5G, blockchain, internet of things, Rich Communication Services, artificial intelligence. It seems the number and speed of new technologies driving today’s digital transformation accelerate each day. Syniverse is right in the thick of helping companies respond to these rapid changes, and I recently had a chance to further advance our efforts at an event for women.
One challenge, in fact, that doesn’t receive enough visibility today has to do with the ways that many companies determine the best ways to competitively integrate new technologies while at the same time not radically putting at risk an established customer experience. Many companies center on the business end of investments, strategies, and hard skills, but not the investments in people and culture that are also crucial. What’s often overlooked as a result is the type of personal mindsets and habits we need to form in order to successfully tackle the complexities of competing in a world that is digitally reinventing itself almost every day.
I recently gained insights on both sides of this equation while representing Syniverse at the annual Tech Up for Women Conference in New York City. The conference offers an intensive one-day collaborative technology hub created especially for the advancement of women, and an event that Syniverse has been playing a bigger role in each year. The conference doesn’t just explore the future of tech through the latest issues and trends, but it also delves into the details of the hard-knock stories, recipes and insights that are only discussed at a high level at many other business conferences.
As part of a commitment to support women’s role in technology, we at Syniverse have had an increasing presence at the conference, and this year we built on this participation further. We helped kick off the conference with some opening remarks by Lisa Paccione, Vice President of Sales, and Bill Zierolf, Senior Account Executive, Sales, who spoke on some recent milestones by women in tech and some predictions for next year. Then a member of the board of directors for Syniverse and the founder and CEO of the consulting firm Eagle Vista Partners, Laura Desmond, moderated a panel session on mobile technology innovation that also included leaders from Verizon and Svrf, a company specializing in content for augmented and virtual reality.
In addition to these sessions, the conference included a wealth of additional insights and on the latest issues and trends in technology, the people and culture needed to best respond to these forces, and specifically the role of women in all of it. From these sessions, I took away 13 key tips for success in business innovation shared by female executives, visionaries, and strategists representing some of the world’s largest tech companies and hottest startups.
Here are 13 ways for women to “tech up” their lives and accelerate their creativity, productivity and career growth:
- Create white space – The best product or business concept comes from meeting unmet needs or taking friction out of the process.
- Make a niche for yourself – Stand out in your career, business (and life) by going after what is new and what others are not. This will allow you to gain an edge by not having to compete with other companies – or even co-workers – in a crowded, established market.
- Get used to hearing “NO” – Use those data points to pivot your pitch to create a “YES.”
- Take time to disconnect and focus on yourself and your goals – This may sound counter-intuitive for those in tech, but we can’t change the world, be creative or strategic if we’re constantly responding to what others want from us. This may just mean implementing a no-email rule for the evenings and weekends.
- Be humble, but don’t forget your worth – You’re never as good as they say – or you think – you are. And your never as bad either.
- Never be afraid to take on that project – Ask for that raise or promotion. So, what if you fail?
- Always ask “what’s next” and make your pivot based on your strengths – These strengths are the skills that people always rely on you for. If you’re not there yet, connect the gaps by testing new ideas and skills that take 10 to 20% of your time to see if it’s a success. Then, ask yourself if you enjoyed it, if you can become an expert in it, and if it’s scalable.
- Level up your soft skills – Why? Because skills like creativity and leadership are not replaceable by machines and AI.
- On the flip side, look to alternative sources for hard skills – The rise of the new-collar worker will lean on learning digital skills for automation, cybersecurity, and IT from technical schools and certificate programs rather than universities.
- Stop thinking you’re not creative – You must be creative to be an artist, but you don’t have to be an artist to be creative.
- Ain’t no valley low enough – Challenges at work are nothing compared with the challenges you’ve already faced in your personal life. Why stress? You’re already a champion.
- Listen to your intuition – It’s a woman’s superpower.
- Take a moment to look back before looking ahead – Soak in your accomplishments.
- Bonus tip! Continuous stretching only means that you’ll eventually snap – Here’s my own insight. Popular belief is that we should always be moving onward and upward. However, the times that seem stagnant are often hidden gems of growth in unexpected areas. Don’t be afraid to linger in your journey. Just don’t stay too long!
I look forward to putting these tips into practice in my career and would like to give a special thanks to all the women who took time away from their plans of world domination to dedicate it to schooling each other for Tech Up.
Any tips you would add? I would love to hear them. Please share them in a comment below.
Jessica Summers is a former Public Relations Manager at Syniverse.