Business Leaders for Michigan's Annual CEO Summit: Top 5

girl trying htc vive virtual reality at business leaders of michigan event detroit

Last week, Business Leaders for Michigan held their fifth annual CEO Summit. This day-long event drew an enormous crowd from all areas of the enterprise: healthcare and banking to automotive and education. This year, BLM focused on some timely topics. The speakers discussed disruption, innovation, emergent technology and competing in a global economy. Here’s our Top 5 Takeaways from the day.  

Sam Sesti, CEO of ONU One, spoke to one of the key concepts: differentiators. With an ever crowded marketplace, what are the tools companies need to succeed? How do you communicate loudly over the roar of competition? One way is with 3D visualization: engage your customers emotionally and give them an interactive, custom experience with your products. Sam said, though, it might not just be one way – it is the way. Fairly soon, all marketing, sales, service and training will be done using 3D visualization.  

Even pizza companies are technology companies. CEO Patrick Doyle spoke about how most of their commercials aren’t about the product, but about how tech delivers it. Have you ordered a pizza with an app yet? What about via emoji? It’s time. Disrupt your Friday night dinner. ?  

This fascinating panel, moderated by @ChristyTV, covered so many crucial issues facing business today. Another highlight was PNC VP Ric DeVore talking about bridging the gap between the older generation that will do all of their banking in the branches, and the Millennials that will never set foot in one. We are in transitory times indeed!  

Steelcase CEO – and gamer! – Jim Keane spoke about how office furniture design is influenced by technology. His optimistic vision of the future of workspaces is one where people are no longer tethered to any particular location. Steelcase also uses virtual reality so clients can understand relationships between furniture and architecture. And, with the Internet of Things, offices will be as smart as the people who work in them.  

These are words to live by. Make a desktop wallpaper, write it on a white board, tattoo it on your arm. If everything around you is changing rapidly, staying the same automatically makes you obsolete. This isn’t about failure, though – many tech leaders talk about the importance of failing fast. Taking risks was central not only to this talk, but embedded into the overall day. What makes this field so exciting and challenging is the opportunity to always push forward and innovate. The real risk is taking no risk at all.             Cover photo courtesy of

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