Insights From YPO EDGE: 7 Learnings to Apply to Your Business Now

Every year, YPO members from around the world gather for YPO EDGE, the organization’s landmark event. For two days, members, their spouses/partners and invited guests from more than 130 countries convene with world-renowned thought leaders to address key issues in business, politics, philanthropy and the humanities. The event offers exceptional educational opportunities for attendees while helping the global leaders of today shape the world of tomorrow.

We asked seven YPO members who attended this year’s gathering to share a key insight they took away from the EDGE that they were going to apply in their business upon returning home.

Disrupt yourself or you will be disrupted

For Nikolaus Weil, CEO and Founder of Mindex GmbH, the key takeaway from the Vancouver event was all about changing your mindset. “I thought Stephen Smith, Executive Director, USC Shoah Foundation, was notable and impressive. The augmented reality technology used by the Foundation (organizations that are formed to further the remembrance of the Holocaust of World War II), is where technology and history meet to truly transform humanity. It shows how we can preserve a historic legacy for generations to come in a complete new experience. We need an exponential mindset to meet the challenges of a digital and information-driven society. Disrupt yourself or you will be disrupted.”

Apply the modern elder concept

“I took home a few ideas from Chip Conley and the modern elder concept to use when working with young, startup type organizations,” says Veronika Rost of Diageo Germany GmbH. “Ask the curious ‘why’ and ‘what if’ questions to get an idea — not the CEO-style question of ‘what’ and ‘how’ to optimize an idea. You should also trade the organization’s IT intelligence with emotional intelligence. Become the organization’s connector as you are the nonthreatening ‘outsider.’ You should be the guide toward the adequate answer out of the 100 Google answers.”

Future success depends on becoming a nimble and innovative disruptor

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas CEO and President Jennifer Sampson was energized by the discussion with John Chambers, Executive Chairman of Cisco, regarding disruption and how legacy organizations leverage our brands to adapt to today’s challenges. “Chamber’s remarks and encouragement inspired me to be more intentional and deliberate about looking intensely at the future, finding new operating models that fit new realities in a rapidly changing world and adapting to emerging needs in our community and to the emerging needs of our donors and investors. I’m going to be open to new possibilities and become more opportunistic. Windows of opportunity open and close quickly. We need to continue to be nimble, innovative and entrepreneurial as we look toward the future if we want to achieve impact and drive more resources to our work.”

Do well by doing good

“In a member discussion of Benefit Corporation and B certification, I learned about the power of being B certified with regard to employee engagement and customer loyalty,” says Ammar Charani of Social Good Venture. “It’s a great way for a business to do well by doing good. We’ve decided to apply for B certification for our business.”

Virtual reality is here to stay

“EDGE 2017 was another reminder that the world we know today will not be the world we know tomorrow,” explains Prommac Group’s CEO Jason English. “Virtual reality is something we have been testing and using for several years now, and the EDGE offered a great experience in how to further enhance virtual reality products in the energy resource sectors, which are still largely human-driven industries. Other takeaways were the reinforcement that we live in a world of challenges and it’s our job as leaders of society to remain focused and bring solutions to the table one step at a time”

Look outside your business sphere

“Get your team out into the world to experience new and diverse perspectives,” was the key take away for Jay Dilley, President of Hawkair. “It’s necessary to look outside our spheres to arts, politics, business and other cultures. It’s about being ready for the future or creating it, and it’s about seeing the signs today.”

Expand your range of influence

“The YPO EDGE helped me garner remarkable and holistic experiences both on the personal as well as professional front,” says Neeraj Singal , CEO of SEMCO Groups. “I took a tremendous amount of ideas on how to re-invent strategies for my business and re-plan my output numbers. It helped me build up new relationships and expand my sphere of influence by collaborating with industry experts to share ideas and experience.”

Mary Sigmond is a content strategist, an award-winning storyteller and editor in chief of YPO's Ignite digital magazine. She has the pleasure of telling the engaging stories of some of the most influential young business leaders who are making an impact across the globe.