What Was Gartner Trying to Say at ITxpo – Think Abundantly?

I sat through a few sessions at the recent Gartner ITxpo in Orlando, Florida. I also heard reports from several colleagues about other sessions they attended. Some sessions left people wondering how much they could believe about the future, while other sessions focused on what C-level roles could do now to change their approach to their infrastructure, culture, and experience. Yes, there were plenty of buzzwords, in fact here’s a buzzword bingo list of some of the terms that we heard at Gartner Symposium ITxpo:

DIGITAL BUSINESS ALGORITHM CLOUD
INTERNET OF THINGS BIMODAL TRUST
INNOVATION ADAPTIVE SECURITY TECHQUISITION
ALGORITHMIC BUSINESS SENSOR WEARABLES
DIGITAL MESH SELF-DRIVING CARS AUGEMENTED REALITY
3D PRINTING PEOPLE-CENTERED SMART DEVICES

Notice that almost all of these terms have some kind of positive, abundant, or additive association.

Abundant Thinking

One session I sat through was titled “Exploit the New Era of Abundance Using Agility, Design, and Innovation” and the presenter started off by showing a sports clip about how a fútbol, or soccer team, overcame a three goal differential within a matter of minutes to beat one of the best clubs in the world. The connection he made for IT was to not think in scarcity, but to think in abundance. People, teams or organizations don’t overcome obstacles by thinking in scarcity. He tied in the themes of agility, design, and innovation as follows:

  • Agility – Modernize your IT through agile methodologies and Internet of Things implementations.
  • Design – Use design to create an abundance in your experiences for customers and employees alike
  • Innovation – Embrace the art of discovery by inviting Shadow IT into your organization and imagining new data possibilities

Abundance in the Face of Scarcity

Now, if this had been only one session, I would have thought Paul DeBeasi, the analyst and presenter, was just a positive thinker, which was reflected in his presentation. However, the more that I saw and heard at Gartner ITxpo, the more I thought this was an overarching theme. There was a session that talked about security and accepting that you’re already breached. You might think that sounds like scarcity thinking, but not so, when you accept a condition as reality, instead of constantly fighting it, you can find innovative ways to react with greater speed. Think of a video game with a warlike experience. You can often set up defenses, you may even be able to see where your enemies are, but there are always surprises and if you have the weapons to quickly react, you live to fight another foe and have more fun playing the game. Some may have reacted initially that “Gartner wants me to ignore my perimeter security”, but abundant thinking is not only about seeing a positive future, but accepting realities and having all the weapons at your disposal to solve your problems.

Abundant Leadership

Finally, the real abundance capstone came during the last keynote, which was delivered by Tony Robbins, a pioneer in thinking big. He was great at pumping everyone up and had everyone jumping up and down to create a different emotion in the room. But where it all clicked for me is when he talked about how everyone has failed. He pointed out several of his failures. He then asked the audience why they failed. Several answers were shouted out by the audience – lack of resources, someone else had it in for them, not enough money, fear of failure… the list was long.

TonyRobbins

Tony pointed out, it’s really none of those things. It’s what you’re creating in your mind – your reality. The real leaders lead themselves and others by doing the following:

  1. Start with a different strategy
  2. Continually tell yourself stories of abundance
  3. Create emotion through motion or action

It’s simple, but it all starts with abundant thinking. Does your IT organization think abundantly? Looking back, that’s the message Gartner was telling us at ITxpo. It’s time to create a more abundant outlook and culture around IT.