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Microsoft’s Schuster: Your Idea Might Be the Next Big Thing

Microsoft's Gavriella Schuster Keynote CP Expo

(Pictured above: Microsoft’s Gavriella Schuster on stage at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, April 19.)

Transformation is exciting and challenging; yet, for many partners, it can be a struggle.

For those willing to make bold moves – especially moves based on seemingly crazy ideas – it’s a dynamic time to be a partner. Adapting, changing and executing your vision is the path to the next big thing.

That’s the expertise Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft’s global channel chief and Channel Partner Influencer of the Year award winner, shared with partners in her keynote at last week’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo.

Partners happen to be in the right place at the right time in history to be bold, Schuster said, to take crazy ideas and run with them.

“We are in the midst of a revolution – the Fourth Industrial Revolution – that will change and is fundamentally changing the way we live, work and interact with each other,” Schuster told the audience. “Times like this require bold leaders, bold leaders that take bold actions against a bold vision for the future.”

She highlighted what a bold vision looks like and how technology can make the world a better place.

Seeing AI is a talking camera app for those with visual impairment. The free Microsoft app, available in 35 countries, harnesses the power of AI to describe people, text, currency, color and objects to people who are blind or visually impaired. It grew out of a bold idea from the personal experience of Saqib Shaikh, a Microsoft developer who is visually impaired, and a team that was part of a Deep Vision Hackathon at Microsoft.

“You can take an idea – a crazy idea – make it real and disrupt an industry … ” Schuster said.

“Anything is possible now. Technology has reached the stage where it is in everybody’s hands,” she said. “The amount of compute power, the storage, the networking, the security — the ability for you to make anything you can imagine real. The ability to take all of the data and put it into machine learning and artificial intelligence — it enables you to take any idea that you have and make it real. And your customers are ready for the change. Industries are changing now.”

She pointed to how the health-care industry is using artificial intelligence and mixed reality for surgical procedures; how the manufacturing industry can do predictive maintenance on equipment thousands of miles away; how Elon Musk is changing the automotive industry using alternative fuel, mixed reality, artificial intelligence — noting that in five years, cars are going to look very different then they do today.

Schuster also said bold ideas do best when you get other people to latch onto them; in other words, ideas need to be socialized.

“You have to start with an idea; you have to give it form and function that people can understand, and then you have to start talking about your idea when it’s about 20 percent baked,” she said.

Don’t wait longer than that, and be flexible; via socialization your idea can grow bigger than you could have imagined.

Schuster tasked the audience to come up with an idea – a crazy idea – and share it with others, then watch how by sharing it with others, it takes shape and builds. She also suggested that attendees take that idea back to their businesses, share it, and get their organizations to socialize it.

“It just may be the next big idea that will elevate your organization has never been before,” she said.


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