Recap of VMware Explore Day 2 – Invention vs Innovation


The second day of VMware Explore Singapore has passed, and what a blast it was. For me it was also a different type of day then the first day. The first day of VMware Explore I went into a lot of different sessions and participated in a lot of challenges and labs. Today however, I actually didn’t do that. Sure, I have been in some sessions which I will talk about shortly, but I was actually more focused on getting to know more people. Because simply said, a lot of them had a lot of interesting things to say and to share. Different cultures, different challenges and different focus points.

Different Cultures, Different Challenges

I learned that there are a lot of similarities between the challenges of the companies that I worked for in Europe, but at the same time, there are also a lot of differences.
To give a simple example, SD Wan is a technology which I haven’t seen being used that much in The Netherlands. Sure, there will be some companies that will use them, but the use cases are often quite different. The Netherlands is a tight country with a great infrastructure. The need for SD Wan solutions just doesn’t often apply there. Going to Asia and the pacific, a lot of companies and customers have to deal with Power outages, instability and high latencies between different regions. Besides that, the chance for natural disasters is of course also higher in Asia then in Europe because of the geographic location. In these cases, DR Sites & SD Wan solutions are more often being used and tested, then in the Netherlands. Also, in reference to scale, most companies in Europe are much more compact with their IT Infrastructure than the Enterprises in ASIA or USA. Something I am really grateful for, because it really helped me as a consultant to develop myself much faster. This is because of the fact that I could finish off projects on a high pace and quickly move to new projects and customers. Simply, because the scale and repetition of the same task is just smaller then compared with a big Enterprise. This helped me to learn and adopt new technologies quickly, or implement the same technology more often in different use cases.

With all these great talks and new insights, I was grateful that I gave myself the time to walk around a little and meet new people. Those talks were just as meaningful as a full session in one of the rooms. The big advantage here is, is that the sessions can be rewatched, which cannot be said about meeting and talking to new people. However, from all the sessions of that day, 1 general session that actually sticked with me.

Inventing vs Innovation

One of the sessions that really sticked with me, was a general session were Kit Colbert, the CTO of VMware told a cool story and dropped some brain food. He talked about the differences between innovation & invention. To put it short, Invention is about creating something new, where innovation is about creating impact and change. If innovation is well done, it can literally change the way you value or look at things. The reason that the story sticked with me, is because without even noticing, pursuing innovation and creating impact has been my biggest personal change of the last 4 years. Instead of just implementing new features, technologies and stuff, I’ve been constantly challenging myself, my colleagues and customers with the question, why? With that, I was trying to establish something more then only an implementation of a new product, an impact.

We can keep shoving in new inventions, but if the perception or the way of working doesn’t change, then it becomes just new technology with the same old garbage output (but a little bit more shiny). For an invention to become effective it needs to make a change or an impact. This really resonated with me, because I have seen projects successfully being implemented and executed, only to see almost no change at all. Sometimes, if you look closely, you see that the organization is going trough the same cycles every time again. They follow all the latest trends and technologies, and change a lot of things within the organization. But in the end, they are actually not changing at all. However, whenever I was focused on making a positive change or impact within the organization, it often came paired with beautiful results, feedback and stories.

Asking Myself, What Am I Doing?

With that being said, I also reflected this insight back to myself and my personal life.
The last few years I’ve went through several major changes, but I realize I have to keep asking myself the following difficult question:

“Am Innovating, or just reinventing myself?
Am I making a change & impact within and outside my life,
or am I just doing a lot of stuff, without actually changing anything.”

Alright, I hope you liked this post once again,
and hopefully I see you in the next one.

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