Top 10 Lessons from PopTech, version 1.0


Change is not an event. It is a constant. Three days at PopTech make that abundantly clear. Sixty-five speakers, any of whose ideas could significantly change your business. Then there are the 400+ attendees off whom those ideas bounce in animated and brilliant directions.

How do we make sense of all this research, all these trends, all these innovations – both good and bad? The first lesson of PopTech is that you can’t. And because one person cannot keep track of this complexity, it requires a certain type of management approach to engage as many people as possible in this task.

It is also clear that the best people out there are looking for companies and organizations that promote this engaged business environment. Even in these difficult employment times, folks are walking away from companies who don’t respect their contributions.

Again and again, we heard success stories from companies, non-profits and NGOs that told of smart leaders using an understanding of how people Think, Act and Feel to break through gridlock.

So if you want to be the leader of that “Engaged and Enriched Business Environment,” here is my current Top 10 lessons I’ve put to use since PopTech, besides “Camden, Maine, is beautiful in Autumn.” As the weeks go on, this list may change so stay tuned. In the meantime, see if and how they may apply to your work and life.

1. People are really tired of other people being certain. – Dr. David Eagleman

2. Company. Verb. Target. Outcome. Keep it simple and keep it clear.

3. Know your mission; measure the right things; measure them well. – Kevin Starr, Mulago Foundation

4. Leaders need to embrace “the permanent possibility of someone else having a better idea.” – Kathryn Schulz, author, “Being Wrong”

5. When something goes wrong, first answer these questions: What happened? Who has been affected? What now? How do we prevent this from happening again? There will be plenty of time to affix blame.

6. Local analogies work best when trying to fix a problem; Regional analogies work best when trying to innovate; and Long Distance analogies help explain things. – Kevin Dunbar, researcher

6. One important thing we’ve learned from fMRI research: Data you don’t like, you don’t process.

7. Donald Ingbar has the best job in the world: www.wyss.harvard.edu

8. The future is here, its just not evenly distributed. – Lisa Gansky, author of The Mesh

9. You can’t have accountability without some significant level of autonomy.

10. Emotions shouldn’t drive most of our decisions AND they are critical data for making good decisions.

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