Innovation Summit #BIF2015

by Louis on September 21, 2015

I am processing my experience at the Business Innovation Factory annual Innovation Summit. This is their 11th year but my first time.  I did not know what to expect. Saul Kaplan, BIF’s warm, modest leader doesn’t say much but is clearly the beloved and respected catalyst. The format is unusual….. dare I say innovative? This is not a nuts and bolts conference. The deliverable is inspiration. I haven’t transcribed my notes yet, but feel compelled to share. You see, in gratitude for their gifts I need to take action. Writing, a first step, is not enough.

The ‘speakers’ are remarkable. But that’s not the point.  They are not lecturing on the details of their programs, organizations or projects.  They are called storytellers. They are encouraged to tell stories, their stories. And to leverage their remarkable stories, the time between sessions…the breaks are designed to fertilize the inspiration by “random collisions of unusual suspects” #RCUS. The storytellers are available. Everyone is talking, trying to synthesize. “What is your favorite story so far?” a common question is difficult..hence this ‘process’ blog.

Who/What spoke to me?

Of course I was thrilled to see Alexander Osterwalder. His books, Business Model Generation and Value Proposition Design are always on my desk, the canvases at the ready to clarify my thinking. No surprise, but always a surprise, Alex was open, engaging friendly. Another hero bites the dust? Not at all. He is the best kind of hero and mentor- a normal human!

Robin Chase, a co-founder of Zipcar talked about excess capacity…Zipcar, AirB&B, Uber… her thesis and new book, Peers Inc is that the sharing economy is about putting excess capacity to work through platforms (inc) and peers. Senior housing?  We don’t need to build more, we need to put what we have to work by revitalizing and connecting. I downloaded the audio version of the book for my drive home.

Basit Chaudhry talked about medical care disconnected from real patients. I was thrilled when he said, “Maybe an architect and carpenter need to be  in the treatment plan for hip replacement.” I wanted to pump my fist and SCREAM “Here I am!” I spoke to Dr. Chaudhry. He lives near me! We will get together soon!

Chris Emdin uses rap music to engage students in science learning. “They are both other languages, why not make the connection!” He asked what was the moment in your life that brought you to be who you are? He knows his 8 year old moment watching the grammys that makes him need to change the world.

I know mine too. It was the first earth day, when I saw the power of people to make change. But knowing that is not enough. I asked an unusual suspect randomly walking next to me from the theater after Chris’s session how I am supposed to transform my earth day experience into action?

She gave me a clear answer.  Step off the curb.

I know that is right. Whether it is the traffic of my own fear, the traffic of   business as usual in aging services, policy and programming I need to innovate across, or the traffic of social media I watch rush by instead of learning to use, I feel newly inspired to step off the curb and make change happen!

Thanks to all the storytellers, the Business Innovation Factory, all the lovely and engaging random suspects with whom I spoke and Leigh Ann Cappello who convinced me to attend.


Harvard Medical School says….

June 29, 2015
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Harvard Medical School’s Health Beats lists modifying your house as the first of six ways you can prepare to age well. The Harvard Joint Center for Housing studies said about the same thing in a report I wrote about in September 2014. That was housing studies talking about housing. Not such a big deal. This […]

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Environments for Aging Conference Report

April 22, 2015
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This was the first time I attended the Environments for Aging Conference. I saw some long time colleagues and friends from the aging in place world but most who attend this conference work in the the facilities/multi-unit/purpose built side of housing and care. Of course there are contrasts between these two spheres but we share […]

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Meeting of the Ways

April 10, 2015
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The annual Environments for Aging conference, in Baltimore this year April 18-21, is the only place where folks from the senior housing facilities world get together with folks from the Aging in Place/Long Term Care @Home world. This conference is a shining example of reaching across the aisle to learn, share and grow from those with […]

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Aging in Community at American Society on Aging

March 20, 2015
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I attended the very first Aging in Place ‘track’ at the American Society on Aging annual conference more than 20 years ago. There were four or five sessions in the track. The same six of us trooped together from session to session…that was all there was and we were all there was too. This year […]

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Aging in Place on Radio

March 13, 2015
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I strongly recommend this great talk radio discussion on Aging in Place. Star interviewer Kojo Nnamdi had wise architect/commentator/cartoonist Roger K.Lewis and DC Office on Aging head Dr.  John Thompson in for a  thoughtful, on point exploration of the issues. I encourage you to listen.

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Why not use Behavioral Economics?

February 20, 2015
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Not being an economist I never really thought people act rationally. I don’t. I don’t know anyone who does. Most people go with their gut…otherwise we would all buy the same stuff, take the same vacations. That doesn’t mean we can’t know about buying patterns and decisions. The newish field of Behavioral Economics gets a […]

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Aging in: Place?/Community?/???

January 5, 2015
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Language is important. Aging in Place and Aging in Community mean different things to each person who hears them. Then think about livable community, age friendly city, encore careers, productive aging and many other descriptors. Which is the right approach to aging for society and individuals? And which verbage to describe that to whom? I […]

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Learned in 2014

December 18, 2014
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At the risk of being a pariah in aging circles I see my most significant 2014 lessons bucking mainstream aging network mindset, policy and funding priorities. Dots are emerging. Our job is to connect those dots for good change. 1. Too much of gerontology – the field of study, the service offerings and infrastructure and […]

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But do they know the territory?

December 8, 2014
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I was entranced by The Music Man as a kid. The story is great. The music is wonderful. I love the opening scene with the ‘clickety clackety’ of salesmen rhythmically complaining about a guy who “doesn’t know the territory”. I was reminded of it the other day talking to two entrepreneurs at an Aging 2pint0 […]

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