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6 lessons from day two at Dreamforce

The day’s programming focused heavily on the role of every person and business in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the impact of digital transformation on commerce, sales, retail and more. Here’s what we learnt.

On day two of Dreamforce ’19 we heard from UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Richard Curtis CBE (did you know he started Red Nose Day? There’s lesson one in the bag), Project Everyone Co-Founder Gail Gallie, media maven Arianna Huffington, Thankyou co-founders Daniel and Justine Flynn, Good Return’s Cathy Sowden, and our own Parker Harris and Bret Taylor during the seventh annual True to the Core customer forum. 

The day’s programming focused heavily on the role of every person and business in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the impact of digital transformation on commerce, sales, retail and more. Here’s what we learnt.

1. AI plays a crucial role in productivity and customer success

There’s tremendous excitement about artificial intelligence (AI) and its role in digital transformation, but there’s also confusion about how to get started. At the Einstein Keynote, Leave a Nest Co., Ltd Chief Information Officer Joji Yoshida, State Street Global Advisors Global Director of Sales Enablement Tools and Analytics Jessica DeLeo, and members of our Einstein AI team discussed implementing and adopting AI to achieve a single view of the customer.

“It all starts with a question – one that makes sense for your business,” said Marco Casalaina, Salesforce VP Einstein Products. “Which opportunity is going to close? Which students are in danger of dropping out? Will my email be opened or not?” 

With AI baked into Customer 360, employees can have the answers to become more productive and effective, and to provide superior customer experience.

2. Health and wellness are key to achieving potential

In a refreshing chat between Thrive Global Founder and CEO Arianna Huffington, and Salesforce Chairman and Co-CEO Marc Benioff, Dreamforce attendees took a break from technology to talk about wellness. Since its founding in 2016, Thrive Global’s mission has been to eradicate the stress and burnout epidemic – or, as Huffington calls it “civilisation’s disease”. She explained to the audience that 90% of healthcare problems and costs are lifestyle-, behaviour- and stress-related.

“There’s so much suffering in the world that we cannot immediately solve,” she said. “But this is something we can solve simply by changing the collective delusion that to succeed we have to burn out.” 

Huffington and Benioff shared their views on meditation, breath and spirituality. And in a grounding moment, Benioff spoke about needing to pause ahead of the opening keynote on Tuesday to collect himself and process Monday’s emotional memorial for former board member Bernard Tyson.

3. To address the SDGs, we must first focus on trust

How will we achieve our SDGs without repairing the trust crisis that currently exists in the world? In an enlightening panel led by South African TV and Radio Broadcaster Tumelo Mothotoane, we heard from leading voices for peace and equality including Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Secretary General of World YMCA Carlos Madjri Sanvee, and UN Secretary-General’s Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals Eddie Ndopu about how we can rebuild trust to create a better world. 

Currently, there’s a profound lack of trust — especially among young people — in our institutions and systems of government. “Trust makes the world easier. When we go into things trusting, we get things done,” explained Ndopu. “It’s difficult to build really extraordinary things if we don’t have trust. It’s important we open ourselves up and be receptive.”  

Yo-Yo Ma quoted Marc Benioff’s new book Trailblazer by reminding the audience “values create value”. 

“If you don’t have values,” Ma said, “you wave around something that’s shiny, but empty.”

4. New Trailhead features help learners transform their lives

Today’s Trailhead Keynote felt more like a homecoming, with audience members donning golden hoodies, waving at one another from across the aisles, and greeting each other with big hugs. VP Trailhead Marketing Kris Lande discussed the importance of Trailhead as a tool to reskill the workforce. While VP Trailhead Content Chris Duarte introduced new features to help maximise learning:

  • Trailhead LIVE: videos of expert-led certification classes
  • Trailhead Go app in partnership with Apple for iOS 
  • A new Amazon Web Services certification partnership 
  • The opportunity to earn college credit with Southern New Hampshire University 

We also heard how Accenture piloted myTrailhead to reskill employees, customers, and partners, and saw the supportiveness of the Trailblazer community in the Trailblazer stories shared by Lauren Zolp, who was presented with her golden hoodie, and Daniel Gorton, the Salesforce admin who told us he sees Trailblazers as his extended family.

5. Business will be a major mover of progress in the world

The business of business is to improve the state of the world. That was the main topic of conversation at ‘The $12 Trillion Opportunity Behind the SDGs’. As Film Writer, Director and UN SDG Advocate Richard Curtis explained, “There was a thing called corporate social responsibility, but we are shifting now into a time of responsible social corporations.”

Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and Actress, Director, Philanthropist and Co-Owner of Pour Le Femmes Robin Wright reiterated the exponential impact we can make on the world if we each adopt just one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Wright, who founded her socially conscious sleepwear company three years ago to give women in conflict areas new opportunities, discussed how she uses business and technology to increase her impact. “We need Salesforce to scale our business,” she said. “It’s all interconnected.” The panel closed with a warm but urgent reminder that we all have homework to do in 2020 when it comes to making progress against the SDGs. “Business will be the major mover of major progress in the world,” Curtis said. “Not politicians; they’re too short term.”

6. Aussies build amazing things

Justine and Daniel Flynn, Co-Founders of Thankyou, chatted with Salesforce VP and GM Public Sector and Healthcare APAC Barry Dietrich in a Salesforce Live session in the afternoon. 

In a wide-ranging discussion of the Thankyou journey so far, Daniel and Justine shared insights into the benefits of starting out with a naivety about business and a real beginner’s mindset – watch the discussion on Salesforce Live.

Catch up! Stream a selection of the day’s sessions at Salesforce Live.

Salesforce Staff

The 360 Blog from Salesforce teaches readers how to improve work outcomes and professional relationships. Our content explores the mindset shifts, organizational hurdles, and people behind business evolution. We also cover the tactics, ethics, products, and thought leadership that make growth a meaningful and positive experience.

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