ZIW 2016 Tour – First Stop, California
Now that the sun has set on another Zuken Innovation World annual conference held on beautiful Coronado Island, California USA, I thought I’d recap the event for those who weren’t able to attend and for others looking to get a taste of what’s to come at the other ZIW 2016 events taking place in the coming months. The pillars or our annual global events are Network, Learn and Innovate – this year year we touched on them all, and we added EAT to that list!
Let’s start with the networking
We’ll get to the good stuff in a bit, but for now, let’s focus on the networking. Right from the start at the welcome reception there was a palpable energy with this group. Maybe it was the sunshine and relaxing atmosphere at the Coronado Marriott Resort & Spa, maybe it was the margaritas, or maybe it was the mingling with colleagues, reuniting with those customers that you only see once a year, and chatting with the Zuken team…we’ll go with that. Whatever it was, this group was a friendly bunch and wasted no opportunity to get to know one another and share what they have in common, be it software, design challenges, or their favorite craft brew.
On the second day participants could mingle with our exhibiting partners to learn more about how their solutions fit into their existing Zuken environment. This year we introduced the Expert Bar where customers could bring their toughest design questions and sit with one of our technical experts to get answers. This was also a great place to go to see some of the newer software features in full action. Expert Bar is a new favorite and you can count on its return next year.
Introducing Zuken University
On the learning front, we shook it up a bit this year and incorporated Zuken University classes into the mix. These classes were geared toward what’s new in the 2016 software releases and really honed in on the how-to with live demos from our technical experts. Classes from customers and third party partners rounded out the agenda to really give participants a broad view of how they can use Zuken’s software in their own environments. And yes, we read the surveys – the classes need to be longer next year – we’ve got it covered, don’t worry! In the meantime, we have incorporated this request into the Zuken University classes at the ZIW event in the UK coming up in October.
We also had the privilege of hosting Jeff Salz as our keynote speaker. Wow – talk about inspirational, this guy was the real deal! He talked about the adventure of change, and while I’m quite sure that although few of us have ever trekked with a Sherpa, many of us were able to apply some of his observations to our personal lives and work circumstances.
Cummins takes award for innovation
When it comes to our third pillar, innovation, I look to the customers who presented over the course of the two-day event sharing details about their own design challenges. Cummins was the recipient of the Zuken Innovation Award, in part for their innovation in the deployment of a modular design methodology. Bill Meyer accepted that award and shared a bit about what the company does and how they use Zuken’s tools.
So I said we’d get to the good stuff…what’s a conference without food? Just like when you host a party at home and everyone gathers in the kitchen, food at a conference brings people together and gets them talking. We talked over coffee and house-made croissants on the breaks, we talked over sandwiches at lunch – and we shouldn’t forget the engaging Birds of a Feather discussions that were going on too. Then we talked more over salads in a jar, meat in a bucket, veggies on a stick and bourbon-doused flaming donut holes at the conference dinner on Wednesday!
Zuken’s 40th anniversary
That old? Life begins at 40 right, and that’s certainly our mantra this year. Zuken was established in 1976 and we’re stronger than ever before. So we’re celebrating all year long – I believe the pictures say it all. Birthday celebrations are on the agenda for all of our ZIW conferences this year so make sure you attend and get a bite of the birthday cake.
ZIW in Europe and Japan June through to October
ZIW America kicked the season off, and now we’re busy preparing for the remainder of the ZIW 2016 conferences around the globe. Don’t miss your chance to be part of these momentous events – find out more here. Next week is Bologna, Italy on June 7th.
Dates for Americas 2017
If you’re already missing the fun, or wishing you hadn’t missed ZIW Americas this year, mark your calendars for April 24-26, 2017 and make plans to join us in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The team will be there ready to meet you and we’ll do it all over again!
If you want to see more pics from this year’s event, click on over to the Zuken Facebook page!