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How your feedback is shaping this year’s me Convention

As we set up the me Convention display at SXSW 2019 in Austin, we stepped back and admired the result of countless hours of work from our designers, builders, a string artist and the rest of our team. The bright-colored strings popped against the stark black background, and it was certainly eye-catching. But at events like these, there’s always a split-second of doubt: Will we have enough visitors? Will they understand what we’re asking?! Happily, our worries were completely unfounded. Day after day, people lined up to get in, the team tirelessly welcomed everyone, thousands of photos captured the memories, and most importantly, we gathered an enormous amount of feedback on the skills of tomorrow that matter most to YOU.

Empathy is leading skill of the future

By picking colored strings representing eight different skills, we asked our visitors to weave their way through our installation and answer questions about what they thought were the most important skills for building a better future. At the end of SXSW, you had some clear favorites! Our visitors ranked the skills in the following order:

Empathy:
to understand and relate to others

Divergent Thinking:
to tackle new and unexpected challenges

Ethical Leadership:
to elevate essential human values

Critical Thinking:
to make sound decisions

Multidisciplinary Collaboration:
to reveal new possibilities and solutions

Community Building:
to achieve greater things together

Purpose-driven Entrepreneurship:
to contribute to social and environmental change

Data Literacy:
to understand how and why data is collected

They also gave us some valuable insight into why they made these choices. When asked why empathy is so important, one visitor replied: “Because if we were all conscious of everyone else, we would be able to fully connect and understand.” Divergent thinking earned the second spot, with another visitor telling us: “We need new ideas. This means thinking differently and not being afraid to be vulnerable.” Ethical leadership came in third place, with a visitor explaining: “We need ethical leadership to ensure that new tech and ideas are used to advance freedom and to build a better world.”

Connecting skills to a visual and our program

There are two different ways these skills and your feedback will be reflected at the 2019 me Convention. The first is our visual branding. When you watch our videos and animations, look out for our “exploding” graphics. The final eight-sided geometric shape is directly related to how you ranked the eight skills. The irregular sides each represent one of the skills – so the smallest side is data literacy, while the largest is empathy.

Want a closer look at what we mean? Watch this video and keep your eye on the geometric shape in the final frame!

The visual is a bit of fun for all of you in our inner circle, but you’ll also see the skills coming back in this year’s program in Frankfurt. The themes of the 2019 me Convention are business, society, science and the planet, and our eight skills have a role to play in each of these areas. For example, empathy is required for everything from creating more inclusive communities to challenging businesses to reconsider their priorities. And critical thinking will help us navigate the rapid-paced scientific and technological developments and make difficult decisions about what’s best for people and the planet.

No matter which skill means the most to you, they will all help us define what we want the future to look like, and get a few steps closer to making it happen. We can’t wait to welcome you to our conference in September to share our skills and build new ones as we work together to #createthenew.

Disclaimer: The views of me Convention speakers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of either Mercedes-Benz and/or SXSW.