Book the best events all over the world with EventAdvisor

Event Advisor is optimizing the value of gathering for the 360 million people attending conferences every year!

My POV on Learning and Development is summed up in this mission statement at one of the Startups that I am an advisor for - EventAdvisor is a cross between Yelp and Bookings.com for the Conference Industry, connecting attendees and organizers:

EventAdvisor.com matches professionals with the right business events while optimizing learning for conference attendees, their company, event producers, and the entire industry. 
We deliver custom career advice by sharing peer-generated event assessments and personalized suggestions on your blended journey of career development including online e-learning progress that will be maximized with the essential adaptive, immersive collaboration only face-to-face gathering can provide.

Email me if you want Events to work better:  dcutler@eatmedia.com

FYI - This is another international connection from the very important network of coaches and consultants at Cambridge Innovation Partners.

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"How" to Get Success thru "Collective Action"

As my posse and I have been riding across the wild west of innovation-driven enterprises since before it was an acronym (IDE for those keeping track of TLAs), a few resources have proven consistently helpful. MIT is on the top of that list.

But with the exponential expansion of Technology, it is difficult to keep up with all your best options. So, their MIT Innovation Initiative is at the center of not just MIT, but the very systems and methods for success. See https://innovation.mit.edu 

MITii has databased and assessed it's way to being the hub of innovation. Just check out their "Resources" tab.  Here is a screenshot of the I&E Resource Guide ... see how they deliver the most relevant resources by catering to different profiles and drilling into specific categories of projects, communities, and issues (click to enlarge):

Another section in "Resources" is a list of (very) deep-dive Working Papers on what and, most importantly, HOW to think and act for success.  For those of you familiar with Agile Scrum for software development, a key element is the de-brief or Retrospective, where the team shares what elements are and are not working in their methods, technologies, everything. This "How" is huge for the iteration of optimization.

For an MIT-level example of this, read their Conclusion from MIT’s Stakeholder Framework for Building & Accelerating Innovation Ecosystems (PDF of 28 page report):
The promise of regional innovation ecosystems is manifest: in the unequal world of innovation and entrepreneurship, the returns to strong innovation capacity and strong entrepreneurial capacity – and ways to connect them - are significant. The wealth and prosperity created in successful innovation ecosystems in the US, Europe and beyond are hard to deny. And yet the challenges of reaching a region's full potential are also clear: who should lead, can all stakeholders be brought to the table, how easily can these parties agree on a shared vision of the future and act accordingly?  
This short Working Paper serves as a guide to these efforts, drawing on our research, by emphasizing the important role of all actors in this process and reminding us all that ‘collective action’ among stakeholders is most likely to accelerate the process. We have tried to address the initial puzzle – of why innovation is still so localized, even when the world was supposed to be becoming so flat – and provide advice and options for those who wish to optimize ‘innovation-driven entrepreneurship’ in their specific regions, and build a vibrant innovation ecosystem in their locality. 

Managing "Collective Action" is the hard part... but the most valuable.

Thanks again MIT.


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Re-Building Right With Blockchain


It's not about that Bitcoin ICO Token orgy last year ... blockchain is now being used as the ideal foundation to re-build the awesome digital mess we have created. 
Yes, we should have built the Internet with distributed ledger technology (DLT) transparency and security... but it is here now and being applied by those that understand that "Digital Transformation" is NOT just a buzzword when blockchain is used properly. 
Nuarca is a re-builder. Their studio of system architectects deploy on a platform that is only 20% blockchain ... that's the point. The rest is good old fashioned software development that can now enable exponential flexibility and efficiency - such as lowering the cost of fulfillment for one of their clients by 70%, saving millions of dollars.
CBInsights has a paragraph overview of 55 industries that are transforming by re-building with blockchain. 
How is your market evolving? How is your career? 
See their 47 page deep-dive report as well written as this general overview:
"What began as the basis of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, blockchain technology — essentially a virtual ledger capable of recording and verifying a high volume of digital transactions — is now spreading across a wave of industries.
Blockchain tech has gone far beyond its beginnings in banking and cryptocurrency: In 2019, businesses are expected to spend $2.9B on the technology, up almost 90% from 2018, according to IDC. Industries from insurance to gaming to cannabis are starting to see blockchain applications.
Bitcoin’s popularity helped demonstrate blockchain’s application in finance, but entrepreneurs have come to believe blockchain could transform many more industries. Ultimately, the use cases for a transparent, verifiable register of transaction data are practically endless — especially since blockchain operates through a decentralized platform requiring no central supervision, making it resistant to fraud."
Here is an image that demonstrates how this technology allows a service like Bitcoin to change our mindet about what is possible and think about better peer-to-peer financial methods... click to enlarge:

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Strategic Strategy

It is easy to make fun of Strategy since constant market changes will challenge the most thoughtful plans. "Strategery" is good comedy.

Strategy + Business helps us admit that a great strategy should simply be unique, specific, and complete.

Strategy concepts should stimulate your thinking without substituting for it ... they should enhance your strategy without becoming it.

The key point is that your strategy can evolve but should be at the center of everything you do. The latest buzzword techniques should inspire your options but not distract you from your goals. In the last 50 years we have seen many flavors ... 

In the 1960s and 1970s, the hot concepts were the experience curve, the growth-share matrix, and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. The 1980s gave us five forces, value chain strategy, scenario planning, and total quality management. In the 1990s, business process engineering, customer loyalty, competing for time, competing for the future (core competencies), and growth horizons gained traction. Those ideas were followed by co-opetition, BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals), growth adjacencies, Kanban, and blue oceans in the 2000s. Now we are believers in lean startup, disruptive innovation, digital strategy, transient advantage, and agile. 

I believe what we are learning is to KISS...

Great strategies answer 5 critical questions:
1. What business or businesses should you be in?
2. How do you add value to your businesses?
3. Who are the target customers for your businesses?
4. What are your value propositions to those target customers?
5. What capabilities are essential to adding value to your businesses and differentiating their value propositions?

Reputationism

Of all the isms... let's make Reputationism a compulsion we can be proud of.

The Reputation Institute has been champions of which corporations have the best reputations and how. There should be no need to ask why. Being good is good for business.

Watch their reveal of this year's top 10 companies 

Rolex is still #1. Netflix jumped the highest. Microsoft is back. Uber saved it's sould. Facebook is really lucky they own the market.

What you will learn is this seemingly simple advice ... tell the world about your company as much as you tell/sell them about your products. Share how you are good ethical corporate citizens with an engaged workplace. Easy... right.

Your stories should be about how you are supporting the below 4 circled activities (click to enlarge)... They are: Positive influence on society, Fair in doing business, Ethical, Open and transparent:

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What is Your Milkshake's Job...?

What Jobs are you accomplishing for your prospects? 

Know what they are REALLY trying to accomplish... Watch how Clayton thinks about milkshakes:

 
More from Mr. Innovator's Dilemma about "Jobs To Be Done" here.

Thrv has a platform and process to use JTBD. Check out more about the below list of 11 new ways to think (click to enlarge):

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3:00 Summary for your Digital Strategy

What is your number?... "Only 8% of companies believe their business model will remain economically viable through digitization."

We recently worked with McKinsey when this short video on digital strategy was created. The production is enticing, the content should be inspiring ... and appropriately worrisome and motivating:  

Click here to read details about these 5 pitfalls:
Pitfall 1: Fuzzy definitions
Pitfall 2: Misunderstanding the economics of digital
Pitfall 3: Overlooking ecosystems
Pitfall 4: Overindexing on the ‘usual suspects’
Pitfall 5: Missing the duality of digital



Where are you in this flow? (click to enlarge):



Be Curious





Here are those sales and marketing ideas for CIC and and Venture Cafe events ...




The goal?

To deliver the message about the value of learning in your collaborative workspaces while increasing occupancy of successful tenants in every location around the world... Easy, Right?

Quick Hit: 


The first way to differentiate your value from other workspaces is to have your Community Leaders actively make connections as they ask and hear about needs and opportunities.

Longer Hit:

Question:  What is your real value?... what motivates which tenant prospects and corporate participants?

Like her t-shirt above says, how are you (specifically) "Connecting Innovators to Make Things Happen?"

Most companies need help with company growth ... business development and sales.


I am such a fan CIC/VenCaf that I personally experience the value and can visualize the real potential, more than free beer, to differentiate in the very competitive market for both corporate partners and entrepreneurial tenants... by facilitating bizdev... more specifically techdev for bizdev... even more specifically, a mobile app that puts all the awesomeness of VenCaf in your hands ... to optimize before/during/after events... and the right info at the right time in the specific point in the lifecycle of anyone's project.



 

I believe that corporate sponsors would pool funds and pay for a mobile app that provided an optimized experience for THEIR audience - including prospect sales, business partners (vendors and Startups), their employees, the press, etc.

We are special here. We want to be quantified. We want to iterate and perfect our dreams of a better world. Most of us are not worried about privacy as we validate our ideas. We can lock them down later.

The "M" Word

There are great stories to tell about what you are doing and what is happening. Tell them for yourself. Tell them as part of the PR/Marcom machine we all need.

However, there is a gap in CIC's brand...  I am talking about your Marketing. There, I said it.

So...

Let's create multimedia promotional case studies of successful collaborations between CIC tenants - re-enact and document engagements at scheduled events, random/repeat Venture Cafe meetings, and CIC-facilitated introductions. Leverage bizdev from, as Tim calls it, "The Density"

 4 Elements:

1) Encourage and enable tenants (with an online gallery?) to share stories for community pride and a self-promotion PR machine... while solidifying our desire to stay tenants!

2) Demonstrate that we are here because we recognize the unique benefits of CIC. We are curious and open to learning about options. We raise our hands for help. We help others because givers gain (and learn beyond our core silos). Brand idea = "CIC - Be Curious"

3) Team Support - Community Leaders are CIC's most powerful differentiator to alternative workspaces ... when these awesome people start actively looking for ways to facilitate business solutions for individual tenant needs, CIC's reputation will flourish beyond ALL other options.

4) Connect the connectors - Gather the best CLs and the most zealous advocates already here. They will have great CIC stories and would benefit from showing their participation. Collaborate on ways to harness their ability to help without harassing.

We got some community feedback in a whiteboard session here in the 5th floor Midtown kitchen... I captured a few community conversations about the "CIC Value" and why we are here:

Growth/Revenue for all... Connecting the Density... Community Leaders as Advisors and Connectors ... and the obvious opportunities about all of us being quantified lab rats...




 

The opportunities to leverage are already happening all around us... Let's get meta... and share some awesome "Overheard in the halls of CIC" stories...

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David "More Than a Tenant" Cutler
Managing Director at CreativeChaos.co
One Broadway CIC/Kendall - 
5th Floor - Midtown

Partner Portal - Partners.CreativeChaos.co
617-331-7852  -  dcutler@creativechaos.co
Personal: DavidCutler.net

Who Owns Your Innovation?

About 60 percent of companies are only in their earliest stages of innovation maturity.
Here is a line I just made up ... Startups are on a race against time. Corps are constrained in the rat race. 
Innovation Leader and KPMG surveyed 270 global companies about their corporate innovation. Get the entire report. Below is a summary from Inc.
According to the study, 73% of innovation, strategy, and R&D executives say that leadership support is the biggest enabler of innovation. Over 55% of executives report that politics, turf wars, and a lack of alignment are the biggest barriers to innovation. Strikingly, the biggest enablers to (and barriers of) innovation are related to who takes responsibility over a project rather than more concrete things like lack of budget, strategy or vision.

Responsibility for innovation is typically spread out across an organization. Champions are tapped from individual business units, innovation teams, R&D teams, skunkworks teams, corporate VC groups, challenge winners, and even outside resources. This is for good reason. Different parts of the business tend to be responsible for different types of innovation because of their background and expertise.
A large proportion of respondents (82%) said that business units "owned" incremental innovation, innovation designed to serve existing customers. This type of innovation involves improving currently existing products, services and processes, so having a specific business unit manage this process makes sense.
Execution of adjacent innovation, the creation of new value in an adjacent category, market or customer segment, tends to be dealt with differently. While 59% of executives said that business units were responsible for innovation in this area, 58% of executives said that innovation teams were made responsible. R&D teams are also more important at this stage, jumping from 35% to 41% for execution of adjacent innovation.
Less than one quarter of respondents (24%) said their business units were involved in transformational innovation, the type of innovation that creates an entirely new business in a new market. The majority of transformational activity was owned by central innovation (65%) and R&D teams (33%).

Since incremental growth for any size company comes from new products, services, markets, ideas, etc... What is your plan?
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Speed Thrills


 Why Move Faster?...
.
- Save money - make fast decisions to more efficiently learn HOW you make your best and worst moves.
.
- Build momentum - rally your team's commitment to a more focused strategy and tactics. 
.
- Snapshot Opportunities - Get in the market ASAP (with an MVP) to REALLY learn. Only build on that.
.
- Delays compound - It's WAY more expensive to catch up... if you ever do ... (cue squealing tires of your competitors).
.

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Awesome AI

The Amazon Echo as an anatomical map of human labor, data and planetary resources:
Click to enlarge

Read more about this art project that honors and questions the magnitude of Artificial Intelligence and automation.

Truth or Consequences



Advertising Agencies have more than an image problem and an alternative options problem

Since they all promise everything... what is a client left to do but consider them all commodities... and work with the cheapest.

Alternatives have been encroaching...

In-House Agencies can get closer to real data and accountability. Check out the fast growing and fun folks at In House Agency Forum - IHAForum.org

Management Consultants are promising big-picture results that includes marcom... which are just a few cogs in the wheel. Their not-so-secret method is to charge outrageous rates that require the sharing of all client data and issues... then (and only then)  can actually really help.

Remember, Agencies have that conundrum of focusing services to be a defined brand but therefore not helping their clients across their entire ecosystem (the answer is working with trusted partners... I would love to talk to you about the right ways to do this).

Michael Farmer has been trying to help Agencies by being brutally honest in his book Madison Avenue Manslaughter - read it.

Excerpt from his recent post
"Transformed agencies will require sophisticated mid-level executives who can thoroughly engage with their clients to solve business issues, like underperforming brands. This will require a considerable amount of analytical and strategic expertise. Currently, there is an agency deficit in talent, training and salaries.

To pay for the required talent for agency transformations, agencies need to upgrade their fee levels. This is possible today only if agencies document the work they do and negotiate fees based on Scopes of Work rather than on client-controlled benchmarked salaries and overhead rates. My analyses show that agencies are currently underpaid by 15-30% for the work they do – and their poor Scope of Work documentation and negotiation practices are root causes of the problem."  


More on his methods at www.farmerandco.com





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Mind The Gap

You and your team should have some heated conversations around what customers want and what they want you to provide...


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Blah, Blah, ... then BLAH!



Note to CEOs: 3 levels of "talking" is required before a successful tech development (i.e mobile app, new product site, enterprise fix, etc) results in growth of your asset value and delivers net new revenue.



The 3 Blahs spell ACT ... because that's the message.

Blah #1 - A - Acknowledge

You have been observing the market shifts and talking with your team about your customers asking for more... and about competitors freaking you out... and about your options being expensive and endless.

Blah #2 - C - Commit

You have decided to invest RIGHT NOW in your future ... with a budget and a "safe container" to protect a dedicated team from the cynical "white blood cells" around your organization. You are encouraging and training these special people to develop clear goals and innovate with enthusiasm (while honoring those clear goals). They have been researching market opportunities, business models, creating mockups, and talking to customers (a lot).

Blah #3 - T - Test

Now it is time to take action and build your ideas in the market ... for real customers (NOT just research modeling, focus groups and mockups). You are working with internal and/or external software specialists that love what you have been blah blahing about! Growing in the right direction should feel as validating as small tweaks and mass pivots!

Learning is tough because innovation comes from iteration ... and that means building and launching through lots of wins AND losses along the always bumpy road to an optimized product that is never done but finally working, adding value, and generating the results you want... usually net new revenue.


READ: Our much more eloquent and thorough 4-page overview of the "Pitfalls on the Innovation Delivery Journey" at http://bit.ly/Pitfall_Innovation_Delivery_Journey

BONUS: from our partners at McKinsey: 
https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/the-seven-decisions-that-matter-in-a-digital-transformation

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Trust... Earned


I am optimistic again about how you can be a well paid hero. 

Thanks to Rupal's riffs in AdAge on 6 ways Ad Agencies earn respect by delivering results from ideas.

Key line:
"Execution turns out to be harder, more strategic and more valuable than everyone thought and ... it's what clients are coming to agencies for." 

(FYI, what qualifies Rupal is her years as an industry journalist and then realizing the best way to provide value is to work directly with the digital developers)

This is what the most ambitious and successful Agencies are providing: a safe havens for creative problem-solving with a diverse and appreciated workforce led by sincere leaders that get out of the way of empowered teams focusing on their mutually beloved clients and their bottom lines. 

Well, that IS a lot...perhaps I have guarded optimism.

That key line above is about not spinning aimlessly around "innovation" when there are products and services to be built! Yes, it sounds obvious ... the best plan is getting SOMETHING out in the market into the hands of actual users is the only way to validate your assumptions .... and increase your chances of growing your client's revenue and asset value. The "i" word only works when it is applied beyond thinking, into and through production of something real. ONLY THEN can it be assessed accurately by real users and optimized. 

Because... Innovation = Iteration.

Let's all focus on what we do best but remember to include those that deliver. When you are talking about digital transformation, that's the frontend and backend engineers and coders.

Frankly, I am done with small talk about big ideas. The last several years have been great to open our mindset, setup our strategy processes, and delivery frameworks... Now, there are few good reasons not to take action.

Agency examples of how to grow businesses in this digital age should already be inspiring. By partnering with tech augmentors like Creative Chaos, you can deliver like R\GA, Anomaly, and (insert favorite Agency that helps clients grow their business here).  

If you want to know what you need to know, read Jules' 2016 State of the Digital Nation. Then look deeper at the new opportunities in the market to be yourself and read his 2020 update.

Again, support your trusted nerds ... include them early and throughout your process to develop a dynamic tech architecture that includes CI/CD microservice containers.

Since lots of us get lost in that last sentence, we are happy to discuss it. 

Any time... David - dcutler@creativechaos.co or 617-331-7852

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Diversity Required Around Tech and Everything!

At 10:30 Eric builds momentum on this helpful and very human speech on how to REALLY build a team of innovative problem-solvers... and he says:

Google, Apple, Facebook. Sixty-five percent of their open job opportunities are non-technical: marketers, designers, project managers, program managers, product managers, lawyers, HR specialists, trainers, coaches, sellers, buyers, on and on. These are the jobs they're hiring for. And if there's one thing that our future workforce needs -- and I think we can all agree on this -- it's diversity. But that diversity shouldn't end with gender or race. We need a diversity of backgrounds and skills, with introverts and extroverts and leaders and followers. That is our future workforce. And the fact that the technology is getting easier and more accessible frees that workforce up to study whatever they damn well please!"