The SXSW Interactive PanelPicker catches me off-guard every year. Not only do you have to submit proposals by mid-summer, voting kicks off by mid-August.
Regardless, it’s time to start thinking ahead to next year’s event. In the spirit of picking panels, I wanted to recommend some Cave Henricks Communications and Shelton Interactive client panels that I think are worth your attention.
(by the way, they wouldn’t be clients if they didn’t offer amazing, game-changing perspectives, so there’s no reason to take the recommendations below with a grain of salt)
About: According to IBM’s 2010 CEO Survey, the pace of change is accelerating and next-generation businesses must thoughtfully build and sustain the right corporate culture to remain relevant through turbulent times. Too often, our natural response to this accelerating pace of change is to try our hardest to dictate permanence. In doing so, we install risk-mitigating processes that trump culture. In fact, the very mechanisms we put in place to promote productivity are robbing us of the ability and time to be creative and add value. This experiential case study session is a call to arms: to hit the reset button on how we think and work. Instead of creating more one-size-fits-all change initiatives forced upon employees, you will learn how to change everyday things in small ways to create big ripple effects throughout your organization to reignite critical aptitudes like inquiry, curiosity, and innovation. Learn how a large financial services organization created a new breed of employee that helped to reset the corporate culture, not from the top down or bottom up, but from the middle out. Take away tangible and actionable steps to shake up your organization’s standard practices, from unproductive meetings to go-nowhere strategic planning, resulting in big change and a powerful boost to innovation. Find the little-bigs that will reinvent your organization—and awaken your ability to think, and ultimately, to take control of the future.
My two cents: You’re going to be hearing a lot more about Lisa in the coming year–find out why at this session.
About: While entrepreneurial passion is vital to startup success, it’s also a double-edged sword. It can limit and endanger startups in a number of ways. At the same time, I have found passion to be a polarizing, almost sacred, topic among many entrepreneurs. They are just as passionate about their passion as about their actual startups. They too often experience clear-eyed scrutiny and realistic consideration of risk as “negative thinking,” and I’ve seen a lot of virtual tomato throwing in online forums about entrepreneurial passion. So, the intent and spirit of the workshop is to help aspiring founders transcend the false dichotomy between “positive” and “negative” thinking, to subject their ideas to rigorous scrutiny in a way that actually deepens their passion and confidence.
My two cents: There aren’t too many people who have made a bigger impact on our success this first year than John. If you’re launching a start-up, this is a must for you.
About: Technical skills on the job aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. They are important, yes. You have to be technically proficient to do your job. But they aren’t the end-all be-all. Instead, they are simply “check the box” skills you need to get by. The truth is, soft-skills and communication skills are the ones that will make or break your career. To get promoted, compensated well, to close a deal, move ahead in your organization, build consensus around your ideas, or sell yourself (or a product), kick-ass communication skills are your only hope. In this high-impact workshop, you’ll learn how to talk to your boss, board, colleagues or clients at work, every day, in every situation, when you’re on top of your game and when you have no idea what’s going on. Great on the Job has reversed engineered hundreds of the daily one-on-one conversations that are critical to success yet aren’t taught—not in undergraduate programs, not in business school, and not in the workplace.
My two cents: There is a reason that Jodi is one of the most popular Harvard Business Review bloggers–she’s smart, brutally honest and sports a client list that includes Harvard Business School, Wharton, NYU Stern School of Business, Kellogg School of Management, BofA/Merrill, Citigroup and many others.
4. For Better or For Work (Meg Hirshberg, Inc Magazine/Stoneyfield Farms)
About: How does someone who is obsessed live peacefully with someone who isn’t? That question—posed by an entrepreneur—elegantly summarizes the quandary faced by company founders and their spouses. In “Balancing Acts,” Meg’s regular column in Inc. Magazine, she examines the impacts—for better and for worse—of entrepreneurial businesses on families. As the spouse of an entrepreneur–married for more than 25 years to both her husband, Gary Hirshberg, and his business, Stonyfield Yogurt–this topic is familiar terrain. Gary co-founded Stonyfield on a farm in 1983. In those days, the business was “seven cows and a dream,” as company literature describes it. At sales of over $370 million, Stonyfield is now the third largest yogurt company in the U.S. In this session, Gary and Meg will discuss lessons learned about how a marriage and family can survive the wild ride of an entrepreneurial business.
My two cents: In addition to having my favorite book title of the past year (For Better or For Work, Mar 2012), Meg writes a fantastic column for Inc Magazine about the impact of entrepreneurial businesses on families. She’ll have her husband, Gary Hirshberg, the founder of Stoneyfield Yogurt there with her to discuss the family issues surrounding start-ups.
About: Mobile is a game changer. The mobile device is up close and personal, always on and drives behavioral change. In this rapid-fire presentation, digital pioneer and N.Y. Times Business Bestselling author Chuck Martin highlights what he found in his extensive research on his latest book on mobile. He will detail the rise and characteristics of the untethered consumer and the significance and future role of time and location in relation to smartphones and interactivity. He will show the best practices in mobile marketing with insight and practical strategies and tips to survive and thrive in the mobile revolution.
My two cents: Chuck Martin’s recent book, The Third Screen, was widely lauded as a category killer in the mobile space and this presentation is a perfect fit for marketers and anyone looking to step their mobile game up.
About: The art of the no-decision decision: getting people to change without thinking How do you change behavior? We are at mental capacity, and most external attempts to change our behavior fail because they require too much mental energy; any deviation from the status quo is asking too much. Behavioral economists and corporations alike are tapping into this idea of the no-decision decision, from combating obesity with the size of our popcorn buckets to engineering higher game engagement with an ugly carpet. How can we pull this lever to improve user experiences? Which companies are already doing this successfully? By employing semantic technologies we can lower the barrier to behavior change and engineer structures that facilitate the very change we seek – whether it is improving the health of a generation or propelling a social movement from ‘awareness’ to ‘action’.
My two cents: Pete is one of the most talented speakers I have ever had the pleasure of working with and you’ll find out why in this session.
What panels are you most excited about attending this year?