Leadership, Employee Engagement and Innovation at BIF-6 Summit

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Last week I attended the 2010
Business Innovation Factory Collaborative Innovation Summit in Providence, Rhode Island (referred to as BIF-6).  There were so many thoughtful presentations that I hesitate to merely highlight a few.   After taking a couple days to mull it over I’ve decided to select a few presentations that will be most relevant to the themes I typically write and speak about i.e. leadership, connection, employee engagement, productivity and innovation.  Below are brief descriptions of several presentations from the conference.  For those who want to hear these or other presentations, you can access them at this link.

Keith Yamashita inspired conference attendees to be great by seeking optimum solutions that help citizens, companies and the future generations. He encouraged attendees to use design thinking, develop creative duos and groups with links of trust who challenge the status quo and the tyranny of false tradeoffs.

John Hagel, who heads The Center for the Edge, said only 20 percent of people are passionate about their work.  His research has shown that passionate people have questioning dispositions and connect with others at double the rate of people who are not passionate. They seek opportunities and problems to solve and they persevere to overcome obstacles.  Passionate people are genuine, transparent, vulnerable and this helps them build long-term, trust-based relationships, in other words, they are, as John says, “deeply connected.”

Richard Leider shared wisdom on finding purpose in life by being more reflective, taking more risks to be authentic, and discerning one’s purpose earlier in life.  He shared that he had learned the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you discover your purpose in life.

Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh is always thoughtful.  I’ve written about him earlier so I won’t repeat myself here.  One thing he mentioned during his talk that I liked very much was that at Zappos they aspire to make “personal emotional connections” with customers.

Sayantani DasGupta, a physician and expert on narrative medicine, spoke about the high rate of physician burn out and how hearing the stories of others and connecting with them is a healing experience.   DasGupta shared the profound impact on her own life from time spent sitting near to her grandmother in India and listening to her stories.

Meg Wirth spoke about her passion to help women who are at risk for death when giving birth in developing countries.  This amazing woman founded a company named Maternova that helps midwives and healthcare workers by providing tools and education.

Alan Webber spoke about the dismal state of our media today. They wrongly focus on noise rather than news, entertainment rather than substance, and content rather than context. We reporters like I.F. Stone who produce tough-minded, good investigative journalism that provides a check on power and kicks over conventional wisdom. Alan’s righteous passion and good sense tempted nearly caused me to shout out “A-Men!”

As you can tell from my summaries, it was an invigorating couple of days. I encourage you to take time to listen to these and other presentations from the conference and consider attending this outstanding gathering next year.

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