Strangely, at a time when the usually conservative Gartner research outfit is talking more about how businesses and organizations shouldn't so quickly rule out bleeding edge technologies, there's one group of people that's noticeably missing from the event's agenda: the innovators that are bleeding that edge.
For example, I haven't seen any of the leading "2.0" revolutionaries here nor are any due to get up on stage. Tomorrow's keynote "MasterMind Session" is with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer. The next day is Cisco's John Chambers, and the day after that is Intel's Paul Ottelini. They're all companies whose most recent "innovations" have come by way of acquisition or reaction to innovation taking place elsewhere. Microsoft has, of course been completely kept on its toes by Google. The way Cisco gets hip is through acquisition. And Intel's most significant moves as of late have followed AMD's lead. At the very least, the absence of the revolutionaries seems to be a bit of a disconnect to me given how Gartner's analysts are now talking about embracing the bleeding edge.
Who should Gartner be marching up on stage for their keynote sessions? Well, given the way Gartner's head of research Peter Sondergaard was talking about the digerati that everyone must be quick to embrace, how about guys like del.icio.us inventor Joshua Schacter or wiki inventor Ward Cunningham? Or maybe Flickr founder Caterina Fake, StrikeIron founder Bob Brauer, or Wordpress' Matt Mullenweg. JotSpot's Joe Kraus comes to mind as does my colleague Martin Green who has been leading CNET's charge to embrace consumerization in both it's legacy services as well as it's new ones (who wouldn't want Mike Arrington to say their company is getting its groove on). Or what about Mike Arrington himself? These are just some of Peter Sondergaard's so-called "digital natives" that get "it" and if there's anybody who understands the power of consumerization and how the 6,000 people here should be thinking about it, it should be them or their contemporaries. Not just Ballmer, Chambers, and Ottelini.