Speaking

SPEAKING
If you want provocative perspectives and deep business insight for your next business gathering, we should talk.


Delivering the keynote presentation at the Microsoft CEO Summit 2003

Your participants are becoming more demanding – their time is in ever shorter supply and they want a tangible return on their attention. I speak on a broad range of topics regarding the long-term changes in the global economy, emerging business opportunities and the pragmatic pathways that large, existing institutions can pursue to evolve in ways that will turn pressure into opportunity.

I have spoken at a broad range of prominent business gatherings, including the World Economic Forum Davos Annual Meeting, TED, Fortune Brainstorm, South by Southwest, the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Consumer Electronics Show and Techonomy (see below for more details). I also speak often at leadership gatherings hosted by prominent companies around the world.

Principles

Businesses need creative new approaches to generate more value with fewer resources – cash, assets and talent. This is the broad theme underlying all my speaking topics. As competitive pressures intensify, management must focus on some basic principles:

Anticipate threats, but shape opportunities – in a world that is more rapidly changing, we need to have a clear view of where we are going

Work two time horizons simultaneously – 10-20 years and 6-12 months – and don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the years in between

Make small moves but shaped by a clear understanding of the forces reshaping our environment and with explicit and aggressive performance milestones at short intervals – avoid “big bang” initiatives with long lead-times

Reduce costs relentlessly – concentrate on the 20% of the assets (products, customer relationships, business processes, people) that generate 80% of the economic value and shed the rest

Couple focus with flexibility – placing many small bets dilutes impact, instead of magnifying impact

Unbundle the enterprise to gain more focus – concentrate on the 20% of the assets (products, customer relationships, business processes, people) that generate 80% of the economic value

Design loosely coupled business processes and organizations to create more flexibility and enhance innovation

Seek leverage wherever possible – in a world of mounting pressure, the winners will be those who are able to most effectively mobilize third party resources and reduce their own investment needs

Master the power of pull – rather than seeking to push the necessary people and resources into the right place at the right time based on forecasts of demand, use scalable pull platforms to draw out the people and resources when you need them and where you need them

Use economic incentives and trust-based relationships to access and mobilize third party resources – this is ultimately the key to deliver more value with fewer resources

Develop creative marketing approaches to increase return on attention for customers and draw them to you, rather than trying to intercept them

Debottleneck the organization to facilitate even more rapid movement towards long-term goals

Focus on a few operating metrics to measure success and look at trajectories of performance improvement rather than snapshots at one point in time

Sample Topics

These are some examples of the topics that I can address either in presentations to business gatherings or in seminars for management teams:

The Big Shift
I share the perspectives that we have developed on the long-term forces that are fundamentally re-shaping our global economy and the implications in terms of how all institutions will need to adapt to this every different environment

Overcoming the Psychology of Mounting Performance Pressure
The forces that are re-shaping our global economy are creating mounting performance pressure for all of us – no one is immune. In times of mounting pressure, we as human beings have natural psychological reactions that are understandable yet can become very dysfunctional. By understanding the psychology of pressure, we can more effectively devise approaches that can help to turn mounting pressure into expanding opportunity.

Back to Strategy – Has Anything Changed?
In the peak of the dot com bubble, business strategy seemed a quaint relic from the past. Business strategy is now clearly back with a vengeance. The real question is: does business strategy have to adapt to changing needs? I focus on underlying economic forces and maintain that a different approach to strategy is required in times of high uncertainty. Drawing on examples from a variety of industries, I show where traditional strategic principles still apply and where they need to change. Most importantly, I lay out a basic approach to strategy that promises to improve both near-term economic performance and long-term advantage.

Pursuing the Right Innovation Agenda
Companies are beginning to realize that cost-cutting delivers diminishing returns. Executives are reassessing their innovation needs. Traditional forms of innovation – product innovation and managerial innovation are necessary but not sufficient. Growing competitive pressures require a more aggressive institutional innovation across multiple levels of business activity. In the process, the boundaries and even the role of the firm will be redefined. By pursuing this institutional innovation, companies will be much better positioned to pursue product and process innovation.

Transforming our Approach to Transformation
All large institutions will need to transform themselves in order to respond effectively to the long-term forces reshaping the global economy. The traditional “big bang, top down” approaches to transformation invariably run into the immune system and antibodies that work to subvert change in all existing institutions. I explore an alternative approach – scaling the edge – that is becoming much more feasible given the evolution of the global economy and that is much less likely to encounter the immune system and antibodies that make transformation so challenging.

The Untapped Opportunity of Leveraged Growth Companies are under increasing pressure to grow, yet they still fall back on two traditional paths to growth – organic growth and growth by acquisition. There’s a third path to growth – leveraged growth – which involves connecting with and mobilizing third parties to add more value to customers. This third path is economically attractive – requiring less investment up front and much shorter lead-times to growth – yet it is rarely on the management agenda.

From Business Processes to Business Practices
Our institutions have been pursuing business process reengineering for decades, striving to deploy ever more efficient business processes. The challenge is that, in a more rapidly changing and uncertain world, business processes can often become prisons, constraining effective action. Our evolving global economy calls for a shift to focusing on the business practices that small workgroups within large institutions can harness to address unexpected challenges and opportunities and learn faster in the workplace.

The New Imperative of Scalable Learning
As we confront a more rapidly changing world, anything we know today depreciates at an accelerating rate. In that kind of world, all institutions will need to harness the potential of scalable learning to accelerate performance improvement. The most valuable learning will not be in the training room but in the workplace. It will not be about sharing existing knowledge – instead, the focus will be on creating new knowledge faster together. This will require a systematic redesign of the work environment but the rewards will be significant.

Future of Work
There’s growing anxiety that the robots are going to take all of our jobs. That anxiety is justified but it needs to be balanced by a focus on the opportunity it creates to redefine work that is much more appropriate for humans, that taps into our curiosity, creativity, imagination and emotional and social intelligence. The transition will be challenging but those who lead the way will create enormous value.

Anticipating Disruption
For many, disruption is completely unpredictable and there is little one can do to prepare. While there will always be the unexpected disruptions, most of the disruptions ahead can be anticipated. But, in anticipating disruptions, we need to avoid the trap of going on the defensive. Instead, we need to find ways to harness the forces of disruption to create entirely new forms of value – the opportunity is far greater than the threat.

Cutting Costs: Turning a Necessity into an Opportunity
All businesses are being forced to cut operating costs just to stay in business. Most companies understandably approach this task with dread and a defensive mindset. The result? Cost reductions occur in painful increments, with each slice presented as the last, only to lead to the next slice. I make the case that management should approach cost reduction as an opportunity to fundamentally rethink the business, rather than trying to do the same thing with fewer resources. Instead of simply shrinking the business, management should be searching for ways to save money in the near-term while positioning the company for aggressive growth.

The Missed Opportunity in Digital Technology
We’re all scrambling to harness the potential of digital technology but most of us are missing the real opportunity. As companies proudly announce their “digital transformation” programs, it becomes apparent that for most of them this means deploying digital technology to do what they have always done faster, cheaper and more conveniently. This is much too narrow. The real opportunity is to use digital technology as a catalyst to address the most basic question of all: what business are we really in? Those who start with this question and who challenge their fundamental assumptions about what is required for success will be those who prevail.

Restructuring our Institutions
As competitive pressure mounts, we will need to achieve much higher levels of focus so that we can accelerate performance improvement. Today’s enterprises tightly bundle together three very different business types that have different skills, economics and cultures. The result is that executives spend most of their time trying to compromise across conflicting needs. To succeed in the evolving economy, companies will ultimately need to choose to focus on one of these business types and then shed the other two business types. This will actually be a pre-requisite for accelerated growth and drive an aggressive program of acquisitions and divestitures.

Focus on Fundamentals, not Fads
We have never experienced a more volatile economic or competitive environment. In times of high uncertainty, companies understandably tend to get carried away by a dizzying array of management fads. The dot com bubble is only the most recent example – remember the conglomerate craze of the 1970’s? To avoid distraction, management must stay focused on the economic fundamentals shaping our business landscape. I discuss these economic fundamentals and explore the implications for who will make money in the future. Building upon these economic fundamentals, I propose a set of guidelines to keep companies firmly focused on profitable business initiatives.

The Evolving Role of Brand
Customers wield increasing power in markets today. Rather than abating, this trend will only become more pronounced over time. To survive in these markets, companies will need to offer a new kind of brand promise. This brand promise creates an opportunity to build a more lasting relationship with customers and generate far more value both for the customer and for the business. At the same time, it requires wrenching changes for companies, including a much higher degree of collaboration with business partners. I present a compelling rationale for a new brand promise, discuss the changes required to deliver the new promise and describe the approach companies can take to implement these changes. Using examples from both consumer and business markets, I demonstrate the power of the new brand promise and the rewards it can generate.

The Untapped Power of Narrative
There’s been a lot of attention paid to the emotional power of stories but we have largely neglected the far greater power of narratives – and most of us are not even aware of the distinction between stories and narratives. Narratives play an important role at the individual, institutional and social levels but we need to become far more aware of what constitutes an effective narrative and how narratives emerge and evolve.

Pursuing Passion
Everyone is focused on worker engagement but that misses the far greater importance of passion. Passion is a term that is used far too loosely but there’s a specific form of passion – the passion of the explorer – that will increasingly determine who succeeds and who fails in the shifting economy. There are specific approaches that can be used to catalyze, draw out and nurture this kind of passion but it’s not even on the radar of most institutions today.

Speaking Engagement Examples

World Economic Forum (WEF)

WEF Davos Annual Meeting
– Speaker 1997-2003, 2006 and 2017
– Speaker and Panelist IT/Telecoms Industry Partner Meeting – 2005
WEF Annual Meeting of the New Champions – Speaker – 2014, 2016
WEF Annual Meeting of the Global Futures Councils – Speaker – 2016
WEF Global Growth Companies Summit – Speaker – 2012,2013, 2014

American Banking Association – 1999 – Speaker

ACORD LOMA – Insurance Systems Forum – Speaker – 2006

Alpbach European Forum – Speaker – 2015, 2016

AmplifyFestival – Speaker – 2011, 2014, 2015

AMR Research Annual Executive Conference

Aspen Institute

Aspen Ideas Festival – Speaker – 2009, 2010
Forum on Innovation – Speaker – 2010
Roundtable on Talent – Session Leader – 2008, 2009 and 2010
Roundtable on Institutional Innovation – Session Leader – 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Roundtable on Information Technology – Session Leader – 2001, 2004 and 2005

Association of National Advertisers – 1999 – Speaker

Banking Administration Institute – 2000 – Speaker

BEA – CIO Advisory Forum – 2003 – Speaker

Berkeley Innovation Forum – Speaker – 2010, 2015, 2016

Bloomberg Government Briefing – Speaker – 2012

BMC Software – Board of Advisors – 2002 – Speaker

BNY Mellon International Women’s Day event – Speaker – 2014

Boomer Summit – Speaker – 2013

Boston Club Corporate Advisory Board – Speaker – 2010

Build Brand Value – 2000 CEO Forum – 2000 – Speaker

Business 2.0 – Rules and Tools Conference – 2001 – Speaker

Business Innovation Factory
BIF Summit – Speaker – 2010, 2011, 2014, 2016

Business Process Sourcing Conference – 2005 – Speaker

Caterpillar Leadership Summit – Speaker – 2014

Chief Strategy Officer Roundtable – Speaker – 2016

Chinese Enterprise Association – Speaker – 2015

Churchill Club

Speaker – 2012
Panelist – 2004

Cisco – Innovation Summit – Speaker – 2011

Clinical Trials Congress – 2006 – Speaker

Comdex 2001 Technology Summit – 2001 – Speaker

Committee of 100 – Annual Conference – Speaker – 2010

Community 2.0 – Speaker – 2007

Conference Board
CIO Council – Speaker – 2016
Council of Talent Management – Speaker – 2010
Council on Social Media – Speaker – 2014
Future Skilling Your Workforce Research Working Group – Speaker – 2014

Connected Enterprise – Speaker – 2011, 2014

Consulting Summit – Speaker – 2005

Consumer Electronics Show – Speaker – 2016, 2017

Creativity in Business Conference – Speaker – 2011

Creativity in Business Telesummit – Speaker – 2012

Crimson – Investor Conference – Speaker – 2004

Dachis Group
Social Business Summit – Speaker – 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 

Deloitte

Americas Technology Conference – Speaker – 2014
Board Symposium – Speaker – 2017
CEO Summit (Amsterdam) – Speaker – 2013
CFO Roundtable – Speaker – 2008
CFO Vision – Speaker – 2012
CHRO Forum – Speaker – 2014
CIO Academy – Speaker – 2013, 2016
CLO Forum – Speaker – 2013, 2014, 2017
CLO Roundtable – Speaker – 2014
CLO Summit – Speaker – 2013
Consumer and Industrial Products Learning Summit – Speaker – 2008
Global Manufacturing Summit – Speaker – 2014
High Technology Executive Forum – Speaker – 2009
Internet of Things Roundtable – Speaker – 2014
M&A Executive Forum – Speaker – 2016, 2017
Private Company Symposium – Speaker – 2016
Strategy & Operations Summit –Speaker – 2012
World Meeting – Speaker – 2008

Dialog – Speaker – 2007, 2008, 2014

Dell – IT Leadership Conference – Speaker – 2004

Direct Marketing Association – Speaker – 1999

DLD Conference – Speaker – 2016

Dreamforce (Salesforce.com) – Speaker – 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016

Eclipse – Conference – Speaker – 2009

Economist

Human Potential Conference – Speaker – 2010 and 2011
Innovation Conference – Speaker – 2010

 Emerging Communications Conference – Speaker – 2010 

Enterprise 2.0 – Speaker – 2011

Enterprise 2.0 Council Learning Forum – Speaker – 2012

Executive Board Exchange – Speaker – 2014

Executive Forum Leadership Conference – Speaker – 2010

FAST – Forward Conference – Speaker – 2008

FOO Camp – Speaker – 2010

Fortune Brainstorm – Speaker – 2008 and 2010

Fortune 500 Forum – Speaker – 2008

Fortune Innovation Forum  – Panelist – 2005

FiRe (Future in Review) Conference – Speaker – 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Future Insight 2030 (Oslo) – Speaker – 2017 

G50 – Speaker – 2007 (interviewed by Larry Bossidy)

G100 – Speaker – 2006 (interviewed by Jack Welch), 2009, 2010, 2011

GE Minds + Machines Conference – Speaker – 2015

GigaOm

Future of Work – Speaker – 2010
Roadmap – Speaker – 2012
Structure – Speaker – 2010 and 2011 

Global Peter Drucker Forum – Speaker – 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Google TechTalk – Speaker – 2015

Google ThinkCloud Conference – Speaker – 2013

Grocery Manufacturers of America – Speaker – 1999

Group Insurance Presidents Forum – Speaker – 2015

Haas/Berkeley – Open Innovation Seminar – Speaker – 2010

Harvard Business School

Burning Questions – 2000 and 2002
Innovative Leadership Forum – Panelist – 2002
Panelist Bottom Line Technology – Speaker – 2002
Webinar – Speaker – 2010

Hewlett Packard

Corporate Leaders Forum – Speaker – 2004
Asia Pacific Manufacturing Symposium – Speaker – 2004

Houston Neighborhood Centers – Speaker – 2013

Highlands Forum – Speaker – 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012

Humanity Plus – Speaker – 2010

i4j Summit – Speaker – 2015, 2016

IDG – CIO India Symposium – Speaker – 2006

Industry Convergence Customer Strategy Summit – Speaker – 2007

Innovation Summit [AlwaysOn] – Panel Moderator – 2003

Informatica – International User Conference – Speaker – 2004

Infosys

Client Executive Summit – Speaker – 2005
Confluence Conference – Speaker – 2006

Internet Global Conference – Speaker – 2007

Intersection – Speaker – 2012

Investments in Russian IT Companies (St. Petersburg) – Speaker – 2011

IT Conversations That Matter (Harvard Business Review) – Speaker – 2012

ITSMA Marketing Leadership Forum – Speaker – 2007

Knowledge Facilitation Conference – Speaker – 2005

Kinnernet Avallon – Speaker – 2015, 2016

Maker Con – Speaker – 2014

Maker Summit –Speaker – 2014

Marketing Leadership Council – Speaker – 2001

Marketing on the Internet  – Speaker – 2001

Marketing Science Institute  – Speaker – 2000

McKinsey – Global Partners Conference – Speaker – 2005

Microsoft

Executive Circle Forum – Speaker – 2002 and 2003
CEO Summit – Speaker – 2003
CEO Summit – Panelist – 2004
CEO Summit – Speaker and Session Leader VC Summit – 2005
Global Leaders Summit – Panelist – 2003
Executive Circle Forum – Speaker Web Services Seminar – 2002 and 2003
Architects Council – Speaker – 2003

with Michael Dell at the Microsoft CEO Summit 2003

Milken Institute

Global Conference – Speaker – 2017 and Panelist – 2001

MIT Media Lab CEO Forum – Speaker – 2015

MIT Stanford Venture Lab – Speaker – 2009

Narrative Summit – Speaker – 2016

NASSCOM – India Leadership Forum – Speaker – 2007

NMX Business Next Social Conference – Speaker – 2013

Nokia – Ideas Camp – Speaker – 2010

Norwest Venture Partners – Forum – Speaker – 2005

Open Network For Commerce Exchange – Speaker – 2003

Orange Institute – Workshop Speaker – 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013

PC Forum

Speaker North America – 1997
Panelist Europe – 1997
Panelist North America – 2002, 2003, 2005

Personalization Summit

San Francisco – Speaker – 1999, 2000
Boston – Speaker – 2000
London – Speaker – 2000
San Francisco – Speaker – 2000

Pivot Conference – Speaker – 2014

PowerShift – Speaker – 2017

Platform Strategy Summit (MIT) – Speaker – 2014

Public Sector Summit (Australia) – Speaker – 2014

Renaissance Weekend – Speaker – 2017

Research Board – Speaker – 2003

Santa Fe Institute – Annual Business Network Symposium – Speaker – 2008, 2012

SAP Business Forum

New York  – Speaker – 2003
San Francisco – Speaker – 2003

Scala – Corporate Client Council – Speaker – 2002

Securities Industry Association –Technology Management Conference – Speaker – 2000

Securities Industry Institute Leadership Conference – Speaker – 2014

SIBOS (SWIFT) – Speaker – 2010, 2012, 2016

Silicon Valley Executive Summit – Speaker – 2008 

Singularity University

Executive Education Programs – Speaker – 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Exponential Finance Conference – Speaker – 2017
Exponential Manufacturing Conference – Speaker – 2016, 2017
Innovation Partners Program – Speaker – 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Singularity University Global Summit – Speaker – 2016
Singularity University Summit (Amsterdam) – Speaker – 2014
Singularity University Summit (Berlin) – Speaker – 2017
Singularity University Summit (Budapest) – Speaker – 2013
Singularity University Summit (Johannesburg) – Speaker – 2015

Social Business Edge – Speaker – 2010

Social Business Forum – Speaker – 2012

Socialtext – Webinar – Speaker – 2010

Software and Information Industry Association – NetGain Conference – Speaker – 2008

Spacenet – Executive Summit – 2004 – Speaker

SRC – Annual User and Partner Conference – Speaker – 2003

Stanford University

Globalization of Services Conference – Moderator – 2005
Media-X Seminar – Speaker – 2010

Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum – Speaker – 2008

Structured Finance – Speaker – 2015

Supernova

Panelist – 2003
Speaker – 2004
Speaker – 2007
Speaker – 2009

SXSW – Speaker – 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

Techonomy Annual Conference – Speaker – 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015

Techonomy Detroit Conference – Speaker – 2015

TEDUniversity – Speaker – 2011

TEDxBayArea – Speaker – 2010

TEDxWestlake – Speaker – 2012

TEDxWomen – Speaker – 2010

United Arab Emirates GCC E-Commerce Conference  Speaker – 2005

University of Southern California CTM Executive Roundtable – Speaker – 2014

Visa Global Commercial Conference – Speaker – 2013

Volkswagen Group IT Leadership Conference – Speaker – 2014

Vortex – 2004 – Panelist

Warburg Pincus – 14th Annual Tech Conference – Speaker – 2007

Wharton

Forum on Electronic Commerce – 2000
Winners and Losers in the E-Commerce Shakeout – Speaker –  2000
The Internet, E-Strategies and Virtual Communities – Speaker – 2001
Speaker Fellows Program – Speaker – 2000–2002
Leadership Conference – Speaker – 2010
Fellows Master Class – Speaker – 2013

Wipro – Customer Forum – Speaker – 2006

World Bank Knowledge Talks – Speaker – 2013

World Future Society – Speaker – 2015

World Technology Summit – Speaker – 2012

Yammer Customer Advisory Board – Speaker – Speaker – 2012

Young Presidents Organization

Panelist – 1999
Panelist – 2005


Search