The keynote speaker at the 2013 Special Libraries Association annual conference in San Diego was Mike Walsh, a futurist and author of the book Futuretainment. He did a great job of highlighting some of the challenges we face as the future continues to open new opportunities for information professionals.
As his website proclaims, Walsh
is a leading authority on building business for the 21st century. Constantly traveling the world for the best ideas, Mike combines insights into emerging technology with a pragmatic ‘how-to’ approach to change that provides global business leaders with a roadmap for the future.
One of the key take-aways for me was the idea of a “mind grenade.” Most of us are familiar with the concept of something being so interesting, provocative, or revolutionary that it is “mind-blowing.” That catch-phrase has evolved, so now a great idea is like an explosive device for your gray matter – a mind grenade. Walsh rolled several of those into the crowd, and true to form, they made me think.
In one example, Walsh pointed out that we all have customers that are hung up on a particular pain point – products that don’t gain traction, statistics that are contradictory, or processes that don’t seem to be adapted to an agile, fast-changing workplace. To solve the problem, rather than bringing in more technical experts or marketing professionals, entrepreneurial companies are working with anthropologists and ethnographers. After all, what could be more enlightening than advice from someone who studies the science of humanity?
When you think about it, anthropologists should have some real answers for problems we face in connecting with consumers, so Walsh promoted that as a mind grenade. Here is the rest of his example:
Walsh continually exploded data points and pushed the audience past the normal trajectory of incremental change. This is a very valuable tool for exploring new of thinking and to become Future Ready! Here few of Mike Walsh’s other mind grenades :
- If your kids had your job, what is the one thing they would do differently?
- If you were to map the network patterns of your best people, would they match your official org chart and titles?
- What is the one big data insight about your business that would make your CEO sit up quick enough to spill his coffe?
You get the idea—so now go out make some mind grenades of your own!