The Future of Business Competition Event


On 12/09/14 The Carlson School of Management hosted a regional event focused exploring on major regional activities where underway in support of Minnesota remaining competitive in business globally.   I was one of the featured speakers during the morning session.  The event attendees included a wide variety of government, academic, corporations, that had gathered to participate in the speaker sessions and collaborative breakout workshops.
MN Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie
Mark spoke on a number of topics that gave a overview on the health and momentum Minnesota had in areas of leading industries,  growth areas,  international brand,  international trade, and government programs.   He also spoke to challenges regarding education, attracting talent,  retaining talent, and global competition.   He ended with and update on the potential for Minnesota to host the 2023 World’s Fair and the impact that could make for the region.
CEO, Joe Sperber
Joe spoke about global trends in economic development and transportation.   He discussed regional and national efforts to develop high speed rail systems in North America.  The global partnerships that would be involved in such a large scale effort.   Key areas of the country that where already moving forward.  What the impact would be in Minnesota and the role it could play in regional integration.
CEO, Glenn Ford
Glenn spoke to his initiative called Praxis Market Place.   This is focused on community development,  training, jobs, and qualify of life.  A major component is built around urban farming and cross integrating business in the ecosystem to exchange resources in a wholistic manner that helps drive each other business.   The net result is a thrive community, economy, and a wide range of learning and job options for people in the community.   Build strong communities, lifestyles, and business collaboration for the good of the region is critical in being an attractive and success region in which one can build towards competitive differentiation.  His initiative is already gaining traction in other cities and he would be interested in launching in Minnesota as well.
Chief Innovation Officer, David Williams
I spoke to global business trends and methods of how foreign companies are partnering and investing to be competitive.   Working at Microsoft as a strategy advisor,  I had the opportunity to work with companies and start-ups from around the world on innovation projects. I addressed the challenges companies have competing in both established markets and against the large and established companies leading those markets.  We talked about strategies around disrupting markets or creating shifts to new markets.   For international companies that are emerging,  they have to use different tactics around investing and partnerships to compete in new ways against established competitors.   I also covered trends in regional development happening around the globe as cities create new and integrated education systems,  innovation centers, and industry parks that create platforms for their industries to compete on new levels.   We also discussed similar efforts in North America to learn from these models.   I presented the work I was doing at the UMN studying these new models and working with local corporations forming and advisory board to see how MN could build similar assets and services for a competitive platform for companies and start-ups to benefit from.
Workshop Session:
After the speakers concluded and a active Q&A session,  the audience moved into break out sessions to participate in exploring the opportunities and topics presented.  Separate teams dove into the following areas before coming back together to share insights with the full audience:
  1. What are our strongest assets regionally
  2. What assets do other regions have globally
  3. What could our global brand grow to be
  4. What gaps do we have regionally / What needs to be done
  5. What is the key to connect to resources in the ecosystem
The break out teams reconvened after the break out to share insights and approaches around each area discussed.   Open dialogue and ideation where abundant.   This event was launched to kick off a transformation event series that would continue to drive towards linking current initiatives, stakeholders, and advisory groups to achieving goals toward keeping Minnesota competitive and developing our brand globally.