The article is really quite a nice set of examples of how innovation can be driven by customers and achieved by artful incrementalism and cross-pollination:
The article goes on to quote Yours Truly advocating collusion:
...because NI Week brings together a large group of LabView's most loyal users, [Omid] Sojoodi, a senior group manager, and [Aljosa] Vrancic, a principal engineer, use it to get feedback on what they've done and what they might do next.
"We'll have closed-door sessions with our power users and talk about some of our products in development," Sojoodi said. "We target our power users, and they really help shape some of the more specific features we add."
Scott Jordan will be one of the more than 2,000 people expected to come to Austin for NI Week. He's director of nanopositioning at Physik Instrumente-USA and one of National Instruments' earliest customers.
Jordan will head a panel called "Breakthrough Innovation" on Wednesday, discussing different ways people have applied National Instruments' technologies. Those sort of interactions make NI Week an annual stop, he said.
"There's a chance to interact, to collide and to collude with your fellow LabView users, and that's huge," he said. "There's nothing like that anywhere else in the industry."
...Actually, I'm not heading the panel, just one o' the guys, but I'll do my best to help make it hop.
The point is: after a good conference, one walks away with (among other things) the germs of new ideas, new ways of doing things, new perceptions on market needs and trends, new contacts with bright folks who can help you do things with a new twist. Played right, those can propel exploration and development in unanticipated directions.