The pace of change in today’s world is mind-bogglingly rapid! Technology is driving innovation so fast that no sooner has a notion been imagined, than it has become real. Ideas that seemed far fetched last year are already this year’s mainstream. This explains why it was standing room only for Polly Sumner’s World Tour Keynote in Melbourne last week. The subject at hand was “The Future of Innovation”.

Early on, Polly had some reassurance for those looking for solace:

“Cloud technology enables you to do innovation, and not infrastructure.”

Gone are the days when CIOs are full-time preoccupied by “keeping the lights on”. The lights are always on in the cloud! Now business leaders can focus on how to keep pace with the change all around us. Changes in the way we engage customers. Changes in the way customers want to buy. Changes in the way customers engage with their devices and changes in the what those devices can tell businesses about their customers so they can adapt quickly and on-the-fly.

Polly did mark the fact that Salesforce has once again been recognised by Forbes as one of the most Innovative companies in the world. Second in fact, with a high “Innovation of Premium” of over 77 per cent. Polly stressed how Forbes linked Salesforce’s innovation and its perceived company value. This underlines why we place so much importance on innovation.

First up on stage with Polly was Dr Pradeep Philip, CEO of LaunchVic - a State Government initiative to stimulate the innovative infrastructure of Victoria. Dr Philip set the scene for discussion of a topic that is already at the centre of national debate:

“The Ideas Boom is more than just a hashtag, it is an economic imperative.”

The central showcase of the keynote was the innovation being driven by customers. For example Australia’s largest real estate player, In a captivating demo (you can watch in the video below) we learned how Domain is using 360-degree “immersive” video to help website visitors get a virtual view of properties they might rent or buy.

Polly also explained how the largest brands in the world are using some of the powerful opportunities technology is making possible today:

  • Mattel is using #InternetofThings technology to learn how children are using their toys so they can develop better products for children.

  • Coke is using @SalesforceWave analytics technology to crunch vast amounts of data in real time so actionable insight can be relayed back to its partners about how to improve their businesses.

  • Uber is using the huge data resource its famous app generates to recruit more and more drivers by furnishing them with all the data insights they need to join the ever growing fleet.

A key theme about the direction of all this innovation was: “improving the business of your customer is the business model of the future.” It was a theme reiterated by her colleague, Michael Peachey who also joined her on stage:

"In the 'Age of the Customer' you need to be smarter about how you use #bigdata to understand your customers" @michael_peachey at #SFAPAC

All these themes of insight, intelligence and innovation came together in one powerful fact. While five years ago only 46 per cent of businesses saw customer experience as a differentiator; today 89 per cent see UX as the competitive battle ground. The leading brands are using data and insight to better understand how that battle should be won; and using the latest, cutting edge technology to engineer a victory.

This is what Salesforce’s Customer Success Platform is all about: a platform for innovation where real time insight can be linked directly to dynamic action.

Watch the Keynote HERE.