Search Results for "node/saul kaplan"

Lois Kelly Speaks on the Power of #RCUS

At the BIF Summit, you can leave your language at the door and just talk. – Lois Kelly

“We want our Collaborative Innovation Summit filled from stage to seats with people sharing transformation ideas and stories,” says BIF Creative Catalyst Saul Kaplan.

After all, it was out of the Summit that the hashtag #RCUS was coined — Random Collisions of Unusual Suspects. And from now until the Summit takes place in September, we’ll run a series of short interviews with former Summit attendees who’ll tell us in their own words why the BIF Summit is a must-go event and how #RCUS has changed their lives. Next up, longtime friend-of-BIF Lois Kelly of Foghound, a “guide, facilitator, and thought-provoker” who helps organizations and their people change and grow. Lois is a co-author, Along with BIF6 and BIF9 storyteller Carmen Medina, of the upcoming book Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within.

Here’s her answer to the question: Why go to the BIF summit?

In our work, we get in these silos, whether the silos are in companies or in industries. So if you’re in healthcare you say to people, “Do you have healthcare experience? No? Oh well, no.” And then we fall into our comfort zones. We start hanging around with people just like us. Even on social media, people start following people who think just like they do. So you don’t often get the opportunity to be with people who are different. But the BIF Summit is a safe environment where you can talk about everything or nothing. I love talking about everything and nothing! Sometimes when you talk about nothing with certain people, it turns into something.

We all have our work, we have our jobs, which takes up a huge amount of time. We have our neighborhoods of people we feel comfortable with. We live in the suburbs so it’s not like you’re waiting at the bus stop with a bunch of different people. When I grew up I would see many different people  everyone walked down to the bus stop. On our street we had housepainters, MIT professors, truck drivers, engineers, and they would all walk down to the bus stop together. They would talk about sports, what they were doing. The interesting conversations are among people who have different perspectives.

And even if you don’t share the same ideas, there’s something about when you get to know someone as a person, you might not agree with them, but it’s fun to converse with them. Whereas I think with our politics and media and social media, it’s like, ‘I’m right, you’re wrong.’ Win or lose. I think if you know people as people, you actually think about the ideas more. If you don’t know them as people, if it’s just a tweet, you just miss it.

The other thing I like about the BIF Summit is really hearing ideas. It’s a bullshit filter. At some industry conferences, you just hear the “party line” and you have to be “on” all the time. At the Summit, you don’t have to be “on” and other people aren’t “on,” either. There’s no bullshit, no jargon, no industry-specific language that siloes you. You can leave your language at the door and just talk.


Jen Hetzel Silbert Speaks on the Power of RCUS

“We want our Collaborative Innovation Summit filled from stage to seats with people sharing transformation ideas and stories,” says BIF Creative Catalyst Saul Kaplan.

After all, it was out of the Summit that the hashtag #RCUS was coined — Random Collisions of Unusual Suspects. And from now until the Summit takes place in September, we’ll run a series of short interviews with former Summit attendees who’ll tell us in their own words why the BIF Summit is a must-go event and how #RCUS has changed their lives. Next up, longtime friend-of-BIF Jen Hetzel Silbert of Spartina Consulting and the Learning401, an “organizational change consultant, facilitator, and trainer who has an unshakable belief that people can create anything they set their minds to.”

Here’s her answer to the question: Why go to the BIF Summit?

The people I have met at BIF during the conversations at the break, over lunch, over coffee, in between storytellers, have radically changed my work and have helped my network to explode.

Go to the BIF Summit because of who you are going to accidentally, serendipitously sit next to, have coffee with, meet during breaks. Go to the BIF Summit because of the conversations that will be started as a result of the amazing storytellers you’re going to see on stage.  Anyone can watch those stories on video, on the livestream after BIF. But being in the room, to make and watch the sparks fly, is something you cannot get by sitting in your home office.

The people I have met at BIF during the conversations at the break, over lunch, over coffee, in between storytellers, have radically changed my work and have helped my network to explode. But, my network has exploded in ways that are relevant to what I want to be doing. This is no speed-dating like they do at the Chamber of Commerce for Friday coffee — no insult meant to the Chamber of Commerce! But, it’s the people who go to the BIF Summit that make the difference.

And, the conversations start at BIF, but it’s what happens after the Summit that gives them life. I couldn’t be more grateful. I look at my LinkedIn network, my quasi-Rolodex of contacts across social media, and my address book and the majority of them are connected, if not directly, then somehow indirectly, by the crowd at the BIF Summit.


Jonathan Follett Speaks on the Power of #RCUS

“We want our Collaborative Innovation Summit filled from stage to seats with people sharing transformation ideas and stories,” says BIF Creative Catalyst Saul Kaplan.

After all, it was out of the Summit that the hashtag #RCUS was coined — Random Collisions of Unusual Suspects. And from now until the Summit takes place in September, we’ll run a series of short interviews with former Summit attendees who’ll tell us in their own words why the BIF Summit is a must-go event and how #RCUS has changed their lives. Next up, longtime friend-of-BIF Jon Follett of Involution Studios, a software UX design firm, and author of Designing for Emerging Technologies, which will be published this fall.

Here’s his answer to the question: Why go to the BIF Summit?

The BIF Summit gets better every year. This will be my fourth BIF Summit coming up. From day one I’ve felt very much at home when I come to the BIF Summit. I go to a lot of conferences for my job, and it’s the one conference I go to that I look forward to. Part of the reason is that I think the people who attend the conference know that cross-pollination between different professions, different industries, and different types of people is a really powerful thing. You can pretty much go up to anyone at the BIF Summit and start a conversation and be glad you did. That is a really rare thing. I’ve never really encountered that at any other conference.

I find the collision part to be purposeful rather than random. It’s a purposeful cross-pollination of like-minded innovators. It’s not THAT random. It’s more like bees and flowers. It’s only random because you don’t know which bee is going to pollinate which flower. But like bees and flowers, the cross-pollination WILL happen. It is a random collision, but you’re going to be talking to another innovation junkie, someone who shares a like-mindedness in their desire for innovation. And you know they’re probably pretty smart because they’re at the BIF Summit in the first place.

You’ve got these geniuses on stage, these incredible storytellers who will give you a new perspective on everything from brain science to putting together playgrounds for kids. Also, you have the genius of the smart crowd that amplifies what’s being said on stage. You’re getting a continuous, really high-quality level of intellectual stimulation and analysis, because of the high caliber of the speakers and the fact that they stay and engage with people after their talks.

I also find the BIF Summit to be very relaxing, but it takes me time to wind down. After a while, I ask myself, “why am I still checking my email?” If you’re a professional, an entrepreneur, someone who’s making a lot of decisions for a business, it takes time to disengage, to relax, and enjoy the experience. So give yourself 12 to 24 hours to wind down, unplug, and enjoy. That’s Day 2 for me.

If you’re interested in innovation or intellectual pursuits or just being a continuous learner, you should go to the BIF Summit. It’s like the college experience should have been — a lot of intellectually curious people connecting with each other.


Marty Baker Speaks on the Power of #RCUS

“We want our Collaborative Innovation Summit filled from stage to seats with people sharing transformation ideas and stories,” says BIF Creative Catalyst Saul Kaplan.

After all, it was out of the Summit that the hashtag #RCUS was coined — Random Collisions of Unusual Suspects. And from now until the Summit takes place in September, we’ll run a series of short interviews with former Summit attendees who’ll tell us in their own words why the BIF Summit is a must-go event and how #RCUS has changed their lives. Next up, longtime friend-of-BIF Marty Baker, Senior Manager of Global Digital Content for the Hershey Company and Chief Catalyst and Owner of Inotivity, an innovation consultancy.

Here’s his answer to the question: Why go to the BIF Summit?

The DNA of the BIF Summit is stories shared. Compelling, inspiring, and transforming stories about how innovation and innovative thinking is making a difference in the world.

BIF10 will be my sixth BIF Summit Experience — and much like a roller coaster ride, it never ceases to be exciting and the experience is over much too soon. I want to start with the opening lines of a blog I wrote about Jeffrey Sparr, one of the presenters at BIF8:

“Most innovations arrive in public in dress clothes. They are bangles and baubles that don’t reflect the often-perilous road it takes to succeed. You also don’t hear the words ‘innovation’ and ‘courage’ used together. Jeffrey enthralled the audience at BIF because he turned a mental disorder into art and in turn is helping hundreds of people living with similar disorders to thrive.”

Jeffrey isn’t a famous name in the innovation world, nor does he seek recognition in a conventional way. His innovation is a labor of love and sanity in often-insane world.

This is the magic of every BIF Summit I have attended. There are the names you know like Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Mark Cuban, and author Dan Pink. But there are names you probably don’t know. Like Jeffery Sparr and innovators like Angela Blanchard, who will also be a BIF10 storyteller. As President & CEO of Neighborhood Centers, Inc., she led a community development framework throughout the Houston region to impact over 500,000 people a year.

Or innovators like John Donoghue — The Henry Merritt Wriston Professor and Director of the Brain Science Program at Brown University. John and his team created an interface that enabled a paralyzed woman to move a robotic arm simply by thinking. It wasn’t science fiction — it was science.

So why attend BIF10?

Because you never know which story of passion, determination, and focus will transform and inspire you. It may a single story. It may be the curious intersection of many stories. Or it just may be saying hello and talking with Jeffery Sparr at lunch.

The BIF Summit. Nothing transforms like a great story.


Jason Fried: The Pied Piper of the Web

37Signals co-founder Jason Fried sits down with BIF chief catalyst Saul Kaplan to talk about his latest book Rework. In the video, Fried takes a critical look at everything from social media to meetings to growth to the “over-rated” word innovation.


Catalyzing Reactions from BIF2018

There was something palpable in the air surrounding BIF2018. Like many summits that have come before it, our focus has always been to create more community than event. To share in our purposeful networks to catalyze a reaction and spark greatness within the audience, to go out there and bring a renewed sense of hope, belonging, and courage allowing participants to go home and spread their learnings with others.

Usually, by the time the Summit hits us in full force in September, we at BIF are too focused on ensuring everything falls into place to fully grasp the impact of the two-days we have set in motion. It is only until well after the stage lights have dimmed and the hoards of changemakers who have descended upon our great city of Providence have scattered back to their collective outposts across the U.S. that we get the chance to fully reflect.

But this year, there was an undeniable sense that something was different. More exciting. That the change we’ve been so desperately seeking for our most vital social systems might finally be breaking through to an even higher ground. It could just be that the timing couldn’t have been better, that this was exactly what we all needed as a community. Or perhaps this year, in particular, the caliber and diversity of both story and storyteller were far and above what we could have ever hoped for.

Whatever it may be, it’s safe to say that all of us have left changed. Inspired. Hopeful. Ready to self-organize and create the conditions necessary for all of us to freely combine and recombine our capabilities to make the world a better place.

And that change starts with you, our community, through words, actions, and movements, Here are some of the takeaways shared by our audience.

  1. Stranger in a Strange Land: An Educator’s #BIF2018 Adventure by Trevor Aleo
  2. Reflections: One Month Post BIF by Deb Mills-Scofield
  3. BIF2018: How Connection Drives Innovation from Greg Satell
  4. BIF2018: Connecting, Catalyzing And Colliding Communities by DK
  5. How Our First Instincts Can Hamper Our Capacity To Act Wisely And Innovate by Kare Anderson
  6. Design + Strategy = A New Good Story by Eli MacLaren
  7. Let’s Catalyze Something Bigger Than Ourselves by Founder & Chief Catalyst Saul Kaplan
  8. The Biotech Innovation That Will Transform Society Has Arrived: An Interview with Andrew Hessel

Our goal? We want to come together to strategically build a roadmap for transformation through our collective networks with you. Don’t know where to start? If you have a vision, we have an approach.

Schedule Time with BIF


Bruce Nussbaum: The education of an innovator

Bruce Nussbaum, formerly of BusinessWeek and now professor of innovation and design at the New School wonders why designers complain so much about lack of respect instead of just going ahead and solving gnarly problems like healthcare. In this video conversation with BIF founder Saul Kaplan, Bruce explains how design is much more than creativity. It’s really a mechanism for change and action.


Stories Can Change The World

“Facts are facts, but stories are who we are, how we learn, and what it all means.”  My friend Alan Webber, Co-founder of Fast Company and author of Rules of Thumb, has it exactly right.

Storytelling is the most important tool for any innovator.  It is the best way to create emotional connections to your ideas and innovations.  Sharing stories is the way to create a network of passionate supporters that can help spread ideas and make them a reality.  We remember stories.  We relate to stories and they compel us to action.

Storytelling is a core value at the Business Innovation Factory (BIF).  We believe that advancing our mission to enable system change in health care, education, and government is critically dependant on our ability to create, package, and share stories from our work.  Everything we do is about storytelling and our Innovation Story Studio is one of BIF’s most important capabilities.  By openly sharing stories about the process and output of BIF’s work we are strengthening our community of innovators and becoming more purposeful with every new story.

It is no surprise that BIF’s annual Collaborative Innovation Summit is all about storytelling.  I will never forget meeting with my friend and mentor Richard Saul Wurman (RSW) to get his advice prior to our first summit five years ago.  As an innovation junkie, it doesn’t get any better than having RSW as a mentor. He founded TED for heaven’s sake.  I went to the meeting prepared with an approach that I had worked on for weeks.  As an MBA, of course, I had a matrix, with speakers organized by theme.  RSW heard me out and could only shake his head saying, Saul, you have a lot to learn about how to create an emotional connection with an audience.  He patiently told me to throw away the matrix.  He said it was as simple as inviting people to a dinner party.  Ask speakers that you want to have dinner with to share a personal story that you are selfishly interested in and invite others to listen in.  RSW has been a storyteller at every summit we have hosted.

I love RSW for that advice.  That is exactly what we do.  No PowerPoint presentations, no matrix, just stories.  One glorious story after another in no particular order, from storytellers (not speakers) sharing personal and raw insights about what innovation means to them.  After about four to five stories back to back with no boring Q&A to break the rhythm we take a long break where all of the storytellers and participants can interact, connect, and share their own innovation stories and experiences.  No breakouts, flip charts, or prescriptive assignments.  It is up to the 300 participants to decide what is compelling and which connections are most interesting and valuable. The most interesting collaborations every year come from connecting unusual suspects that find value in the gray area between their interests and disciplines.

Every year one of my favorite things to do is connect with each of the storytellers to discuss the upcoming summit and their stories.  I am almost through these calls for our upcoming summit, BIF-5, on October 7-8.  Talk about a kid in a candy store.  To talk with each of these innovators is inspiring and a great joy.  Check out the BIF-5 storytellers and you will see what I mean.  These innovators are asked to give speeches all of the time.  Many of them have written books and do speaking tours.  They all have PowerPoint presentations in the drawer and a stock speech they can give in their sleep, which they are not allowed to use at a BIF summit.  I always find our storyteller’s reactions interesting when they discuss preparations for sharing a story versus giving a speech.  They all say that it is far more interesting and challenging to tell a story than to give a speech.  Regardless of their fame on the speaking circuit, there is always trepidation in their voices when we discuss their stories.  Every storyteller over five years has said that they are excited to hear the stories from the other storytellers and will be glad when they are done sharing their own. That is why they take the gig.  It is a refreshing break from the grind of the speaking circuit.  Storytelling is harder but more personally rewarding.

I can’t wait to hear the stories at BIF-5.  All of the stories will be posted in the BIF Innovation Story Studio along with the videos from BIF-1 – BIF-4 so everyone can access them.

BIF-1 storyteller and storytelling expert Steve Denning says, “People think in stories, communicate in stories, even dream in stories. If you want to get anything done in an organization, you need to know how to use the story to move people.”  I agree with Steve, stories can change the world and storytelling is the way to make it happen.


An Interview with #BIF2018 Storyteller Mark Brand

We had an opportunity to catch up with Mark Brand, CEO of MB, Inc. and highly anticipated storyteller at BIF2018. Passionate and purposeful, Brand talks to us about the power of connectivity, combining purposeful networks, and some of the fascinating endeavors he’s taken on.

Last year you wowed us at the BIF2017 Summit, coming out in full force with your journey. Tell us a little about your experience and what it was like to be a part of the Summit?

For scope, I’m terrible at vetting folks and on top of that, am a Canadian who’s been buried in my work for a decade. I attend events and based on what I speak about and who I’m with, the universe and all its soldiers (I’m looking at you Saul & Yarrow) line me up with great people. I was hanging out on day two last year and a gentleman who I recognized started talking to me about real upward mobility, not band-aid entrenchment solutions, for marginalized populations. He said, “You need to help us out in New Mexico”, and it still didn’t click at the time, I just had a crush on his brain and his vision. Turns out he founded Fast Company and he’s the Mayor (of Santa Fe, New Mexico) now, so I think he knew what he was talking about.

Another discussion I had was with the team at Peace Love Studios that’s led us to partner further. What I’m getting at here is everyone at the conference is truly about change and impact. Being able to share my story to accelerate others work was a real gift that’s still giving.

Mark Brand at BIF2017

Since your time at BIF2017, we’ve seen you take on some incredible new endeavors: a new role as Professor of Innovation at USC, cooking at the Vatican as Executive Chef for Pope Francis’s Laudato Si Challenge; tell us a little more about what you’ve been up to – and where you find the time to do it all?

Time is our most valuable resource, so it only made sense for me to find out how to get all of mine back. I did, and am now focused solely on scalable projects that will impact all of society, and teaching or speaking to those who can do the same. My role as Professor at USC is teaching doctoral students of social work how to approach the work they’ve been doing, some for decades, and flip it on its head using design methodologies and no bullshit real-world experience. It’s the most rewarding work to be teaching those who are in it, with so little resource, but all the passion.

Rome was incredible. I got to cook for 400 global leaders and through my menu and words discuss solutions from agriculture and people to climate change. Folks often look at the traditionally “Barriered” as a burden, but they’ve got it all wrong. They’re the solution, and I got to share that on a stage I could only have dreamed of prior. I’m a deeply spiritual, non-religious dude, so it was extra special to have this group bring me in. It shows that purpose and impact trump affiliation, pun fully intended.

I also became certified as an Integral Facilitator this year from the Ten Directions program, which has taught me how to use my whole body as an instrument and how to mediate the hardest of conversations. When you start to use all of your senses, kind of like a tuning fork, you can achieve so much more because you don’t waste time on, well, time wasters. Intuition plays a big role, trust it.

At home in Vancouver the partnership of our Social Hub, Save On Meats, and charity, A Better Life Foundation, served its two millionth meal to those in need. Two Million. When people say small businesses can’t make big changes, we beg to differ. The programs now feed between 900-1300 people a day and we couldn’t be prouder of the work where it all started and continues to grow. I have an incredible team of people.

Where does that take you now? Talk to us about what you’re working on.

Everything is the short answer. I’m working more than ever and feel better than ever. This summer I’ve been spending a ton of time in NYC and as of the fall am bringing my company and charity stateside, with the intention of building brick and mortar centers akin to Save On Meats in every single neighborhood that needs one. We’re also taking my Greasy Spoon Diner series National and International to Australia, where I’ll serve as Entrepreneur In Residence for the City of Sydney this fall for 2 weeks.

My digital platform PAL has found partners with DOMO and Fairshare and we’ve been nonstop this last 6 months working on getting the data we need to start to end homelessness in a city by city case using emerging tech that is simply incredible.

We launched HATCH Europe a few months back and I’m super excited to see my dear friends and family Kimberly, Charles, James, Phillip, Holley, Vika, and Quentin all from the network joining BIF this year. They’re insanely beautiful and impactful people that are going to blow the audience at BIF away.

You know Saul, 5 years ago, I couldn’t get people to amalgamate impact and business mentally. It was church and state. Now it’s all anyone wants to talk to me about and I’ve seen a massive change not only in normalized vernacular but hunger from people with wealth and power to do real, sustainable good. Not just write cheques. I’m over the moon with the state of things and really appreciate how you and BIF show up to help the conversation.

We’re excited to have you back on stage at BIF2018. What are you going to share this year?

It’s all Top Secret. I’m doing a talk that’s deeply personal and that I’ve never done before. I’m very excited to share it.

What does the Summit experience mean to you? How would you describe it?

It’s an opportunity to embrace new perspectives I don’t get exposed to. The conference is challenging whilst supportive, it’s engaging whilst also disruptive. I’m certain I’ll end up in all the heated discussions I had no idea I wanted to have again.


Register for the BIF Summit to hear Mark alongside 32 remarkable storytellers and you’ll leave inspired and ready to transform yourself, your company, and even the world.
Connect. Inspire. Transform. Register #BIF2018


The BIF Summit: ‘Random Collisions That Celebrate The Commonality Of Humanity’

The Summit prompts me to reflect on the big questions: How can I apply the collective wisdom of these innovators to my task as a human being?

Here at BIF, we can hardly wait for September, when the annual BIF Collaborative Summit happens — and if we, who put on the Summit every year, are excited about it, imagine how excited the Summit-goers are! We’ve asked some past participants, and a few first-time attendees, to describe this excitement.  Up now: Wanda McClure, a school designer and professional development specialist at Expeditionary Learning, K-12 education nonprofit.

We asked Wanda one question: What is it about the BIF Summit that excites you the most? Here’s her answer:

Hearing the stories of people from all walks of life. Every storyteller comes to the BIF Summit with a unique story. Yet in those diverse, random collisions of stories, there’s a commonality of humanity that relates to my journey as a human “being” and prompts me to reflect on the big questions: How am I using my voice as a force for good? How can I apply the collective wisdom of these innovators to my task as a human being?

I love the random collisions of unusual suspects, interweaved with the commonality of humanity. Where else would you have Richard Saul Wurman, Irwin Kula, Daniel Pink, and Camille Beatty? You’d never get that lineup at a regular conference.

And that’s precisely the point of the BIF Summit: there are random collisions. There are networking opportunities, and stories and conversations about topics specific to growing a business and making deals and the things that you’d do at normal conferences.

But it’s also an intensely personal experience, shared by all the unusual suspects, that celebrates the best thoughts of humanity on bettering the world.