Expo2023 MN World’s Fair Bid Ends


It was disappointing news to learn that the Minnesota delegation that traveled to Paris for the bid process was unsuccessful in winning the 2023 to be hosted in Minnesota.

Congratulations to Argentina for winning the 2023 World’s Fair.

See the announcement letter and Star Tribune article in the gallery


Greater MSP Annual Meeting

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 11.02.01 AM.pngI attended the Greater MSP annual event hosted at the Ordway Theatre.   The event was widely attended and featured several songs by the St. Paul Orchestra.   A host of speakers shared updates on their initiatives throughout the evening.  After the presentation, there was food and networking.   The comments after the event were most interesting.

Some of the common post meeting viewpoints included:

  • Seems like most of the initiatives are lead and implemented by corporate or 3rd party stakeholders and it is was unclear what value GMSP was adding.
  • Given the vast number of sponsors and size of board, it is surprising to see such tactical initiatives in general that primary benefit only a few organizations.
  • Now in its sixth year,  GMSP is starting to work on an organizational strategy for themselves.  Raises the question how much longer will they be funded?
  • There is no vision or long-term plan for regional development anywhere much less near what competitive regions are doing around the world to aspire.
  • Seems like industry needs to drive regional development more.

I thought the event was well executed and was surprised by the after event conversations from people who have been to many of the events or more involved in the initiatives.  This was my first year attending, though I have been watching the organization for some time.   Perhaps next years event will demonstrate a much more strategic approach to regional development or see a broader industry cluster start to drive economic development for the state as a whole.

See pictures of the event in the photo gallery


Elements Group Speaking at MACC

IMG_5162.jpgI was a speaker at the 2017 Midwest Architecture Community Collaboration this November held at the Double Tree Hotel.  A large community of architects, technologists, and strategists convened for both presentations and workshops.  My presentation covered top challenges that business and technology leaders will face as the speed of business and technology increases.

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Key topic areas included:

  1. The Nature of Competition is changing:   In this section, I talked about how last century there were around eight clearly defined business strategies in markets and how since 2000+ over 30 strategies are now active and many are more complex requiring new internal capabilities, external partnership,s and new value systems.  Most companies today lack the business intelligence and strategic planning process required to map these new strategies and map their ecosystems effectively, including cross-sector threats.  Many companies ignore these options and keep on doing what they have always done giving time to the competition, but regardless of being proactive with offensive strategies, companies will be forced into developing defensive strategies as their competitor’s differentiators start to disrupt their business.
  2. Regional Competitive Advantage:   All around the world, leading cities are developing regional development plans with industry to create more competitive business environments.   This is creating entirely new playing fields where companies can’t afford to not be active in these regions given the advantages in industry clusters, investment, government policy, workforce development, education, and entrepreneurship are all integrated and operating a significantly higher level of acceleration.    Business need to explore the global landscape to see how these regions are developing and how they can get involved.   For cities and companies that don’t develop their own regions may find themselves at a great disadvantage in the coming years and workforce, investment and companies are forced to leave atrophying regions in search of more competitive advantages.  While foreign cities are leading the way, establishing best practice, several USA cities have taken very proactive steps and have easily a 6-8 year head start.  Many USA cities are pretty complacent,  but they fail to see that are in a declining state vying to be the next Detriot.
  3. New Role:  Lastly,  I spoke about new roles that are needed in corporate leadership and in regional leadership.   These represent huge career paths and opportunities for today’s business, technology and government leadership.

See more pictures of the event in the photo gallery

Windows 10 Mobile on the way out!

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 3.17.20 PM.pngAfter many years of significant invest, Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 Mobile will no longer be a focus for the company.   Though, they will continue to release bug fixes in the near term.  Microsoft was early in the mobile space with its CE operating system but was caught unprepared for the launch of Apple iOS in 2007 followed by Google Android in 2008.

At this time Microsoft has not achieved any appreciable market share:

  • Microsoft 1.3%
  • Android 64%
  • iOS 34%

The device partners did deliver good equipment, but at the center of the failed strategy was the target focused on chasing a large volume of applications at the expense of all quality.   Each year excessive amounts of incentive money were poured into developer incentive programs, literally buying apps for the app store,  there was no emphasis placed on quality.   So the store quickly earned a bad reputation.   The advertising platform was also a crippling factor in not being able to adequately support apps that were popular.

The missed opportunity was in not leveraging Microsoft’s enterprise strength.   Microsoft was already starting far behind Apple and Google.   By blindly chasing a parity play of consumer applications they were guaranteed to always be trailing and created no real incentive for a consumer to switch platform.   A consumer app based store was always a long-term play that could have developed over the long term.  If Microsoft could have built the 10 – 20 most critical enterprise applications that supported back-office integration, dashboards, reporting, and integration into critical 3rd party enterprise software it may have become the indispensable device for all corporate employees.  It could have been licensed in packages with existing enterprise software.   It may have created a market of its own that everyone else would struggle to catch up.

Now history has been written,   goodbye windows mobile….

UST: Risk Leadership at PWC

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With Elements Group holding a board position on the UST Risk Leadership Team,  we enjoyed attending the first fall forum and panel discussion.   On stage, were several risk leaders from companies in the twin cities area and PWC practitioners.  The interaction with the audience was very open and it created a nice atmosphere of discussion.   Also, each panelist was asked to comment on each question, so we were able to get insights from different perspectives and environments.   This is the 1st of an ongoing series and I’m looking forward to the spring event.  The overall tone of the first meeting was pretty much in the trenches risk management, but the overall theme of risk leadership also moves into areas about the risk of not acting and innovating for organizations.   Hopefully, this more proactive role will come into focus as the series progresses.

After the panel discussion, food was served and the attendees enjoyed the rooftop PWC patio overlooking the MSP downtown.  There practitioners and students were able to network, discuss the learnings from the panel and begin to form a community that will be involved in future events.  The overall tone of the first meeting was pretty much in the trenches risk management, but the overall theme of risk leadership also moves into areas about the risk of not acting and innovating for organizations.   Hopefully, this more proactive role will come into focus as the series progresses.

See more pictures of the event in the photo gallery

You can learn more about this initiative at the UST Risk Leadership site

Tim Pawlenty Speaks on the 4th Industrial Revolution

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 4.38.57 PM.pngThe St. Paul chamber hosted a speaking event featuring former governor Tim Pawlenty focused on the 4th industrial revolution.  The talked covered a broad range of topics including automation, big data, globalization, etc.   After the talk, he stayed to engage in 1:1 dialogue with attendees.

These trends will create large changes in the workforce over the next ten years.  Both in re-tooling existing personnel and in the transformation of education systems that will be required.   What isn’t clear during Q&A is if Minnesota currently leadership has a plan or vision for its future.  Hopefully, in the future MN will take up the challenge.

See more images of the event in the photo gallery


2017 Minnesota Water Technology Summit

2017_09_28_20_22_24.jpgI attended the 2017 Minnesota Water Technology Summit hosted at the Metropolitan club.  This event had international representation of key challenges and projects happening from around the world.  In addition,  local speakers added their perspectives from the water companies that they are working in.

Students also participated showcasing projects they are working on in our universities.   There was plenty of Q&A for each speaker that allowed good involvement from the audience both in questions and input to key subjects.

International representation spanned:  China, Phillipines, Singapore, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil.  The challenges and scale of solutions being faced international was quite impressive and insightful in terms of trends to come to other nations.

What was completely missing from the conversation for recognition of other regions which are vastly leading in areas of cluster development and innovation ecosystems.   While Minnesota fields some very large companies in the water industry it was apparent that they are not leading any efforts to create Minnesota as a global leader in terms of solving the grand challenges around water.   Seems like other cities around the world will become the concentrated hubs of companies, education and government policy leaders despite what might be mistaken as a lead in water locally.  With so many new industries developing around all the grand challenges, it is a race for visionary regional leaders to put their regions on a development plan that will see these industries attract and workforce grow to serve the world.

See more photos of the event and speakers in the photo gallery