Closed
We are continually seeing the democratization of digital experiences because of open technology. As Zeppa Kreager, Director with The Creative Alliance claimed, open is more than just software. Open source is a way of thinking and problem-solving. How do we cultivate child-like thinking and realize that anything is possible? We need to experiment, start small and think with an open mindset.
The Digital Experience is the Human Experience
As millennials and generation Z come into power, digital is going to become intertwined, interconnected and immersive. Digital will no longer be experienced separately, it will be the human experience. However, we can’t lose our empathy. We have to remember that the reason we are creating these experiences is to build or create a relationship.
Lois Last, User Experience Director at NYC Gov Lab & Studio, NYC Info Tech & Telecom, said that her journey involved building trust and empathy for the citizens of New York City. She wanted to say to them, “meet me here and meet me now.” We need to learn to meet our customer or stakeholder on their terms and adjust to what they need to create something that is relevant.
At the end of the day, what you are trying to do is engage in and build a trusting relationship with your customers. We know that consumers are going to choose to build relationships with brands they feel are operating with a higher purpose. Trust is a relationship that takes time, it is earned not bought. How do we use the combination of science and art to create humanity and build trust?
Norbert Ranjith, DevOps Engineer with Campbell Soup touched on the idea of operating with humanity. Put your employees and customers first and trust will blossom and your business will grow.
Roy Spence, Co-founder and Chairman of GSD&M, was our final speaker and ended the Summit giving the audience some perspective. “The purpose of life is to do good and be happy,” he said. We can not embody that philosophy only in our personal life on the weekends, we must do good in everything we do. Purpose is so important in your work life; when you have a purpose at work, you never have a “job” you simply have work to do.
Thank you to everyone who spoke at or attended our 2017 Summit! See you next year!
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