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As a company behind the networks reshaping our world, there are some things you can do that others can’t. One is to flex your muscle to bring big thinkers to the table. Another is to stand aside and listen to what they have to say.

At NEST 2013 in Miami, Ericsson did both, hosting an invite-only event headlined by heavy hitters like Jimmy Wales, Robin Chase, Forrest Whitaker and Don Tapscott. The topic? How the megatrends of urbanization and connected technologies are changing everything – from the ways we move and shop to our most basic concepts of privacy and democracy – and how network operators can lead the way.

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Focusing on a higher purpose 
Needless to say, the ideas were big. Like using car sharing services to cut car ownership by 90%. Or designing entire cities as a service, where everything we need to know and do is instantly accessible. But beyond all the talk was a clear purpose: to set the stage of possibilities and urge ICT leaders to take greater responsibility for the massive social changes they’re unleashing around the world.

Not an Ericsson logo in sight
For brand-builders like ourselves, something else stood out – namely, the fact that there was never a single Ericsson logo in sight. The three-day event, almost entirely free of chest-thumping self-promotion, was exactly what a “thought leadership forum” should be: stage, a big vision and a hefty mix of unscripted, inspiring discussions.

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What’s next?
To pull it all off while taking a backseat to your customers, well, that takes a lot of class. As long as Ericsson’s the host, we can’t wait to see what comes next.

A big thanks to Patrik, Erik, Jeremy, Urban, Gunilla and Mats for including us in this fantastic project. And to Dodi for putting up with us for a few days. Love you guys.

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