En Route to a New Era

Photo of Mary Gilbert

 “The crucial point in the narrative is that we are at sea and are never given the slightest insight into where the product is going or who has commissioned it. It is simply en route.”  - Adrian Paci, The Column 

I stumbled upon this quote while visiting The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark in July. This stunning gallery boasts one of the world’s most thought-provoking collections of modern art. The Paci quote caught my eye and I was struck by the theme of creating something from a blank canvas, while at sea, with a team of people who’ve never worked together, in a foreign place, on a deadline. It felt like a metaphor for my career.

I graduated with a degree in music, but growing up as a child of academics, had always harbored a secret fascination for the world of business. Following that fascination after college, I was drawn to the opportunities in the emerging technology industry. Immersed in the burgeoning digital world, I was fortunate to be able to help bring many new technologies to market. I contributed to many of the things that today we take for granted, like GIS software (the underpinnings of our Google Maps dependency), the Mac II, Office and Adobe products, and 100 and 1000 MB Ethernet. I spent a lot of time helping engineering-driven organizations learn how to engage regular people in technology and I was lucky to work with amazing talent while we learned, taught, and transformed the ways that people engaged with the world around them. Literally “en route” to the reality of today, I thought the pace of work and rate of change was incredible.

Fast-forward to 2016 and we’re still “en route.” The opportunity for meaningful work – especially for consultants – is even more exciting. Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, has outlined the challenges of this 4th wave of the industrial revolution (the digital effect) as follows:

  • Velocity, scope, and systems impact are disrupting almost every industry.
  • Growing transparency, consumer engagement, and new patterns of consumer behavior force companies to adapt the way they design, market, and deliver products and services.
  • Talent, more than capital, will represent the critical factor of production.

I feel so blessed to have this career at this stage in our collective evolution – and we’re still “en route.” The first half of my career defined itself as I followed my love of people, adventure, and technology. I’m designing the other half to share what I’ve learned with the new generation of leaders navigating this exciting global space.

I love being a consultant helping businesses build new muscle and solve hard problems. What I see in Caiman is a new breed of consulting firm with an incredible range of talent and capability, and without the bureaucracy that no longer serves this business environment. Caiman blends the discipline and service-orientation of traditional consulting with a culture that empowers talent to help clients explore uncharted territory, build new muscle, and see results fast. The people on my team are delightfully innovative, productive, and fun, and represent the best of our new workforce. The projects they are leading for eBay and Facebook are some of the most challenging for marketers in any industry. I’m thrilled to be “en route” with this team and excited to learn, and to help shape the next wave of business together.