Going digital, globally

Posted: 10/18/2016 - 10:17

Hard to believe half a year has gone by so quickly, but Outsource finds itself once again at a SIG Summit – taking place this time round in delightful (though, today, surprisingly drizzly) Carlsbad, California. The conference proper kicks off tomorrow (Tuesday), though the thought leadership has already begun to surge forth, not least in this morning’s meeting of the Global Digital Innovation Council (GDIC), a remarkable venture co-promoted by Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) and sourcing advisors Avasant, and chaired by SIG Ambassador Matt Shocklee - devotees of our Outsource Talks webinar series (the next instalment of which comes live from the Summit on Weds 19) might remember Matt from our second episode.

The GDIC brings together some of the very sharpest minds in sourcing, whether buyer, vendor or advisor, to examine the ramifications for international business of our rapidly developing digital revolution – and, more importantly, to suggest and implement digital solutions to some of the myriad challenges facing business and society today. At the last meeting, one of the attendees offered “a do tank, not just a think tank” as a mantra for the GDIC; this morning, another delegate came up with a phrase – during a presentation on her own organisation’s activities – which I think similarly sums up the driving force behind the GDIC: “You can do all the academic work you like, but it doesn’t become until you get something out into the marketplace and see what happens.”

Getting possible solutions “out into the marketplace”, thanks to the combined efforts of various GDIC members, is an ongoing mission: it would be inappropriate to detail current projects but suffice it to say that the Council currently has its sights set on the healthcare market, and cybersecurity, with further projects in the offing. In a world so often dominated by the almighty dollar, it is both refreshing and inspirational to see wonderful minds coming together for altogether more altruistic motives, and I look forward to being able to describe in detail the first roll-out of a GDIC venture before too long.

Further GDIC activities are set for later this month, while the next meeting takes place at the next SIG Summit (in Amelia Island, Florida, March 13-16 next year); anyone interested in finding out more about this remarkable and genuinely groundbreaking venture should contact Matt Shocklee at mattshocklee@gsos.org (or myself at jliddell@sig.org).

Meanwhile, the pace at the Summit continues to quicken, with over 50 players currently out on the golf course for the regular “semi-competitive” golf scramble, and various international delegations gathering elsewhere. The program proper begins tomorrow, and we’ll be here to pick up as much of the action as possible – and to conduct a number of interviews with key delegates, for which keep your eyes on the homepage over the next days and weeks, and on Twitter for the hashtag #SIGfall16 (and, again, don’t forget Outsource Talks on Wednesday, featuring Ed Hansen, Thom Mead and Gary Malhotra and hosted as always by yours truly: register here. See you there!).

PS: A slightly unusual postscript, this, but I didn’t want to end this column without referring to an utterly spectacular book I’ve just finished reading, which addresses many of the issues covered in today’s GDIC meeting (and many more). Regular readers will be aware that the socio-economic impact of the automation revolution is of particular interest to me (and many of you); well, anyone of a similar mindset should immediately pick up a copy of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Professor Yuval Noah Harari which looks at nothing less than the future of the human race. It’s an incredibly ambitious book, and one which more often than not achieves its ambitions: I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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