The Super Seven at MinneDemo19

#MinneDemo. That just happened. Seven super (Emcee and MinneStar board member Adrienne Peirce’s fave word of the night) tech innovations in Minnesota. It was a sold out crowd at the Guthrie for MinneDemo’s 19th run of their event platform that invites companies to take the stage for seven minutes each and show off their tech products. The event organizer, MinneStar, even had to turn folks away, but many of them, notably the introverts, didn’t mind. They got to view the live stream just outside of the theater and enjoy their beverages.

RedCurrent in Foreground, Stage in back

RedCurrent in Foreground, Stage in back

By show of hands, I’d say about 40% of the 700-some attendees were experiencing MinneDemo for the first-time. MinneStar board member Justin Porter was jazzed about this fact and encouraged post event conversations between the talented developers and tech-minded companies in the house, including top sponsors LeadPages and Best Buy.

The event was high-energy, despite being low tech at times. WiFi issues at the Guthrie and toggling back and forth between live streaming mobile and internet presented a few painful connectivity challenges, especially for GroveStreams, who handled the hindrances expertly. I seconded Jaclyn Grossfield’s tweet, “Agreed! painful RT @jaclynanng: Technology difficulties at #minnedemo. isn’t there someone – or 700 people- who can help? #getupthere.”

I will say that Justin did a great job of stepping up and taking the pressure off presenters when this occurred. Hashup creator Bryon Shannon just needed a few moments more to sync up his mobile to run his live demo, which ran very smoothly after a few refreshes. Between the seven presenters, we heard a brief 2-3 minute talk from some of the event sponsors and during the low tech lulls, the MinneStar team offered the mic to audience members with tech-oriented events to share a bit about their upcoming gatherings including Best Buy’s hosting of MinneBar, Twin Cities Geekettes and 1 Million Cups St. Paul.

The seven demos included, in this order, HashUp, Estate Map, DocentEdu, Grovestreams IoT, RedCurrent, ToggleGreen and PurchaseBox. They covered new social-oriented apps, efficient solutions for classrooms, event-goers, recruiters and job seekers, and consumers and retailers. Super favorite part: being invited to share in the beta testing for some and getting access to services, software and apps for free as a MinneDemo attendee. I downloaded @RedCurrentApp (in the AppStore for a mere 30 hours before the event) and @PurchaseBox right on the spot (@HashUp coming in March). I also signed up to test out EstateMap because you never know when you’ll be one of Facebook’s 10,000 daily death toll (morbid for sure).

For those of you who missed the event, here’s a download in #SixWords format first intro’d to me at #OTAFargo by SixWord founder, Larry Smith (see that recap here):

@HashUp: Smart social browsing powered by hashtags.

@EstateMap: Sum of money. Hidden under rock.

@DocentEdu: Layering education on content. Flow baby.

@Grovestreams IoT: Build Your IoT. Hot in Here.

@RedCurrentApp: Synced calendar, events by category. Sanity!

@ToggleGreen: Your next gig. Your terms. GTFO.

@PurchaseBox: Save trees. Eliminate coupons. Smart retail.

All of the presenters made for an entertaining, exciting evening and overview of what’s new and noteworthy in tech in Minnesota. It’s a growing and connected community that’s creating its own culture and identity here in the Twin Cities. I’ll wrap it up by saying it’s a super exciting time to be a geek in MN.

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MHTA’s High Tech, High Touch CIO Panel

Minnesota High Tech Association’s (MHTA) annual CIO panel brought, as promised, a wide-ranging discussion of the year’s top developments, along with challenges and opportunities they see in 2015. The event, held on December 11, at the Science Museum of Minnesota, covered tech perspectives from the sports immersion experience (Buffalo Wild Wings (@BWWings)) to expanding the social experience to enable a digital workforce (Accenture).

Margaret Anderson Kelliher, President and CEO of MHTA (@MAKMinnesota) and moderated by Dee Thibodeau, CEO of Charter Solutions and MHTA Board member, kicked off the event with an overview of MHTA’s ACE Leadership Program. ACE, accepting applications now, is an eight-session program covering public speaking, effective negotiation and adaptive leadership in tech.

MHTA's Oct 2014 WLIT Panel of Fearless #WomeninTech

MHTA’s Oct 2014 WLIT Panel of Fearless #WomeninTech

MHTA does a well-rounded job of covering all types of events throughout the course of the year from their Spring Conference (May, 7, 2015) to membership-building events like golf outings. My first MHTA event was their October 21, 2014, Women Leading in Technology (WLiT) panel, where four top tech women in our local community shared their stories specific to their career paths and overcoming challenges.

The CIO panel offered yet more insight into the Minnesota tech community and drove home that fact that technology is so prominent and integral to any business. Interestingly enough, three of the five panelists were women. Kudos! Panel members’ industries included restaurant, medical, construction and tech services and management consulting. The diverse range of topics and insights covered delivered at least a few nuggets that each of the audience members could walk away with and directly apply to their own business and role.

Buffalo Wild Wings
Karen Bird, VP of Information Technology at BWWings, shared how they’re using tech to drive customer experience in their restaurants with tools like tech at each table enabling games and more. Eventually, you might be able to order your adult beverages with one tap. Emcee Dee, a recent visitor to BWWings, recapped her positive experience.  As a mom who’s brought her two kids (ages 9 and 11) to BWWings for eats and not necessarily a “immersive sports experience,” I can second that. When I visit, I appreciate the atmosphere, service, wings and most especially my Guest Experience Captain, an individual skilled in conversation and catering to your needs who doesn’t need to rush off to wait on 10 other tables. Karen’s leading the tech charge to take their concept internationally with restaurant openings in Dubai and more in 2015.

St. Jude Medical
Mark Murphy, VP and CIP of St. Jude Medical, touched on big data, security, managed services and the cloud, citing the extreme petabytes of information collected hourly from companies like Walmart. A word of caution: the current systems an average business has in place are not going to cut it. One mammoth challenge, also brought up during the end Q&A session, centered around what do do with all of the data companies are collecting. Too many companies are suffering from analysis paralysis. Mark stressed looking at data and building cross partnerships in other industries. This type of approach ensures relevance and deliberate research to support innovative ideas, like St. Jude Medical’s Quadripolar Lead.

MHTA's CIO Panel Forecasting 2015 Tech Trends

MHTA’s CIO Panel Forecasting 2015 Tech Trends

Minnesota Department of Health and Veteran Affairs
Anita Scott, CIO of the Minnesota Department of Health and Veteran Affairs, shared insight on the process of bringing medical marijuana to Minnesotans. The forms and process flow chart she presented for players from facilities to care providers to the individuals was highly complex. Twenty-some companies invested a significant, non-refundable application fee to submit their companies to full the manufacturing and distribution roles statewide. Two were selected. Anita shared the video from Channel 12 TV, highlighting Maple Grove as one of the sites. One of the players happened to have their facility already built. At this news, my new friend next to me leaned over to note how interesting that was. We stifled our laughter.

Mortenson Construction
Robin Brown, VP and CIO of Mortenson Construction, from what I could gather, brought a breath of fresh air to a privately held, exponentially-growing construction firm. Mortenson, a respected name in construction in Minnesota since 1954, to its founders and leadership credit, has sought out expertise not only in construction, but other verticals. Delving into solar and wind power, for example, has helped them build relationships and value with their clients. They’re also using new technology (3D SketchUp) to bridge the gap in remote locations and job sites to bring more onsite manipulation of blueprints, process, materials and scheduling. More adaptable information and its quick dissemination is critical to solve some of their toughest challenges.

Accenture
Andrew Wilson, CIO of Accenture, one of the world’s leading organizations providing management consulting, technology and outsourcing services, with more than 305,000 employees, is British. I mention this because I could listen to his accent no problem, which is made possible by Accenture’s own TV channel with weekly content. What I found most exciting was Andrew’s discussion surrounding how they share internal content through online company communities via software like Lync and Yammer. He said blogging, for him, is obsolete. He places content on their community-driven page and engagement goes through the roof.

Overall, MHTA inspired great tech conversations through this diverse panel and set the stage for programming and content we can look forward to in 2015 with events like Tech.2015, the WLiT quarterly series and the 15 years and running Tekne Awards (Nov 18, 2015). Here’s to heightening the conversation surrounding tech in Minnesota!

Joy: A Vitamin That Comes From Within

In a refreshing change of pace just in time for the holidays, I took time to attend MplsSt.Paul Magazine’s Tastemakers event on December 9. #MSPTastemakers, an event held almost quarterly, brings together an unusual concoction of panelists for lively dialogue. You can rest assured at any Tastemakers event you’ll find creative cocktails, fine eats and inspiring off-the-cuff conversations prompted by MSP Magazine’s own Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, emcee and acclaimed food and wine writer.

Tastemakers Panel

Tastemakers Dara, Brenda, Cindy and Pilar

Past Tastemakers events from Finnegan’s to 45th Parallel and Tilia to Lucia’s typically revolve around the palate (the series is billed as lively discussions on juicy topics from our local food and drink community). Their recent event, #VitaminJoy, was about healthy lifestyle and a tasting of sorts — not a specific food or drink, but joy itself. It was a shot of reality offered up by three women who openly shared their insight, research and lifestyles surrounding the joy factor. Hint, it doesn’t come in a box nor from a store.

So many of us feel chronically overwhelmed and stressed. The holidays, meant to be a time of joyous celebration with friends and family, often add more pressure to the equation. So how can we experience joy? It’s not about attaining material things (we all know this, right?), but it’s about slowing down to actually enjoy and experience moments in our lives. Why is this so hard to do?

Panelists Brenda Langton, owner of Spoonriver and Mill City Farmers Market champion; Cindy Joseph, leader in the pro-age revolution and creator of Boom! product line; and Pilar Gerasimo, editor of Experience Life, Lifetime Fitness’ publication; offered us answers by giving the audience simple, attainable ideas for wellness framed in context with the obstacles society presents.

Avoid Toxic Carrots: Drink Agra Culture Juice

Avoid Toxic Carrots: Drink Agraculture Juice

Avoid Toxic Carrots
Pilar cited the toxic environments we’re all subjected to through constant media carrots like six-pack abs and Maserati’s dangling in front of us. Throughout the night, those two items became the tokens for material things we desire. If we can just get those things, we’ll feel better. We might not even care about the journey to get them. We’re just mindlessly doing. Pilar led us in a breathing exercise right then and there to return to mindfulness.

Love Your Veggies
Brenda cited a love affair with vegetables and how simply she’s learned to cook with and for her family. In teaching a three-series class once a year and coaching panicked people faced with forced diet changes due to poor health, she calmly acquaints them with beautiful, tasteful vegetables and gives them the skills to shop and share in the food prep and dining. She then posed the question, “Have we gone completely mad?” and answering with an emphatic, “Yes, you need to know how to cook!”

Recognize the Crazy
Dara jumped in with a statistic that reports 43% of Americans eat while in their car. At those numbers, if you’re not doing that, you’re already ahead of nearly half of the population — congrats! Surprisingly, when it comes to basic, human elements like eating, sleeping and exercise, we are not getting it right. We’re turning to miracle solutions and promises aimed at solving the symptoms, not treating the chronic disease or underlying conditions. If you want to be inspired to action, check out the app named RevoluntaryAct. I downloaded it months ago while reading my latest issue of Experience Life, but hadn’t used it yet. To give it context, I highly recommend reading the Manifesto behind its creation (my copy came in my swag bag) which flat out tells it like it is, “The Way Were Are Living is Crazy.”

Embrace Reality’s Fun Factor
Cindy Joseph then shared her compelling story from 63 years of perspective, 27 of those as a renown make-up artist for high fashion publications. After a job as a flaw-seeker and masker of what she saw as perfect creatures, she liked the reality behind the fantasy much more. At 49, she stopped dyeing and let her silver locks shine. Talk about aging gracefully and beautifully. Dolce & Gabbana even noticed and asked her to model for them. “There should be no fear, only fun,” she says, citing that it just makes sense that the longer we’re on the planet, the more experience and wisdom we have. Like the wisdom to only use one moisturizer for your whole body, which is the impetus for her creation Boom!

Revolutionary Swag Bag

Revolutionary Swag Bag

Collectively, they all talked about joy in many ways: how it’s distinctly different from happiness, which is a state of mind; and how it’s a pleasurable experience you actually need to slow down and enjoy because neurologically-cool things happen. Guilt, by the way, is present-time judging of past actions which you can avoid if you’re truly present in the moment at hand. With definition, context and role models, I can now go forth and enjoy not only the holiday season, but my life long-term. To paraphrase The Grinch who overcame his closed, joyless heart, “Maybe our joy, perhaps, doesn’t come from a store. Our joy, perhaps, mean a little bit more.”

— Wishing you all a joyous holiday season and a life filled with joy.

OTAFargo: Boldness Knows No Boundaries

Forget about your goals. Forget about what you thought you wanted do to upon graduation. Forget about controlling your professional path. Just be bold.

The seventh in a series of semi-annual events, OTA pulled off another top-notch event in Fargo on September 12 (#OTAFargo). The OTA name stems from the later part of its tri-state partners’ names: Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Duh. After I fought the urge to assign a word with each letter, it revealed itself to me. The OTA logo sports a circular arrow running though the state outlines to signal the groups’ goal: to inspire intersections in creativity and community.

Highly Content with The Great Discontent

Highly Content with The Great Discontent

In April 2014, I only attended a half-day of the OTA Sioux Falls event, due to a surprise messy spring blizzard that closed down I-90. View the event download I wrote here. I was definitely more optimistic as I set out for Fargo from Minneapolis (a 3.5hour drive) on September 12, a promising beautiful fall day. The core of the event took place from 8:30a.m. -5:00p.m. Specific workshops the day prior as well as comp tickets to Dessa in concert for all OTAns were options as well. I opted to get up at 4:00a.m. to make the day’s speakers and head out after the event.

Back to boldness. Thirteen diverse speakers interspersed with compelling videos by Passenger Productions, funded by the Bush Foundation, delivered big on inspiration. Speakers and artists featured via video boldly shared more than their profession (#WeMustBeBold). They shared inspiration and how they happened upon their life, which for the majority of them isn’t defined in terms of work/life balance per se. The boundaries are blurred. Intentionally and thankfully.

Richardo Crespo, CCO at Th13teen and former Global Creative Chief at 20th Century Fox and Mattel, confirmed this view when I asked him about work/life balance. I mean, sh*t the California dad of four surfs nearly every day and churns out a ton of creative. He noted that we’ll get more of a glimpse into that when Fast Company relays his interview in an upcoming issue.

OTA speakers have some swagger for sure. Larry Smith, Catalyst of Six Word Memoirs, has a collection of celebrities’ six words. If you haven’t checked it out, do so. It’s been a huge help getting me to the essence of things lately, like this speaker summary for instance. OTAns: please send me your six words on a speaker’s influence via email or on Twitter @SparkTracker. (Also look for OTA to do something with each person’s Six Word Memoir soon)

Ricardo Crespo, CCO at Th13teen and former Global Creative Chief at 20th Century Fox and Mattel (@_ricardocrespo_): Start. Stop. Continue. Beware the shuffleplay.

Greg Hartle, Founder of $10 and a Laptop (@greghartle): $10 In My Pocket. Need coffee.

Cathy Brooks, founder/Chief Human Officer, The Hydrant Club (@cathybrooks): What happens in Vegas? Dog park.

Ellen McGirt, Business Journalist, Fast Company alum, nervous novelist (@ellenmcgirt; @ImJustPo): Don’t know? Ask Po. #ILYMTW informant.

Wes Eisenhauer, Frontman of Soulcrate, Photographer (@soulcrate): Wordsmith on stage. Speechless with camera.

Larry Smith, Founder of SMITH Magazine and Catalyst of Six Word Memoirs (@larrysmith): Intimidation. Out-sixing the sixer creator.

Lonnie Carter, Playwright of Lost Boys (and Girl) of Sudan (@lonniety): Critics: critique me more. It’s welcome.

Kevin Kirby, Ashoka Fellow, CEO and Co-founder of Face It Together (@faceit2gether): Addiction solution demands lifetime of management.

Jason Roberts, Founder of Team Better Block (@mannytmoto): Add tires, paint, palettes. Presto! Places.

Elizabeth King, Founder and Executive Director of Agency for Emerging Voices (@elizabethonline): Passion pit. Google it. It’s legit.

The Gregory Brothers, Creators of Auto-Tune the News (@gregorybrothers): Old tools. New ideas. Funky politicians.

Greg Brandeau, Author of Collective Genius, Former CTO of Walt Disney, Former SVP of Pixar (@gregbrandeau): People Pokers. Paradoxes. Discuss amongst leadership.

While the majority of speakers weren’t necessarily born, raised or currently living in an OTA state, their perspectives from coast to coast felt relative. If attendees didn’t feel grounded enough, taking in the videos between presenters offered a dose of Midwestern, of the land, creators. The videos by Passenger, a South Dakota production company, featured various OTA-based creative types from a National Geographic photographer (Joe Riis) to musicians and foodies. The type of living they conveyed awakened my small town roots. They really got something right. That something was essence.

57 and Sunny = Inspiration

57 and Sunny = Inspiration

Emcee and OTA creator Hugh Weber, kept the momentum going and did something new at this event based on past event feedback. He instructed the audience to talk to the speakers during breaks at a specific area. A nice move given the large number of student attendees (a bus of students made the trek from the Sioux Falls area) who might have needed some encouragement. I met several speakers this way, but not in the “let’s exchange business cards” kind of way. In the entrepreneurial chill vibe that’s part of OTA’s cool factor, business card exchange is not the focus (see Twitter). But real conversations do happen.

I could write a blog post on each speaker’s session. Maybe I will… For now we’ll keep it to a summary of the intersections of ideas I heard from more than one speaker.

  1. Embrace Serendipity: Cathy Brooks shared the official definition of serendipity: “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.” You may not necessarily know the outcome or goal of something you do, but know that it’s putting you in the right place and time for the universe to respond to you.
  2. Don’t Think, Just Do. A motto by Wes Eisenhauer and a concept many others touched on. Spending too much time overthinking or waiting until things are perfectly in place before you begin and you’ll never start. Be okay with failure. Improve and try again. These presenters shared their path of being lost, not knowing what to do careerwise/ lifewise and sort of stumbling onto something fulfilling in their lives.
  3. Find Your Essence. This is your story. Where do you come from, what inspires you? Find a way to connect that to your life’s work. One particular example: Larry Smith’s storytelling concept as is plays out in Six Word Memoirs.
  4. Channel Empathy. Elizabeth Banks shared some compelling stats as a commentary on our society’s challenges. Even though technology connects us, there are gaps in generations and factors causing more isolation. We’re talking one out of three homes are single households and there are less married couples than any time in recent history. Reminder: being connected creates empathy and makes us more human.
  5. Tap into a Support System. Many speakers touched on the importance of mentors and collaborators and just people who call you out on stuff. They keep you grounded when needed or tell you to jump in and go for it. Always use them to widely test your ideas organically before throwing them into the marketplace for a potential epic fail, Brandeau recommends.

As I walked out of an afternoon session, I dropped my OTA Six Word Memoir in the box in exchange for the first copy of The Great Discontent (TGD). It read:  Inspired. Now What? Don’t Think. Do.

Business Ethics: Do Well and Do Good

Crossing boundaries to create common ground. Sounds so cliché, but it served as the context for delving into the most vexing and most urgent human dilemmas that face our society today at the 26th Annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum, March 1-9, 2014 (@NPPF on Twitter).

Boundaries addressed throughout the Forum spanned from national, religious, ethnic and emotional to political, financial and legal. To overcome these boundaries, the Forum’s organizers, three Nobel Laureates (The Dalai Lama, Doctors Without Borders and Leymah Gbowee), speakers and attendees sought commonalities over the course of forum discussions. Commonalities, the Forum asserted, are key to solving challenging issues because solutions stem from a place of understanding.

Brunettes, including Debra and Mackenzie of The Oath Project, Jotting answers to the question 'What can individuals and others in leadership roles do to change business for the better?

Brunettes, including Debra and Mackenzie of The Oath Project, jotting answers to the question “What can individuals and others in leadership roles do to change business for the better?” Me: support work/life balance and the individual’s pursuit of their own passions.

I found myself wondering, who takes time out of their busy schedules to attend a forum of this nature? It’s inspirational and designed for listening, conversation and introspection. It’s way big picture with topics driven by peace and positive change. How many of the attendees would be able to take these mind-shifting ways of thinking and integrate them into their lives or their company’s business practices?

During the four-day conference March 1, 7, 8 and 9, students, academia and business professionals, leaders in various fields were all drawn in by one or more of the daily themes: Faith and Peace, Law and Business, Science and Health and Global Day. I attended the law and business day on March 7. The keynote address by Michael Posner, Founder of Human Rights First; Professor at New York University, kicked off the day on the premise that business can be good at solving social problems.

Posner Keynote

Chris Farrell, MPR’s Marketplace, was in the audience as MPR live-broadcast Posner’s portion, then Farrell joined Posner on stage for the Q&A portion, fielding questions from the live Google Plus international audience which can be seen here. In fact, because the Forum partnered with GooglePlus as the main source of broadcasting talks throughout, you can find all Forum videos here.

Posner talked about moving our discussion to solve economic and human rights issues from states to businesses, “Half of the world’s economies are not states, they’re businesses. Walmart, for example, is comparable to Norway in size. We should be talking to companies about the change we are trying to make in the world.“

Posner cited two directions nations are taking in their approach to businesses and regulation. One: they advocate for high standards in terms of human rights, dignity and ethics for companies with little regard for the business desire to profit. Two: they are all for business profitability with low or unclear standards for businesses to adhere to. Ideally, we want this nation to business relationship to be about high standards and in support of companies making a profit.

If this can be the view of nations, what is the role of business in this equation?  Posner said it is increasingly difficult for businesses that operate in countries where human rights and dignity are not protected, to look the other way. Consumers are demanding more knowledge about the companies whose products and services they purchase. No longer can a business put a marketing band-aid on ill practices, they need to be transparent.

Businesses that choose this path understand that it’s a long-term commitment. Companies like Nike, Apple and Nestle have joined forces through the United Nations Global Compact, which asks companies to embrace universal principles and to partner with the United Nations. This is an important step because it leads to universal metrics, measurement, benchmarks, sustainable practices and transparency.

Other factors that hinder ethical and good businesses practices were cited including Wall Street’s demand for companies to turn a profit and meet quarterly expectations. Aside from all of the reasons for businesses to solely focus on profits, what if, for the day, we assumed all businesses were good? What would that look like? Posner left us with that thought as attendees chose one of seven late morning breakout sessions to attend.

Breakout Session

I selected the session More Than Empty Promises: Redefining the Role of Management led by Debra Wheat and Mackenzie Cane of The Oath Project. Courtesy of GooglePlus as an official Google Hangout session, three others joined remotely to build our discussion framework (Matt Burr, Katie Kross and Wesley Adams). The room included about 10 professionals and 30 students. The session’s goal was to challenge us to face our hypocrisies about the purpose of business, dig deeper into what responsible management means and give attendees the tools to make an impact.

Jen, a future Oath Project Ambassador (?), Debra Wheat and Mackenzie Cane.

L to R: Jen, a future Oath Project Ambassador (?), Debra Wheat and Mackenzie Cane.

The session’s structure was set for success, with sharing of ideas from presenters, quiet time where we all took out our Sharpies to move around the room and write our comments on large paper based on ten topics (no talking!!), topic discussions in randomly assigned small groups and a one-minute summary, and the closing observations and take away concepts.

As one of the professionals in the room, I found myself contributing all of the negative points to the topics during the silent writing time portion, whereas students were more optimistic. An important part of the instruction, as I was reminded, was not to dwell on the barriers or why good business practices fall short in companies, rather focus on the “what would it look like if…” positive scenario.

In the small group portion, I teamed up with a Todd, a student from my alma-matter, The University of St. Thomas, to talk business ethics. We discussed the role of the individual to behave ethically and how leadership and corporate culture come into play. We landed on a few key observations:

  1. It’s difficult if not impossible to separate an individual’s values from their work. People are most fulfilled if their values align with their company’s ethics. If the company isn’t a fit, they eventually leave.
  2. Ethics come from the top. It’s one thing to have a mission statement and code of ethics, but another thing entirely if leadership is not practicing ethically or the corporate culture doesn’t support these.

After each group gave their brief summary on the topics including dignity, sustainability, truthfulness, mentorship, accountability and ethics, we received an overview of The Oath Project. It’s described as a model for providing tools to integrate the concepts of professional conduct and social responsibility into the culture, core values and daily operations of both academic institutions and corporations.

Ten vibrant graphics, one word associations and a brief description for each, serve as the Oath's key tool.

Ten vibrant graphics, one word associations and a brief description for each, serve as the Oath’s key tool.

At this point, the exploration we did on topics fit neatly into one key tool the Oath Project designed as a standard model and framework. This tool lives on the main page of their website as a scrolling slide show of 10 vibrant graphics based on 10 words and a brief definition for each word. Let’s take ethics, which reads: I will understand and uphold, in letter and spirit, the laws and contracts governing my conduct and that of my enterprise. You get the picture. Institutions and corporations start here, personalize it and further define it to suit their needs. Then the successful ones live by it.

I had other afternoon commitments unfortunately, so I ended my Forum experience. Others went on to another breakout session and closed out with keynote Ian Bremmer, President and Founder of Eurasia Group. Overall, it was an inspirational morning. It certainly has me thinking about change in business and possibly taking on a challenging yet rewarding role as an Oath Ambassador.

— Thanks to Beth Bowman, M.A., Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, for the tickets! The Nobel Peace Prize Forum is led by the Norwegian Nobel Institute and supported locally by Augsburg College, Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health as well as other academic partners and businesses.

— For more insight on the Forum in the Twin Cities, read the StarTribune 3.7 article.
— For 
more information on leadership, check out this TED Talk on the quiet power of introverts
— For more inspiration on why businesses can be good for solving social problems, check out this TED Talk
— And for the surprising truth about what motivates us, see Dan Pink’s video.