Two Key Stories from the 15th SIA CWS Summit and Gig Economy Event

Here are two of the stand out stories from my stay in Dallas.

September 21, 2017

A few weeks ago, I talked about navigating through the current noise our industry faces and as I reflect on an extraordinary few days at the recent CWS Summit and Gig Economy Event, I am amazed by just how much collective progress we have made on that journey.

I wanted to take the time to pause and reflect on two of the key insights that struck me as I learned, connected and debated alongside some of my talented colleagues this week.

Here are two of the stand out stories from my stay in Dallas.

Our Changing Community

It’s been 7 years since I attended the CWS Summit in North America and the landscape looks a lot different than it did nearly a decade ago. Then the conference was dominated by powerful MSP and VMS sponsors who helped shape the conversation along a very linear path.

Now, we are a diverse and, I feel, much stronger community. I see input from adjacent technology, from none traditional suppliers and a wide range of talent services. We have created new categories of labor and built solutions to problems that simply didn’t exist before.

MSPs and VMS’, of course, still exist and play an important role but they have evolved too. The language we use to describe them may be the same but their function is in many ways completely different. They have reimagined their role to answer a more complex range of questions.

It strikes me that we have grown, become smarter and extended the boundaries of the talent community to include innovative and creative new contributors. This can only be a positive step for our future.  

The Importance of Listening to Our Customers (Including our Suppliers)

In my latest blog post, I considered the changing supplier equation and mused on the shifting partnership between suppliers and customers. At the CWS Summit and Gig Economy Event, I found myself considering a different facet of this relationship. The role of the customer in inspiration, innovation and purpose.

We concentrate on being the best, the first, developing solutions that go above and beyond what the rest of the crowd are doing. But it is vital that we take the time to listen to our customers. It is their problems that we must solve to add value and sometimes we forget to look to our customers for ideas and for the solutions they have already begun to discover.

This concept was explored recently in a fascinating article by Professor Eric Von Sloan, published in the MIT Sloan Management Review. Professor Sloan outlines his research findings, confirming that many successful products and ideas are being developed in the first instance by customers. He also details methods by which suppliers can capture this free data source. Check it out – it’s an interesting read and definitely some food for thought.

While inspiration and innovation have always been deemed critical to the relationships that exist within the talent supply chain (and it’s great to see so many companies adopting this language!) the importance of tying those drivers to an organizational purpose also stood out as an increasing priority. An understanding of the ‘noble purpose’ of your organization and how it aligns with that of the organizations you service and partner with was displayed in a very positive way this week!

I hope you enjoyed the 15th SIA CWS Summit and Gig Economy Event as much as I did and I look forward connecting with you at future industry events.

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