CES® is "the world's gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years—the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.” CES® 2019 was held from January 8 to 12 in Las Vegas, and on January 24, the NACD Northern California Chapter held our third annual program moderated by Maureen Conners, board director of Fashion Incubator SF and former board director of Deckers Brands (NYSE: DECK). Maureen discussed the trends we should be thinking about and the questions we should be asking as directors in the year ahead. She also discussed insights from her NACD Directorship article, "The Innovation Era's Implications for Boards."
In addition to Ms. Conners, Robin Raskin, CEO of Living in Digital Times and board trustee of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation, the organization that runs CES®; and John Hotta, board director of FIRST Washington Robotics, Kaiser Permanente Washington Advisory Board member, and NACD Master Class teacher on innovation and disruption also joined in the conversation.
Our panelists spoke about the potential strategic impacts of several important innovations and global technologies, including 5G, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, retail tech, voice, digital money, health care, robots, and self-driving cars. We concluded with a Peer Exchange Session during which board directors discussed what this all means for their boards. Each group focused on a different question and shared their observations with the whole group.
Key takeaways to bring back to your boardroom included:
New technologies that could disrupt industries and impact shareholder value
Some of the strategic opportunities and risks accompanying these technologies
The key questions directors should be asking at each board meeting
How boards should prepare to answer questions about these issues for proxy and shareholder communications
Board Director, Fashion Incubator SF and NACD Northern California Chapter; Former Board Director, Deckers Brands (NYSE: DECK)
Maureen Conners is the CEO of Conners Consulting and a board director at Fashion Incubator SF. She is a former board director at Deckers (NYSE: DECK, makers of Ugg) and a mentor for retail start-ups at Plug and Play Tech Center and The Silicon Valley BeautyTech Accelerator. She is a visionary leader and former executive at Gillette (P&G), Levi's, and Mattel, where she helped build iconic, world-class brands, launched many new products, and helped increase shareholder value. Conners advises CEOs and boards on strategy and new technologies for increasing global revenue growth. Her article on The Innovation Era's Implications for Boards was recently published in NACD Directorship magazine. She is a speaker on the topic of new technologies and their strategic impact. Her recent talks have been at CES, Deloitte’s Board Director Symposium, NACD board events, the High-Tech Retailing Summit, the Ecommerce Retail Summit, the Wearable Technologies Conference, and the Newco Event on Fashion, Retail, and Tech. She has an MBA from Wharton and attended the Stanford Directors' College Program, and she also serves on the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board and the NACD Northern California Chapter Board.
CEO, Living in the Digital Times; Board Trustee, Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation, the Organizer of CES
Robin Raskin is founder and CEO of Living in Digital Times and is on the Board of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation (CTA is the organization that runs the Consumer Electronics Show [CES]). She is a visionary thought leader, conference and event leader, speaker, and author who has been helping people understand tech and is at the forefront of what it means to be digital today. Raskin has been a speaker at NACD’s Global Summit for the past two years, helping board directors understand some of today’s key tech and discussing important trends.
Living in Digital Times produces a number of notable conferences and expos at CES and at conferences and events worldwide, including The Last Gadget Standing, The Digital Money Forum, High Tech Retail, The Digital Health Summit, Fitness Tech Summit, Kids@Play Summit, FashionWare, and others. These conferences cover the latest innovations at the intersection of technology and ever-changing lifestyles. Currently, Raskin writes for Huffington Post and was previously editor of PC Magazine. She is often called upon as a technology expert for TV and media.
Board Director, FIRST Washington Robotics and NACD Northern California Chapter; Board Member, Kaiser Permanente Washington Advisory; and NACD Master Class Teacher on Innovation and Disruption
John Hotta is a corporate board director (independent director). He has expertise in technology and has served on board advisory committees. The Financial Times named Hotta as one of the Agenda Digital 50. He began his career conducting artificial intelligence research at the RAND Corporation and in technology leadership roles at Microsoft, Accenture, and AT&T. He teaches NACD Master Class sessions on innovation and disruption for public company directors and has provided guidance as part of NACD Board Advisory Services. He has also earned designations as an NACD Board Leadership Fellow and Governance Fellow.
Hotta serves on the boards of the Seattle Foundation, FIRST Washington Robotics, the NACD Northern California Chapter, Kaiser Permanente Washington (Advisory Committee), and, previously, Swedish Healthcare and Martha Graham. He has expertise in technology, mergers and acquisitions, and operations. His firm, Capital Expert Services, helps board members and C-level leaders change their organizations and culture to optimize technology and unleash innovation. Hotta is an active leader in the Digital Directors Network for technology directors and Ascend Pinnacle for Asian corporate directors.