ACG: Crowdsource Investment Event

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I attended the April ACG event hosted at the Windows over Minnesota dining rooms on the 50th floor of the IDS tower.  The event began with open networking with about ~130 in attendance and then transitioned into a served lunch for a panel discussion.  The event was focused on the investment ecosystem of Minnesota.  A panel of investment bankers, securities attorneys, and entrepreneurs spoke on the many steps Minnesota is taking to improve our investment and startup ecosystem.   I’ve attached the event agenda to this post to highlight the various speakers.    The discussion began with an overview of general investment levels in Minnesota and the initiative to pass new legislation around the rules of accredited investing. Several panelists had co-authored the Minnesota’s intrastate crowdfunding law(MNvest). The goal would be to redefine who can be considered an accredited investor and open the doors for individuals to invest in start-ups.   The crowd source funding movement has began to transform how investment capital can be raised.   Historically,  it has been about 3% of the overall population that has been wealthy enough to be the primary investors in new ventures and of that group only about 10% are heavily involved leaving in excess of 97% of the population out of the process.  New legislation and crowd funding are creating new opportunities for ordinary individuals to invest in entrepreneurial ventures.  This movement began in the Obama administration, with the passing of the 2012 Jobs Act,
which opened the door to restructuring the investment landscape.  Many US states are moving forward with legislation and MN had the benefit to review and incorporate the best ideas that preceded out own legislation.  This is an evolving landscape and it will be interesting to see how other states evolve and respond.  Other panelists included innovators who are creating 3 portals that are state approved sites for investment and connecting to opportunities.
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2017 CornerHouse Breakfast / Fundraiser

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I attended CornerHouse breakfast as a part of their 4th annual fundraiser in support of abused children and their families.
The event was well attended with ~300 guests of the non-profit.   The event started with open networking as guests arrived followed by a sit-down breakfast as the keynote began.   I’ve attached the event agenda to this post to highlight the fantastic speakers that presented.  The subject of child abuse is quite a difficult topic.  Several facts were quite shocking including that only 20% of abuse cases are reported and it is mainly by someone the child knows.   Our speakers were very generous to share their stories of working in this field and specific cases they had involvement in.   It was a tough and emotional hour for everyone.  I really have to give credit to the presenters who had to struggle through some pretty personal emotions at the podium for the sake of the cause.   At the conclusion of the fundraiser, I had the chance to get introduced to many people at the CornerHouse organization.   What a great team that is supporting and extremely important cause.
Learn more and get involved: CornerHouse
More images at the Cheval gallery
Event Agenda:
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PDMA Event @ Whiteboard

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I attended the March 22 PDMA event hosted at Whiteboard this month.   The guest speaker was Bill Farmer who spoke about the history of management paradigms of Taylorism vs. Demming models.  He brought both into today’s challenges of innovation and product development.  The talk began with the history of both approaches and how the United States became entrenched in the Fredrick Taylor model of hierarchal business management through a scientific method approach.  Taylorism focuses on breaking work down into repetitive processes and steps so they can be taught, managed and evaluated.  The primary goal is efficiency.  Many of the early driving forces initially came from labor-intensive industries of agricultural and manufacturing.  Eventually, the scale of the industrial revolution spread this management approach.    The world wars also played a large role due to their scale and broad application of the hierarchical command and control needs of the military across all the industries that supported the effort.  The end result of over ~150 years of the implementation of Taylorism resulted in it becoming institutionalized across business, education, and generations of people in the United States.   The Taylor method is attributed to the rise and building of America’s success in the 20th century.   In the aftermath of World War II,  many of the industrial bases of other countries were decimated.  Japan, in particular, was rebuilt directly by the United States and led by the efforts of Edward Demming.   He was able to implement a different methodology based on his work that sought engage works in the development of higher quality and methods of production.  This leveraged the experience and insights that the workforce had and empowered them to improve the overall system.   The Demming model is attributed to the rise of post-war Japan into a manufacturing super power.  Management experts, like Peter Drucker, grew up and studied in the Taylor model of America and were huge proponents of its approach in success.   Later in his career Drucker experienced the rise of the digital technology, the internet, and the knowledge worker.   All of which was transforming industry and challenging the management paradigm of Taylorism because skills, roles, and work where becoming very dynamic vs. pure repetition.   In today’s innovation economy the knowledge worker’s role is both creative and increasingly dynamic in terms of skils and multitude of roles they play within organizations.  Though Drucker felt that the America had been built with Taylorism in the 20th century,  it would not work in the 21st century.   The Demming model was more applicable to constant improvement and change.   The talk also included examples of both models in operations and the cultural challenges inherint.   It also had audience members participating in role playing excersizes to demonstrate principles more experiencially.

Event Description
20th Century Process-Thinking limitations are being overcome by a management shift to Systems-Thinking. The holistic considerations of Systems-Thinking provide operational flexibility, feedback and learning as key parts of development, and a superior environment for knowledge work success in the fast-paced Information Age. This brief presentation, that kicks off our networking mixer, will make the distinction between the two approaches clear and inform you why and how to evolve your team towards Systems-Thinking.

Key Takeaways
Add Value Through a Systems-based Approach:
Productivity and Employee Engagement
Responsiveness to External Change
Sustaining Improvements
Improvements Generated at All Organizational Levels
Introduction to a Tool that Accelerates the Shift to a Systems Approach
Demonstration of an Exercise to Provoke Collaborative Imagination

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2017 ACG Bold Awards

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The annual Alliance of Corporate Growth (ACG) Bold Awards was hosted at the Metropolitan Ballroom on the evening of February 28th.
The formal event was very well attended and kicked off with a large food and networking session.   Teams from the event sponsors attended and enjoyed reserved seating for the awards.   The award ceremony was kicked off by ACG personnel and some key sponsors.  Multiple Bold awards were given across several categories with the following nominees:
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One of the many highlights of the evening is to hear the success stories of these finalists and learn about their approach to growth.   Many are also making an impact on the community as well through their work.   This year a special recognition award was given out to the US Bank team for their work on the new US Bank Stadium.   The evening concluded with issuing of the Bold of the Bold award selected from the winners of all the categories.   For this selection,  each attendee was able to vote, via a cell phone app, for the final award winner.  Here are the category winners:

Non-Profit
Banyon Community

Early Stage
Calyxt

Corporate Small
Medicom Health

Corporate Middle Market
Innovative Office Solutions

Corporate Large
Deluxe

Special Recognition
US Bank Stadium

BOLDEST OF THE BOLD
Innovative Office Solutions

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Learn more about ACG

Intersection of Product Mgmt, Prod Dev, and Data Analytics

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I attended the February PDMA event hosted at Optum.   The Minneapolis chapter had arranged both a tour of the Optum facility and a panel discussion on the intersection of Product Management, Product Development, and Data Analytics.   The event started with a networking session while tours were conducted.   The tour featured several customer showcase areas.  The first was visiting a large digital analytics command room that was several stories tall and covered in monitors with real-time information showing a vast amount of healthcare related actives across the united states.  This room could be used to monitor the outbreaks and spreading of disease and the activities of the healthcare providers.   It allows Optum to actively support the healthcare system with early identification of trends and coordination of activities.  We headed into a detailed analytics room that featured individual station with large interactive touch screens.  Our tour guides took use through numerous analytics scenarios with real-time drill down into trends,  treatments, and member services that were possible with the depth of data they have been able to integrate and create the capabilities to explore and interact with data.   This section of the tour concluded in a large surround screen video experience around the future of healthcare.
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The event continued with the panel discussion featuring 6 panelists ranging from corporate to consultants with various backgrounds in the product and analytics spaces.   With an audience size around 100 people, they did some polling and it saw a split between attendees being more on the product side vs. pure data scientists.    The panel also talked briefly about the 5 eras of product development that was broken out accordingly:
  1. Create a product in isolation and push it out through advertising
  2. Customer focus groups
  3. Lean / Design Thinking / Customer Discovery
  4. Data Science
  5. Now we need to integrate 3 & 4
It was highly stressed that many data projects fail and the root cause is the lack of defining what value you want to get out of the data up front.  Meaning you have to define the questions you are trying to answer before getting lost in analysis.   While data analysis can also discover anomalies and trends along the way,  that should be secondary to understanding what you are trying to learn from it.  The questions also help define the “right” data you want vs. getting overwhelmed with studying “all” the data.   In the end, your looking for the problem that your product/service can solve,  not the offering itself in the data.
I look forward to attending more events and more networking!
Learn more about PDMA (http://www.pdma.org/minnesota)
Photo Galleries:

Thinkergy Event

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I had a great experience attending the “Genius Journey: Developing Authentic Creative Leaders for the Innovation Economy”
presented by Dr. Detlef Reis (Dr. D.) founder of Thinkergy in Hong Kong.    This was a very interactive innovation event for business and innovation practitioners.
Dr. Reis share his methodologies that he has been developing for over a decade focused on a four phased approach to innovation:
  1. Genius Journey
  2. X-IDEA
  3. Cool
  4. TIPS
Each phase is a complete an mature step in the innovation lifecycle.   The depth and extent of development was very impressive spanning everything from the facilities and environment, processes,  cultural aspects, individual and group dynamics,  and a huge repositories of tools to leverage throughout.
While spending the past decade in both research and hands on application he has now reached the point where he has authored several books  ( soon to be published )on each phase and is moving towards both teaching the methodology and creating facilities in Asia built to provide the optimal environment for it application.
Another aspect of the approach and toolsets that was very differentiated was its development and application multiple international markets.   His presentation highlighted many cultural challenges that must be addressed in the innovation process.   This required the maturation of the overall approach and development of a much more extensive toolset supporting the methodology that traditional models that have been derived in North America.
I also enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time talking with Dr. Ries after the event to explore areas of synergy in our work and how current projects I’m involved in could benefit and help scale his offerings.

2016 Association of Corporate Growth Awards

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I attended the ACG (Association of Corporate Growth) Awards ceremony last evening hosted at the Metropolitan Club.   The event was well attended with corporate members and guests to honor significant corporate achievements.   Attendees votes for winners during the event through an online application.   Their were categories based on size of organizations and each nominee’s success was shared with the audience before the voting and winner was announced.   Winners received their awards on stage and shared their appreciation and learnings around their achievement.
ACG Award Winners
ACG is a long established association of professional with over 16 chapters globally.   Local chapters feature monthly events that include networking and speakers.   Learn more about the organization at ACG
See more event images in the gallery