Generations Group – Sunrise Social

Sunrise SocialI attended the Sunrise Social networking breakfast hosted by Generations Group at the Minnesota Valley Country Club in Minneapolis Minnesota.  The event featured guest speaker Kari Switala.   She presented on how storytelling is a key component of building meaningful relationships.  Especially in business!   She used storytelling throughout her presentation to engage the audience and build a connection.   It was an effective demonstration of the technique and drove home many points about how to build effective stories that people can relate to and to humanize the conversation to something that can form relationships vs. just deliver a sterile business presentation.

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Greater MSP Annual Meeting

AnnualMeeting2018-2-101Elements Group attended the GMSP annual meeting hosted at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis.  The event was widely attended and featured several songs by the a quartet.   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 seventh 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.  Compared to other, more progressive cities,  we seem to actually be lacking a number of key regional organizations that are actually the strategy and implementation arms of regional development.  The construction of a regional advantage based model is an ecosystem integration strategy.   This was more a basic funding,  measurement and tactical projects approach.

See pictures of the event in the photo gallery

Minneapolis Architecture Community Collaboration Conference

macclogonewest Elements Group presented at the MACC conference hosted at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis Minnesota.  Our topic focused on the development of new types of business intelligence covering areas of ecosystem development & market trends, strategic performance, strategic investment and organizational impact.   Each base of data and analytics acclimating in dashboards to help at the board, c-suite, and governance layers of a competitive organization.

The annual event grows larger each year feature several keynotes and multiple breakout tracks.  The multi-day event features a full peer to peer workshopping day.

For more about MACC

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CommunityGiving Conference

Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 11.18.34 AMElements group attended the CommunityGiving conference hosted at the river’s edge convention center in St. Cloud Minnesota.  The event was a gathering of non-profit organizations all around the region to discuss collaboration and shared services in meeting their mutual causes.  CommunityGiving is an organization that is developing the regional non-profit ecosystem by providing shared services and funding to create a larger impact and efficiencies for the non-profits in its network.    The event was well attended and features many notable speakers talking about overall trends in the non-profit community and in organizational issues inherent in non-profits and how they must evolve.  The day featured both keynotes and break out tracks on more specific topics of funding, engaging donors, and operations.

As Elements Group has been working in the areas of regional development.   It is important for us to call out that a critical component of progressive regions is the development of these collaborative / co-opition based models.   The alignment and combining of assets and capabilities to create a larger impact and more opportunity for a region is critical to developing true regional advantage.   While we see the largest impact being when industries combine to form more powerful regional consortiums to create large opportunities and address large regional challenges,  there is a growing trend in the non-profit space.   This is usually lead by foundations uniting around some of the grand challenges of our time, but it is equally effective for localized and community based issues as demonstrated by the work that CommunityGiving is piloting.  Their model is worth study for your own local goals and ecosystem development.

Learn more about CommunityGiving

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Global Water Leaders Summit

screenshot 1Elements Group attended the 2018 Global Water Leaders Summit in Milwaukee Wisconsin.  The two day event brought in representatives from around the world to collaborate and share technology advancements, global initiatives, and to develop partnerships.
Milwaukee, like many cities, has felt the strain of economic pressures on its industries and communities.  It began to explore what it needed to do to reposition itself as a leader in the water industry.   A large section of the downtown area was targeted for revitalization and branding to the water district.   A walking tour of Milwaukee’s Riverwalk System was now a mixture of modernized historic buildings and new construction complete with greenways.  Along the path where public displays of water technology.
The Global Water Center is the headquarters for the initiative and is a 8 story building in the heart of the water district.  A new school of fresh water science is also a new addition.   We toured the water center seeing companies, start-ups, and universities all residing within.   The center is complete with many labs where cutting edge projects are underway, as well as, partnerships and sponsor ships that surround them.
Zurn industries has a new building close to the water center and we toured their customer experience center.  From the roof top of the build we where able to look around in all directions to see the breadth of the revitalization project.
The summit itself was hosted at the near by Harley Davidson event center.  Noted speakers and topics included:
  1. Chairman & CEO of Badger Meter Rich Meeusen
  2. Guest of Honor WI Lieutenant Governor – Rebecca Kleefisch
  3. Video   Senator Ron Johnson
  4. Video Senator Tammy Baldwin
  5. Mayor Tom Barrett
  6. Student Awards
  7. Water Environment Federation
  8. Big Oil & Water
  9. Adoption of the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standards
At the event center was a large array of technology companies and start-ups showcase their wares and connecting with representatives globally.
We also got to tour the Harley Davidson Museum in the off hours of the conference.
While most North American cluster development initiatives trail far behind other global examples.  This summit shown light on a positive begin to such ambitions and can be studied as a template for how other cities could begin such a journey.
See more images from the event in the gallery.

Robotics, Automation and AI – Investing

ACG LogoThe investment opportunities for growth in AI, Robotics and Automation will be greater than that of the internet companies like Facebook, Google or Amazon.  This was the position of William Studebaker, President, Chief Investment Officer, and Managing Partner at ROBO Global, LLC.   He was a featured speaker at the ACG event hosted at the Windows over Minnesota on the 50th floor of the IDS building in downtown Minneapolis.

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IoT and Smart Water

IMG_4570Minnesota DEED Trade Office hosted a Smart Water Round Table event at the Uponor corporation on May 10th, 2018.   Featured were a host of IoT companies showcasing their work in smart water solutions.   The audience and speakers who attended came from as far away as Europe and South America.   This event came on the heels of the Minnesota IoT Fuse conference.   The solutions they covered spanned a vast array of topics including:  precision agriculture, water treatment, smart cities,  transportation, city infrastructure optimization, etc.    The companies also represented specializations in hardware & sensors,  data aggregation and analytics, and business model development.

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