GCLS Quotes – Day 1

September 23, 2009

I am in NYC participating as a delegate in the Global Creative Leadership Summit led by the Louis Blouin Foundation. Attending are 100 fascinating people ranging from Prime Ministers to business leaders.

Over the course of 3 days there are a number of conversations on topics related to improving the world.

Here are some of the interesting tid bits I picked up over the first day. Everything here is a paraphrase rather than a direct quote. And please forgive any inaccuracies.

Louise Blouin

  • We had a value crisis, not a financial crisis. That is, there was a crisis and values
  • Cyber weapons and bio weapons are our biggest threat. Bio weapons could lead to a September 11 type catastrophe every month.
  • A problem of our neighbors is our problem
  • If you get big bonuses when things go well, you should give money back to the company when things go wrong. We need to increase the level of accountability

Michael Chertoff, Former Secretary of Homeland Security

  • Barriers to do damage have dropped
  • We need to establish accountabilities (e.g., Libya with the Lockerbie bombing or Somalia with piracy)
  • Bio terrorism and cyber terrorism are the greatest threats
  • Global response needs to be one step at a time to demonstrate positive outcomes. Tackling things that are too big don’t move us forward.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo – Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court

  • The challenge is how to improve global governance in places where there is no government.
  • Another challenge is that we need global agreements that take into consideration local needs

Pasqual Lamy – Director General, World Trade Organization

  • Investing in health care will help global trade in the long run. Because if jobs are lost due to trade, at least people have health coverage.
  • There is a clash between the international and domestic agenda (e.g., cotton subsidies)

Dr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn – Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

  • Peace and economic stability are intertwined. Peace is needed for growth. And growth is needed for peace.
  • Expects economic recovery in 1st half of 2010. Growth will resume. But the social crisis (e.g., lost jobs) will last longer.
  • 90 million people went back into poverty due to the economic crisis – mostly from Africa.
  • Economic instability could lead to wars. And wars lead to economic disaster. 1 year of civil war costs on average 2.5% of GDP
  • Avoiding war is the key to economic stability

Prime Minister of Netherlands Jan Peter Balkenende

  • Prosperity at any price and soft living contributed to our current situation
  • The crisis can be a catalyst for change if we change the culture. Self interests hurt the system.
  • We must end the “get rich quick” theory of life

Stanley Bergman, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Henry Schein

  • 13,000 employees participate are involved in an intrapreneurship culture.
  • Philanthropy is a big part of the company’s philosophy

John Copelyn, CEO, Hosken Consolidated Investments

  • To create innovation, you need a long term vision and a vision beyond your own wallet

Mark Angelson, Chairman, MidOcean Partners

  • This was not a depression. It was a deleveraging
  • We need to move to more preventative measures such as paying for wellness rather than sickness
  • The growth areas are: 1) Healthcare, 2) Clean Tech, 3) Rebuilding infrastructure

Ali Velshi, Chief Business Correspondent, CNN

  • He described the cause of the recession to a group of kids as follows… It was caused by consuming less than was made and spending more than was earned.

Lex Fenwick, CEO, Bloomberg Ventures

  • New employment will come from new businesses rather than existing businesses
  • Employees are afraid to bring new ideas.  This stifles innovation.
  • He added that “private education” is another growth opportunity area

Ted Turner, CNN Founder and philanthropist

  • I read the Economist (and it sounds like that is his primary source of news)
  • I drive a Prius
  • If I could run CNN and the Cartoon Network at same time, Congress can deal with health care and climate change at same time

Other distinguished guests included:

  • H.E. Shaukat Aziz, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan
  • President Michelle Bachelet of Chile

For other quotes, go to the GCLS Twitter feed

To learn more about the event, go to the Global Creative Leadership Summit website.

My session is Friday morning…

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Two Book Deal with Penguin’s Portfolio Books

September 22, 2009

Today I signed a two book deal with Penguin’s Portfolio imprint.  They are the publishers of excellent books including all of Seth Godin’s books and “The Back of the Napkin.”

The first book, “Personality Poker,” is scheduled to be in book stores September 2010. The book will be packaged with a deck of cards. The commercially published book will be completely different than the instruction manual you currently get when you buy the Personality Poker System.

The second book is a completely re-written version of “The Little Book of BIG Innovation Ideas” and is expected to be published March 2011.

I will keep you updated on some of the exciting research we are doing in conjunction with the book writing.  Stay tuned!

P.S.  Thanks to my literary agent, Bonnie Solow.  I feel honored and blessed to be working with her…

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What Does This Say?

September 16, 2009

A friend of mine has a very cool T-shirt business.  To promote their products, they developed a set of interesting bumper stickers, including the one below.  I like the design because it involves emblems from playing cards, reminding me of my Personality Poker product.

So, what does this say?

To answer the question, you have to stand on your head and read the image.  Or maybe turn your computer screen upside down.  Or, easiest of all, visit their website.  The URL is the answer.

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Weight of Soft Drinks Shipped > Weight of Cars Shipped

September 8, 2009

Last week I had a fantastic meeting with the CEO of a mid-sized energy company. We had a number of fascinating conversations ranging from Personality Poker, Open Innovation, and alternative energy.

In the meeting, I was drinking my “caffeine in a can” – a diet cola.

The CEO pointed at my soft drink and said that it was one of the worst energy hogs.

He pointed out that years ago, Coke was sold as syrup (in fact, it was originally sold for medicinal purposes). The carbonated water was added at the point of sale (e.g., the pharmacy or soda shop). Less energy was expended in the packaging process. Less material was used for the packaging itself. But more importantly, less energy was used in shipping.

After doing some digging, I found that, according to one website, 500ml of syrup makes the equivalent of 12 liters. That means that a can of cola contains <5% syrup and over 95% carbonated water. According to one study, nearly 300 billion liters of soft drinks are sold a year. Hoovers research shows that only 35% of that is from fountain sales.

Ok, so let’s do some math.

A liter of soft drink weights approximately 1 kilogram. This means that a liter is over 2.1 pounds of water, and .1 pounds of syrup. At 65% bottle/cans (excluding the 35% fountain sales), this is over 400 billion pounds of carbonated water needlessly shipped with the syrup. Let’s not forget the weight of the cans/bottles. To put this in context, this is the weight of 100 million cars. In 2007, 16 million cars, SUVs and trucks were sold in the US. Every car sold in the United States over the past 6 years weighs less than the weight of the excess water shipped EVERY year with bottled soft drinks.

Enough of the math. I could attempt to calculate the average distance the bottles travel and the amount of fuel required for transportation, but I just don’t have the time. And I suspect you get the idea.

What do you do about it?

  • Of course advocates are trying to reduce the amount of soft drinks we consume. But so far nothing points to that being a successful strategy.
  • Encourage people to buy and use soda machines. There are several companies that provide this type of product.  You buy the machine, the syrup and the gas cartridges.
  • Another option might be to find a solution similar to Crystal Light “On-the Go.” The challenge is adding carbonation to a powder. While eating Pop Rocks Candy the other day, I realized that there must be a way of addressing this.

Of course there are many more possible solutions. But the solution is not the point of this article.

Innovation is about asking better question. It is about surfacing the hidden assumptions. When looking at issues (environmental, business, or personal), sometimes you need to question everything…even the can of soda in your hand.

P.S. Soft drinks account for the largest percentage of the “liquid refreshment beverage” market. This article did not even include the oft-maligned bottled water industry, which is smaller in size. Do you want to know how far your bottled water traveled to go to you? Check out this article.

P.P.S. I am not suggesting we eliminate soft drinks.  My consumption of diet cola – especially first thing in the morning – is one of my guilty pleasures!

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