CEO Summit: The disruption assumption

Las Vegas Market hosts second CEO Summit
The theme for the event was innovation and information, but in many ways, it was all about disruption.

During the 2014 Las Vegas Market CEO Summit, held last week at the tail end of the gift and home market week, the topic of disrupting the status quo, as well as generally accepted business practices, formed its central tenet for the audience of around 50 industry executives and those associated with the trade.

The tone was set by keynote speaker Luke Williams, professor of marketing at NYU's Stern School of Business, discussing "Sparking Business Transformation Through Innovation." He urged businesses to "ask a different question" and look to what they could invent, rather than proceed with steady but small incremental gains.

His direction was reinforced by several other speakers during the two-day event. Charles Garcia, former White House aide and expert on marketing to the Hispanic community, spoke on how this segment still represented a vast, untapped market for companies looking to expand.

Vivek Kundra, former U.S. chief information officer, focused his presentation on disruption as well, urging companies to look at their IT departments not just as technical resources but as vehicles for sales, marketing and business expertise.

And HGTV co-founder Susan Packard gave her own case history of inventing a new kind of business where others felt there was no space and too many obstacles to overcome.

All of the speakers were set against a positive economic forecast from Samuel Wardwell, an economist who painted an upbeat picture for both the American and global business climate over the next several years, citing lower unemployment rates, the improving housing market and a more balanced role for the federal government.

The CEO Summit was the second such annual event and was presented by International Market Centers and Eller Enterprises, with company principal Randy Eller acting as emcee for the conference.

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