I have to tell you, CES 2015 is not at all what I expected. I knew there would be product introductions and drones flying over my head and 150,000+ people milling about the conference, but I’m so excited and inspired by what I’m hearing this year, not seeing.

people

And I have to be honest: It’s Day 4, and I haven’t spent any significant time at an exhibit or playing with new gadgets (it’s on the agenda for today, of course). Tech East and Tech West (two major exhibition areas) are neat in their own right. But I’m most fascinated by the new C Space hosted at Aria, specifically targeted at marketers, influencers and business communicators.

I could fill pages with all of the thoughts and notes I’ve accumulated this week (trust me, my notebook is nearing capacity), but I’ll share just a few takeaways that really stand out to me.

Talent. People are the new currency. Smart, creative, non-traditional, cool people are what’s driving global innovation. We need to restructure our teams, break down our walls and reinvent creativity using a killer combination of content and technology. One of the most impactful moments of CES for me was a cartoon of two business executives discussing the concept of training their staff:

Executive #1: What if we teach them and they leave?

Executive #2: What if we don’t and they stay?

(Gives you chills, doesn’t it?)

Oh, and one other theme that’s emerged this week?

will

Collaboration. I mentioned this earlier, but I’m so encouraged and excited about how many companies are talking about strategic partnerships. Not everyone has jumped on the bandwagon, but it’s refreshing to hear that businesses are focusing more on what they’re good at and recognizing the need to collaborate to create better customer experiences, and quite frankly, a better world.

It’s not to say companies are planning to give up their secret sauce, but big brands like Samsung, Intel, MasterCard and so many more are openly leveraging their relationships in a way that hasn’t been done before. It very much feels like a parallel path to how AKHIA is seeing organizations cross-pollenate and integrate internally, too.

Disruption. No one likes the trend/phrase/concept that is disruption. It has a negative tone and it indicates major and uncontrollable change. The world is evolving. Progressing. Innovating. New technologies come and go, but smart, thriving businesses all focus on one thing: serving the customer. Connectivity is helping to accelerate and shape the way we do that, but it’s not disruptive. It’s enabling.

Computers vs. Humans. I’m waiting for a standoff between George Jetson’s Rosie and a human being. In a strange way, there’s an air of tension between those at CES who feel computers will soon replace the need for human thought and action because “Computers can drive cars much better than humans”—and those like Ryan Seacrest who say “We’ll always have humans making better decisions.”

So much comes into play with humanity and ethics and industrialization. How much technology is too much technology? What fundamental elements of human thought and interaction are we willing to give up—and what will we fight to keep?

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It’s my last day at CES, so if there’s anything you want to learn or hear about, shout it out!

Amanda Vasil is Change Agent at AKHIA.