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November 03, 2022  |  permalink

Fast Company Innovation Festival 2022

The Fast Company Innovation Festival — a virtual mainstay of mine during the pandemic years — returned in-person for 2022, and I had the pleasure of hosting multiple sessions for IBM (at top), FIS (below), Meta (at bottom), and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (not pictured).

Kicking things off was my fireside chat with IBM’s Jason McGee, general manager and CTO of the company’s cloud business, covered the evolution from “private clouds” to “public clouds” (think AWS), to the inevitable “hybrid clouds.” Here’s a snippet of our conversation:

How did the pandemic help drive this shift, for both good and bad?

What’s interesting is how we got a lot more tactical in an environment like that—how do I solve this problem right now? There’s some freedom in that—people worried less about the strategic ramifications 10 years from then. But now we’re three years out, dealing with all the fallout of the short-term decisions you made, including all your different partners and cloud providers you signed in the heat of it. The stumbling block now is: How do I get a handle on everything I’ve done and bring some consistency to that environment? Because all of that complexity is bogging me down.

The next day, I spoke with Taira Hall, SVP of B2B and strategic innovation at FIS, and her colleague Stephane Wyper, SVP and global head of venture investment, about embedded finance and what it means for the future of the financial industry. What is “embedded finance,” you ask? Good question! From the recap:

The rise of “embedded finance” promises to turn banking and insurance inside out by offering their services as an add-on to other purchases rather than remaining one-stop shops. This not only has the potential to upend these industries as we know them, but also transform our relationships with brands, as customer-loyalty programs morph into personal data–driven credit scores, and every transaction includes financing options. Banks will still be necessary to handle the sticky bits—including risk, regulation, and compliance—while fintech startups rush to offer tailored solutions for small businesses and gig economy entrepreneurs.

Finally, I hosted “You, Me, and the Metaverse,” a panel hosted by, yes, Meta, featuring the company’s VP of Americas Nada Stirratt, George Mason University sociologist James Witte, and Ed3 DAO co-founder Vriti Saraf. Click the link above for video highlights, or just read the description:

As business leaders look out at the exciting and expansive future of the internet, it remains an open question why the metaverse is gaining steam now. In this thought-provoking discussion, discover the changes and advances in technology, culture and commerce that are defining and driving this innovation in real time — and how these developments create an opportunity for businesses to get ahead of the curve.

Can’t wait for next year — although I’ll need more pants.

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Greg Lindsay is a generalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He is a 2022-2023 urban tech fellow at Cornell Tech’s Jacobs Institute, where he leads The Metaverse Metropolis — a new initiative exploring the implications of augmented reality at urban scale. He is also the chief communications officer at Climate Alpha, an AI-driven location-analysis platform steering investment toward climate adaptation and more resilient regions; a senior fellow of MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab, and a non-resident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Strategy Initiative.

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