At bb7, in January, we usually send some of our people cross country to the Consumer Electronics Show (better known as CES) in Las Vegas to scout new products and ideas, and find people and companies looking for an innovative partner to help them make their ideas real.

This year, we cannot be there and like the rest of the world, we will only be able to attend a virtual CES. As has been the mantra of the past year – a new normal – it will not be the same. However, one thing does remain: we will see tips of clever icebergs. We will be celebrating problem-solving, cross-functional teams of experts, creativity, new combinations of old technology, and new technology in old combinations. CES will get our tongues wagging and our thoughts churning. We will be inspired. As usual, there will be some disappointments, and there will be some people who focus on what wasn’t there. But all of it, all of that, will leave us open to doing better, making better, designing better and thinking more. And then, hopefully, doing more. The future is here. The future is cool. The future is incredible.

I wish I could have attended this year’s CES because I have always been fascinated by products that meet our needs in new, never-before-thought-of ways. It’s the creativity, the tapping into insights, the synapses of the human brain that excite me and get my own mind wondering and whirring about what “could be.” The future is alluring, exciting and unknown. Seeing these products gives us a taste of that. Like movies that project the future, new technologies allow us to fantasize and feel as if the sky is the limit. I think it also gives us hope that some of the problems that have faced the world to date can be solved. If these cutting-edge technologies can do X, Y, and Z, what else can we come up with to solve other terrific challenges?

This year, more than ever, I think people (particularly those of us in new product development) need CES and events of this nature to help us escape the current pandemic.

What makes CES better than movies about the future, is that these products have actually been made. Someone has found a way so they are no longer just fantasy.

I have always loved the phrase: Standing on the shoulders of giants. I like that we are recognizing that it has taken a community, perhaps generations of people to get to the point we are at in science and technology, etc. What I also like about this phrase is the connection to the people that came before us and the gratefulness we have for them. Some of these great thinkers had so much less than we do now, and yet they were able to accomplish so much. I think that makes me feel very hopeful that we, with so much that we have, particularly here in our privileged America, can do so much and make leaps and bounds in scientific discovery and the products that help people to survive on all levels.

At bb7, we augment products or supercharge them, focusing on customer pain points, and we make our partners’ big ideas into new, fantastic products. It goes without saying that at bb7 we design for manufacturing. We absolutely work in reason, rooted in logic, but we make things that are out of this world, like the things you can see at CES.

It’s fitting that CES happens each year in January. With the start of a New Year, a fresh slate, a feeling of optimism, what better time is there to see these new discoveries unveiled and “gather” to celebrate innovation? We are setting the stage for the next year and for future generations.

Let’s remember, one day, it will be our shoulders and we will be the giants.