Author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell fields audience questions posed by Citrix CMO Tim Minahan on stage at the inaugural Synergy Innovation Super Session series presentation. I’ll be featuring my favorite images here each day of the conference. Watch for them!

It’s not a puzzle world anymore. It’s a mystery world. The nature of the problem that we face is fundamentally different.

“It’s not a puzzle world anymore. It’s a mystery world. The nature of the problem that we face is fundamentally different,” Malcolm Gladwell explained. The New York Times bestselling author kicked off our Innovation Super Session series with an intriguing look at what it means to be an expert in the age of machine learning. It was an engaging and thought-provoking break after a morning of intensive breakout session learning and a highlight of Day 2 at Synergy 2017. What else happened today and what’s coming up tomorrow? Take a look:

Innovation Super Session

He’s an insightful writer and an even more compelling speaker, and we were thrilled to have Malcolm Gladwell at Synergy as one of our inaugural Innovation Super Session speakers. Judging by tweets from the crowd, attendees agreed.

Malcolm talked about how AI will impact decision making and productivity in the workplace and how to make sense of the daunting volume of information on our plate in an age of big data and AI. What does an expert look like in this new world? “An expert in the future is not a puzzle solver. It is a mystery solver. It’s someone who is practiced in the art of making sense of complexity,” he said, and illustrated the challenges by drawing parallels between the medical doctor of today and the doctor of just 30 years ago, who had a more limited data set and fewer options at his disposal.

We’ve changed the dynamics of decision making, he explained, and we need people who can act socially, not just operationally. Who are analysts, not collectors of data. And who are comfortable with uncertainty.  “What we want experts to do is to occupy structural holes in the decision making process that a machine can never touch…In the future we are not getting rid of human judgement. We are much more in need of human judgement than ever before.”

What we want experts to do is to occupy structural holes in the decision making process that a machine can never touch… In the future we are not getting rid of human judgement. We are much more in need of human judgement than ever before.

I hope you were able to attend this inspiring discussion. The Innovation Super Session series is one of the programs you can’t benefit from unless you’re here, so be sure to join us next year in person if you couldn’t make it to Orlando!

Tuesday highlights

The envelope please: our CMO Tim Minahan announced the winner of the Citrix Innovation Award just before Malcolm Gladwell took the stage, and I’m so proud to recognize SCL Health, which won both the popular vote and the expert panel vote with over 5,000 votes cast. SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of people and communities. Their $2.5 billion health network aspires to provide comprehensive, coordinated care through 13 hospitals in three states – Colorado, Kansas and Montana. This prestigious award has recognized our most forward-thinking customers for more than a decade, and we are delighted to see how our customers move their companies forward with Citrix solutions. Watch their inspiring story here.

Our interactive sessions—including Match.Geek, Meet the Experts and Hot Topics—have been a hot ticket all week. It’s no surprise, since you told us you wanted more of these: we even had to move some to bigger rooms to accommodate the interest! It’s clear how valuable your conference feedback is and how we are always refining the conference in response; please remember to take the post-event survey on Thursday. One of the most anticipated and most-attended interactive sessions so far was Jacob Morgan’s session, SYN716: The experiential organization: why organizations that focus on employee experience crush those that don’t. Some of the others include:

SYN201 Hot Topics Roundtables (with Adam Gamble, Carl Behrent, Dan Kennedy, Daniel Schlimme, Greg Tiber, Jim Dirkes, Jonathan Pitre, Ryan Gallier, Tim Riegler and Walter Scott)

SYN404 Hot Topics Fireside Chat—ShareFile Desktop Tools: how to choose the right tool for the job

SYN707 Meet the Experts—Build a robust security framework in the age of hospital smartrooms and IoT

There are still a few seats available with some of our geeks in the Match.Geek program, and you may be able to fly standby if your favorite geek is already booked. Just go to the session you would like to attend and wait in line; seats revert to standby 10 minutes before each session and will be filled on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Looking ahead: Innovation Super Session

Tomorrow, you will not want to miss our second Innovation Super Session as we welcome former U.S. Secretary of State Gen. Colin L. Powell. He is now is a strategic adviser at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and serves on the board of directors of Bloom Energy, an alternative energy company that provides unique on-site power generation systems utilizing an innovative new fuel cell technology. In March of 2014, he joined the board of directors of Salesforce.com. General Powell will talk about cybersecurity threats and the need for leaders within government and corporations to come together as the first line of defense. We’ll be back in West Hall D for this exciting presentation tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. ET.

Up next: Diversity in Technology

By the time you read this, I’ll be at the Diversity in Technology networking event, Making Ordinary Teams Extraordinary: Why it Pays to Tap the Power and Potential of Your Team. Diversity strategist and author Lenora Billings-Harris lays down practical and actionable insights on how diversity plays a big role in success and fuels high-performing teams. Diversity, and leveraging the power of difference, is a major topic of discussion in global companies, and I’m looking forward to hearing Lenora’s perspective. If you’re able to join me, it’s in the Tangerine Ballroom on West Concourse, Level II.

I’m updating my feed with news as it happens, so be sure to follow me on Twitter: @merisummers.

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