Archived Event


2017 LEF Study Tour – Re-architecting for a Smarter World


In the world of the matrix, everything is increasingly connected via the Cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT).  IoT creates massive potential flows of data (one plane journey can throw off one Terabyte of data, for example), and different types and levels of real-time activity, and the need for anti-fragility.  Smart companies, government agencies, ecosystems, cities and nations will be powered by big data.  New threat vectors are emerging.  Vendors are jostling for position in the IoT platforms and Cloud platform space.  New economic and business models are emerging.  Our organizations need to become intelligent clients of, and players in, this evolving matrix. 

On this study tour, we will look at a wide array of small and large players who are helping reshape the fabric of the matrix, and helping organizations exploit it for advantage.

Our tours are designed to help you and your organization improve your understanding of emerging technologies, not just in terms of their capabilities and likely impact, but also the skills, experience, and digital leadership you will need to take advantage of these developments.  We hope you can join us on what we think will be one of our most important tours ever.

Review the full agenda listed and register early to avoid disappointment!


“Amazon “Madrona “A16z” “GE” “Intel” “Hitachi


Because we think our Study Tours are a unique learning experience (view the video clip). But don’t just take our word for it – see what attendees have said after previous Tours:


  • “I would like to thank you and your colleagues for providing such a stimulating and exciting vision for us to engage with.  The time I spend with LEF is the time I feel most alive at work and it gives me renewed hope and enthusiasm to go back and fight the hard won inches.”

  • “We send two people each year on the LEF Study Tour and it consistently serves to both stoke the innovative flames already burning in some and ignite sparks of new possibilities in others.  We enjoy the challenge of keeping up with the participants upon their return to an industry environment in significant need of innovation and disruptive thought.”  

  • “The LEF Study Tour is always for me and my organization a great source of inspiration to think (and once home, act) differently about developments, products and services in the IT market.  The discussions and interactions with the host companies, LEF staff, and last but not least, the 30+ group members, provide a deeper insight in the forces acting in the IT market.”

  • “As ever, the highlight of the work year.  Informative and great fun.  Excellent networking and great to be able to spend a week in the company of so many like minds.”

  • “Superb event.  A week with peers from different industries provides unique insight and value far beyond what would be achieved reading and alone.”

  • “Great tour!  Seeing the difference between the large incumbents and smaller more nimble firms.”

  • “Overall, an excellent tour – very well organized.  I felt very welcome and the standard of client service (from LEF) was very high.  The tour itself was thought-provoking, and networking with fellow attendees was also good.”

Dave Aron

Global Research Director
Leading Edge Forum

Dave Aron, based in the UK, is Global Research Director for Leading Edge Forum.  In this position, he guides a series of global research initiatives aimed at helping CIOs and other Business/ IT leaders reimagine their organizations and leadership for a tech-driven future. Dave is the author of our 2017 reports, Unleashing Digital Talent for Fun and Profit and Winning in the 21st Century - A User's Guide.

Dave’s key areas of research include digital business, strategy and new business models.  Previously, Dave spent more than 12 years at Gartner, as a Gartner Fellow, focusing on strategy and CIO leadership issues.  Dave has more than 30 years’ experience in the IT business, and has been writing, speaking and teaching on digital business, IT strategy and other topics around the world for more than a decade.

Dave holds a BSc in Computer Science from Queen Mary College, and an MBA from London Business School.

Dave's alter ego is Mu, The 21st Century Anti-Strategist, which comprises Dave's distilled thoughts about what doesn't make sense as 20th century organizations sleepwalk into the 21st century.

Glen Robinson

Emerging Technology Director and Distinguished Engineer
Leading Edge Forum

Glen Robinson is an Emerging Technology Advisor for Leading Edge Forum. 

Glen’s main focus of research is leading edge Enterprise technology solutions that will power the 21st century businessHe is the co-author of our research publication The Renaissance of the IT Organization. The cloud has unlocked innovation that is now allowing the next wave of disruptive technology solutions to come to market, and whilst businesses are still working out how best to maximize the value from cloud services, they are now aware of ‘the Matrix’, this advanced sensing, deciding, all-seeing, global force that will be a significant threat to some.  But others will learn to understand it, to harness its power, giving them and those around them super-powers.  Put simply, we are moving into a time where our own capabilities will be augmented by that of powerful, intelligent robots.  A lot of the tasks we do today won’t exist tomorrow as they will be fully automated but also watched over and governed by advance cognitive intelligence.  The interface into this world is moving away from the screen on our device, to the world around us becoming an interactive physical and digital experience, which will be responsive to our needs.  

As consumer expectations leapt forward with the adoption of the internet, so too is it about to leap forward once more now the Matrix is upon us.  This will change the way we service our customers, deal with our employees and live and do business in the 21st century.  

Simon Wardley

Leading Edge Forum

Simon Wardley, based in the UK, is a Researcher for Leading Edge Forum and the lead practitioner for Wardley Maps advisory service helping clients anticipate market and ecosystem developments.

Simon’s focus is on the intersection of IT strategy and new technologies, and he is the author of multiple reports including Clash of the Titans – Will China Dethrone Silicon Valley?  where he assesses the hi-tech challenge from China and what this means to the future of global technology industry competition. His previous research covers topics including Of Wonders and Disruption,  The Future is More Predictable Than You Think - A Workbook for Value Chain MappingBeware of Geeks Bearing Gifts: Strategies for an Increasingly Open EconomyLearning from Web 2.0 and A Lifecycle Approach to Cloud Computing.

Simon is a seasoned executive who has spent the last 15 years defining future IT strategies for companies in the FMCG, Retail and IT industries.  From Canon’s early leadership in the cloud computing space in 2005 to Ubuntu’s recent dominance as the #1 Cloud operating system.

As a geneticist with a love of mathematics and a fascination in economics, Simon has always found himself dealing with complex systems, whether it’s in behavioural patterns, environmental risks of chemical pollution, developing novel computer systems or managing companies.  He is a passionate advocate and researcher in the fields of open source, commoditization, innovation, organizational structure and cybernetics.

Simon is a regular presenter at conferences worldwide, and has been voted as one of the UK's top 50 most influential people in IT in recent Computer Weekly polls.



Start: 23 Sep 2017 09:00
Finish: 29 Sep 2017 17:00

Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle
Grand Hyatt Hotel, San Francisco


Places on the tour are limited.  The tour has been sold out for the past five years so we encourage you to book early.  If you wish to reserve a place or have additional questions, please register online above or contact Jane Kingston at or by telephone on +44 (0)7768 643936.


Based on our experience of previous study tours, we expect that most delegates will wish to arrange their own travel to and from the United States. 


The fee for participating in the tour is £5,300 plus VAT (or $6,800) for clients and £7,750 plus VAT (or $9,900) for non-clients of Leading Edge Forum. This fee covers:

  • Accommodation (room and breakfast) for six nights, from Sunday 24 to Thursday 28 September inclusive
  • Reception and social events on Sunday
  • Travel between Seattle and San Francisco
  • Travel to all host companies during the week
  • Reception and dinner on Wednesday evening
  • All costs incurred by us in organizing the tour

In the event of you cancelling either your own or your partner’s registration, you will be liable for any cancellation costs that may be incurred by Leading Edge Forum.  If you cancel your registration and your place on the tour cannot be allocated to another delegate, please understand no refund may be payable.