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The Lineup of Ideas

While I was listening to the live stream of the Aspen Ideas Festival (because my track had not started yet so I couldn’t be ‘in’ the room) I inadvertently heard the theme to what I’m going to be experiencing

Planned Serendipity

Leave it to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh to drop the knowledge on his Theory of Serendipity: creating collision opportunities in planned environments so that you can accelerate serendipity, and therefore collaboration, creativity and idea generation. (more on this concept when I tackle his Downtown Project)

While I don’t think I’ll be head on running into people around the Aspen Institute campus (tho I might, because I am socially awkward in foreign locales and also quite the klutz), I do see the collision opportunities. Hell, even before my track has started I’ve been close enough for some amazing OH moments with Justice Elena Kagan, astronaut Anousheh Ansari and a table of folks from the CDC.

Plus – the lineup of ideas I’ve selected for the 3.5 days takes me out of my comfort zone and into different fields. Here’s the plan so far:

    Saturday, June 29
  • Afternoon of Conversation:
  • Featuring House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Henry Paulson on Sustainable Urbanization, Eric Lander of the Human Genome Project, Playwriight Anna Deavere Smith, Violinist Robert McDuffie, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, and Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan

  • Fire and Lights:
  • Mankind Illuminating the Cosmos at the Planetarium

  • Bay Lights| the Most Remarkable Public Art Project in America:
  • Artist Leo Villareal discussing his light sculpture in San Francisco

      Sunday, June 30

  • Experts are Passé, What About Leaders:
  • Andrew McAfee, Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business

  • The Future of Your TV:
  • Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, fmr FCC Chair Julius Genachowski & Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton

  • With All This Data, Will We Come to the Right Conclusions?:
  • RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson, MIT Director Andrew McAfee, MAYA Design CEO Mickey McManus

  • Your Brain on Stories|Why You are Hardwired to Think and Learn through Storytelling:
  • Master Storyteller & Consultant Kendall Haven

  • Matter of Debate|Is Privacy Paramount or Should We Live in a Transparent Society?:
  • Legal Affairs Editor of The New Republic Jeffrey Rosen, Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu. (This is underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton, which I find awesome & timely

  • Envision, Invent, Inspire:
  • Three PhD candidates from MIT Media Lab present their research.

  • Designing the Human Interface:
  • CCO of Jawbone & CEO of fuseproject Yves Behar, CEO of Nest Tony Fadell, CEO of Flipboard Mike McCue, CEO of Path Dave Morin

  • Build on It|Designing Our Educated Future:
  • Los Angeles USD Superintendent John Deasy, CEO New Classrooms Innovation Partners Joel Rose

  • The Literature of War|Who Gets to Tell the Story?:
  • Author Lea Carpenter, Author Ben Fountain, Author Karl Marlantes

  • What does it Mean to be a Journalist in the age of PRISM and Wikileaks?:
  • Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, HuffPost Editorial Director Howard Fineman, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus, Finance & Economics Editor of The Guardian Heidi Moore, WSJ Weekedn Review Editor Gary Rosen

      Monday, July 1

  • NPR’s “Tell Me More”:
  • Live show with John E. Deasy, Anand Giridharadas, Steve Inskeep, Shirley Ann Jackson, Joel Klein, Madeline Levine, Paul Tough

  • Beautiful Complexity|Design, Business and Technology in the Age of Trillions:
  • CEO OF MAYA Design Mickey McManus

  • The Cool War|The Future of Global Competition:
  • Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman

  • Surprising Synergies|Game Makers, Policy Makers, and Educators:
  • CEO of ESA Michael Gallagher, CEO of Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars Jane Harman, CEO of Dreambox Learning Jessie Wooley-Wilson

  • Art in a Post-Conflict Society:
  • Fmr CEO Viacon Tom Freston, CEO of Moby Group Saad Mohseni, CEO of Season of Cambodia Phloeun Prim

  • Crowdsourcing Solutions to Messy Problems:
  • TED Curator Chris Anderson

  • Future Footprints|Expansive Landscapes and Enduring Cultures for the 21st Century:
  • National Geographic Fellows Sean Gerrity and Chris Rainier

      Tuesday, July 2

  • The Rise and Fall of Curiosity:
  • Williams College Senior Lecturer Susan Engel

  • The Rule of Law on the Move|Challenges and Disasters:
  • Associate Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

  • Love It or Leave It|Can You Design Love into Your Brand?:
  • PepsiCo Chief Design Officer Mauro Porcini

  • Activism Anew| Dispatches from the Front Lines of the War on Women:
  • Jane Harman, Author Courtney Martin, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards

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    Off for a Little Inspiration & Intimidation

    It’s early and I’m airport-bound.

    Destination – Aspen.

    Not for a celebrity jaunt – though I am sure I will see a few rich & famous folk.

    I’m headed to the annual Aspen Ideas Festival, “…a conversation-packed exploration of some of the most important ideas and pressing issues we face.”

    How can you not be energized by a description like that? The issues on tap, the mix of conversation opportunities and the amazing speakers on the lineup awed – and intimidated – me.

    This is year two of my quest to attend gatherings that challenge and expand my thinking.

    Last year? World Domination Summit.

    This time around, more inspiration than domination.

    Ideas, pure and simple, can be inspirational. They can plant seeds where none existed. They can morph an existing thought into quite another. They can introduce us to worlds of thinking we have never considered, thought about, imagined… And that’s why we like to share them!

    Here’s to serendipity, planting seeds and doing epic shit.

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    My Ode to Making Sausage

    Whoever said that no one likes to see sausage made is wrong.

    Well, at least in my Maker Mind.

    Thanks to Ignite Boise for giving me the platform and opportunity to share why I think every business manager needs to take a little time to make some sausage.

    Here is the original overview of the Ignite talk:

    I believe passionately that it’s imperative for every desk jockey, managerial ‘buck-stops-here’er’ to get their hands dirty and make sausage…literally.

    A world of meetings, strategic exercises, emails and conference calls have blunted our senses and neutered our ability to truly create something. Without the joy of creation, our ability to think creatively is stunted.

    Every business founder, owner, leader or manager needs to commit to creating, crafting, producing, building or cranking out something physical weekly.

    This is my call to pull out the meat grinders and canvases, knitting needles and shovels and get your hands dirty.

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    Bridget’s 2013 Resolution: Dance with zebras!

    Also known as

    State the incredible

    Believe nothing is impossible

    Search for serendipity

    Have big beautiful goals

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    Commit. Create. Content.

    I love the natural times in a year for a reset.

    Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Birthdays, Anniversaries, unplugged vacations.

    Those calendar prompts to reassess where your life is, and where you’d like it to go. To purge the unnecessary from your life; to open up to possibility; to identify the important; to free space up for serendipity.

    A nod once again to Chris Brogan, whose post on his 3 Words a few years ago inspired a tradition for me.

    It’s about boiling down the things I want to focus on to three words. Often you’ll find that they have a natural synergy with that long list of resolutions you may be writing up. And they are pretty dang handy for a mantra to keep within eyesight.

    My 3 Words for 2013 | Commit. Create. Content.
    (Can you tell I’m a sucker for alliteration?)

    Commit I’m a master at passionately discussing a point, a side, an idea, an argument. But where I often fall short is committing to seeing it through. Yes, I’m a CEO and entrepreneur – so I must have followed through at one point! But nowadays my focus has been a bit off. My commitment to projects I believe in has waned. I want it back. Getting fit. Getting that book written. Taking that nugget of an idea beyond the brainstorm phase. I’m going to commit to them and more. Which leads me to my second word of the year…

    Create I’ve been noodling over this idea for another IgniteBoise presentation – Why Every Business Owner Needs to Make Sausage. I do mean literally, make sausage (see photo evidence to the left.) It’s about the need for us desk jockeys and business owners to move beyond the email, the conference call, the office meetup and the strategy meeting. While all are important, many of us (author included) have moved away from the joy and satisfaction that comes in creating something tangible on a regular basis. At the end of every day, have you created something that will live beyond that day? That will live outside of you? That can be passed along and shared? Be it a poem, a meal, a painting, a sweater, a video, a photograph, a home improvement project or a blog post. And that takes me to the third word…

    Content I’ve been fighting against this word in various ways for sometime. It sounds unsexy to me, uninspiring, unimportant. I much prefer ‘storytelling’. But I’ve come to realize it is not all about a story. Sometimes, it is about facts visualized, or a turn of a phrase, or complexity explained in common language, or an experience shared or a question answered… More than anything – this word encompasses what is most important to me and to my profession, and to where innovation is taking us. Beyond the channels, beyond the ‘social xyz’, beyond the technology… It’s about what we put out into the world – through images, video, audio, written word. It’s about the content. Come to think of it, it always has been. But we often stray away it – lured by the shiny object dangling in the distance.

    So my mantra for 2013, my 3 words that will be my touchstone this year – Commit. Create. Content.

    What are yours?

     

     

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    40 Things to Say Before You Die

    “Before you’re sprawled on your deathbed, there are some things you really have to say. They’re not complicated. They’re not poetry.

    They’re just short sentences with big meaning.

    I hope they get you talking.”

    - Jessica Hagy

    Pause. Read. Absorb. Do. | 40 Things to Say Before You Die

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    Office Inspiration

    A short & sweet post about inspiration, inspired by my talented friend Tim Walker in Austin, Texas (love his blog descriptionBrutal honesty, kindly delivered from a working writer in the corporate world.)

    Tim shared the Inspiration Above His Desk  and asked his readers what they kept in view of their desk for inspiration. Here goes…

    Here’s the immediate view from my desk. Those above-the-door prompts are quite possibly the most important words I read all day. Breathe. Exhale. It’s amazing what those two actions can do to calm a frantic mind. The red wall showcases our agency’s values - and I love the snippets framed by my entry – Fun, Delivering & Perseverance.

    I adore Nikki McClure. The talent she embodies in being able to create these pieces (intricate paper cutting using an xacto knife) is amazing in itself. But the clean, clear simplicity of what her pieces say is why they adorn my wall.

    You might say I have some anger issues. Or maybe it’s just unrestrained enthusiasm. Either way, speed bags in the office are always a good idea.

    Next two images are from my favorite image-a-day-inspiration-sources.

    This Focus gem from Behavior Gap’s Carl Richards...

    …and this validation from Gaping Void’s Hugh MacLeod that I’m not alone.

    And finally, front and center on my bookshelf, a gentle reminder that all things are possible.

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    3 Words

    I often share with folks with my concept of sherpas. Finding those people whose opinions, insights and path you respect. They are out in front cutting trail and you can take their path and be part of their journey – learning and growing along the way.

    I consider Chris Brogan one of my sherpas – (along with Tac Anderson, who I affectionately think of as ‘The Original Sherpa.’ Heck, that would make a great t-shirt!)

    Do I always agree with the insights these two share or the path they are going down? No. But they always get me thinking, force me to revaluate my position, my opinions and develop stronger strategies and insights of my own.

    Case in point – I really enjoyed the concept of 3 Words that Chris shared last week…“I come up with three words that I use as guidance for how I should conduct my efforts in the year to come. I set goals around these three words. I build deadlines and projects around these words…”

    I have trouble setting resolutions. They’ve never really sat right with me. But I love a good mantra. And I love ’3′s. 3 words? I can get behind that, stick to that and be inspired and focused through that. Per Chris’ guidance on coming up with your 3…

    “Pick three words that help you the way a lighthouse helps a ship in a storm. Give yourself a word that guides you towards a powerful new opportunity, and that keeps you focused on what comes of this year. Use these words as starting points for tangible goals, SMART goals that can be measured and have dates to accomplish tasks by. These words sit above the actual goals, and set your guiding principles in place.”

    Here are my 3 Words for 2011

     

    Bones. Breath. Reach.

    Bones - because this is a year where I need to really get the bones of the house in order, the infrastructure, the stability upon which to continue to build our agency. Growth has been good and good to us. Unstructured and unsupported growth would not be.

    Breath - because besides needing to stop holding my breathe all the dang time I need to remember to take a breath first. Before I react, before I interrupt, before I dismiss an idea, before I say yes, before I say no.

    Reach - because this year I need to extend my reach. Reach beyond the comfort zones of the groups and connections I have made to date. Expand my reach in my industry, expand the reach of my voice, reach for new opportunities.