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The Tech Garden

CenterState CEO Annual Meeting: Disrupt the Status Quo

CenterState CEO’s Annual Meeting explored the theme of Disrupt: Challenge the Status Quo, an exciting and timely concept as the region looks to capitalize on the unprecedented investments and opportunities on the horizon.

Travis Mason, a leading innovator at X, formerly Google[x], presented the meeting’s keynote address. For the last five years, Mason—a graduate of Syracuse University—has focused on Google’s most innovative work in autonomous technology, such as self-driving cars, and renewable energy innovations, such as airborne wind turbines.

Keynote speaker Travis Mason of X, formerly Google[x], discusses five principles that disrupt the status quo.

He shared his perspective on how companies can use forward looking disruptions and innovations to become leaders in their field, and excel in a highly-competitive environment. Mason provided an inspiring message to the audience to think big about how disruption can positively impact their own industries and communities.

“History reminds us that not all change is growth - when the pressure to change tightens it’s easy for us to do the right thing in the wrong way,” said Mason. “The secret to great innovation is not a world class product but a world class process. Breakthrough ideas are born when innovators aren’t afraid to be wrong, humble and nimble.”

Mason shared five key questions to consider when one intends to disrupt the status quo: Are we willing to reverse our assumptions?; Do we have an unlikely team?; Are we thinking small to win big?; Is our song in tune?; Are we being humble enough?


Five Principles that Disrupt the Status Quo – Travis Mason, X

Are we willing to reverse our assumptions?
Disruptions involve removing the deeply held beliefs in our own industries.

Do we have an unlikely team?
The more game-changing the disruption, the more diverse a team must be.

Are we thinking small to win big?
Little bets help us move forward to better ends.

Is our song in tune?
Efforts to change require constant tuning. Communication is key to translating your message to everyone.

Are we being humble enough?
Many leaders are capable, but not all are humble. Truly great leaders are both.

Watch Travis Mason’s Keynote Address on YouTube.


Like businesses, communities also have much to gain from disruptive strategies. CenterState CEO President Robert Simpson called on those in attendance to disrupt the factors that create a cycle of economic stagnation and fully seize the wealth of opportunities available to the region through the CNY Rising plan. He challenged the region to be willing to take risks and act collaboratively to confront critical issues like poverty, government modernization and transformative infrastructure projects.

CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson challenges the audience to reject the status quo and capitalize on the region’s opportunities.

“Today our region is at a major turning point; the current challenges and opportunities before us are a provocation to do better,” said Simpson. “This requires stakeholders and partners across the community to be equally involved in the outcomes. We all have a vested interest in a better future. As a community we must reject the status quo and be willing to put in the hard work necessary to achieve true regional prosperity.”

More than 1,000 business and community leaders attended the meeting held at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center at Oncenter, in Syracuse. The event also unveiled CenterState CEO’s Business of the Year Award winners in five categories. See details here.

Read CenterState CEO’s 2016 Annual Report here.

More than 1,000 attendees engage and connect before the start of CenterState CEO’s Annual Meeting.