St. Paul Full Stack Event

FSSPfinal-web-withroom-325x344.jpgI attended the St. Paul Full Stack event.  Several speakers from the city and St. Paul Chamber spoke about the initiative to develop the start-up community in St. Paul.

See more pictures of the event 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

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

Finland / Minnesota Trade Event

IMG_3131.jpgI attended the Finish Ambassador’s presentation at the Gutherie Theatre that was hosted by several of the Euro-American Minnesota Chamber organizations and the Minnesota Trade department.  The event marked a 100-year celebration of Finland’s independence.  Ms. Kirsti Kauppi,  the Finish Ambassador talked about Finland’s history and their strong capabilities in innovation.   There are many similarities between Minnesota and Finland and many reasons to explore collaboration and trade.


See more photos of the event in the gallery

PMDA Medical Innovation Panel at hosted at Abbott

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 6.05.24 PM.pngI attended the August PDMA innovation event at Abbott ( formerly St. Jude.)   The interaction between the medial panel and the audience was quite involved with the audience being full of experts in their own right.   This provided multiple points of view to key topics identified below.

Abbott VP of Research and Development and University of Minnesota Medical Device Center Director explain how work gets done in a highly regulated and exciting ecosystem. We shall review components of research, product development, patients or consumers, costs, legalities and regulations – and, the Innovation Collaboration.
  • Engage companies to discover unmet consumer needs
  • Identify transdisciplinary resources
  • Assemble expert research and engineering team
  • Incorporate the company’s team to collaborate
  • Manage team project schedule
  • Produce deliverables based on individual agreement
  • Understand the capabilities and partnerships at the University of Minnesota Medical Device Center
  • Learn about the business relationships with the University of Minnesota and medical companies
  • Learn about the behind-the-scenes medical work:
    • What are the key phases of the product development process, and how are patients involved in this process?
    • With new regulations and increasing costs of manufacturing, how do you balance customer requirements, cost of research, product costs, and pricing pressures?
    • Which political or legal forces have the biggest impact on the medical device industry?
    • How does healthcare economics and reimbursement play a role in product development, new product adoption and money available to invest in R&D?


See more photos of the event in the gallery