A big announcement before launching into today's Fit by Five - we have it on good authority from Andy Sernovitz of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association that these two jobs are begging for professional gals or pals to snatch them up:
Now, on to the Fit by Five from the FORTUNE Forum... 5 Outstanding Things about the Forum and 5 Things We Think They Could Do Better Next Year.
5 Outstanding Things about the Forum
1. They dove into their blog head first, not feet first. Jane congratulates FORTUNE for recognizing the true value of blogging. It's about the people. ALL the people - not just CEOs or best-selling authors or folks with 'innovative' titles.
The Forum continues, even now, after the conference, to offer excellent content, real conversations, and even podcasts. Wow! Jane thinks she's in love!
2. The Innovation Conference was really about innovation. It wasn't just a group of business men and women talking innovation. The panelists, both male and female, gave sound advice (such as: Linda Sanford from IBM saying, "It's all about innovation that matters, that solves real business problems." And, repeated comments on giving your business over to the customer; finding ways to attract and keep innovative workers; using the collective minds of our retirees; recognizing the value of "productive friction.")
3. Towards the end, the talk turned to 'social responsibility'. A focus we hear the next generation is especially tuned in to. Talk centered around the fact that young people are looking for work with a purpose. Someone (we didn't write down who) said that Creativity is a group process. Burt Rutan, who aims to take us all into space (Jane is NOT going; she will email you) said that companies need to learn to have "confidence in nonsense." Without fun, he said, there is no innovation. HE was a lot of fun!
4. We were encouraged by the talk of revamping our education system here in the U.S. For a very long time, Jane has wondered why we continue to force our children to adhere to 'standards' set by our grandparents. What was good for them is not relevant to today's children. Innovation, high technology, and a grasp of the mysterious is what drives business today. It's not that baby boomers and seniors don't see it, or don't 'get it' -- it's that we poured the foundation - and a good foundation it is - now, the generations to come must build on that foundation. And, it must SUPPORT any crazy ideas they have. It must be strong enough to bear their weight, but flexible enough to bend to their will. That was a strong message which came through loud and clear, at least to Jane.
5. Throughout the event, Jane noticed something many other people probably ignored. We noticed that there were a LOT of left-handed people there. Those of you who are right-handed may think we are being silly but - science will prove us right: left-handed people rock!
5 Things We Think They Could Do Better Next Year
1. We've saved this for last, or, almost last. FORTUNE, we think you might have introduced the guest bloggers to each other. If you purposely did not (for whatever reason), tell us why because we don't understand. We had so hoped to meet a few of our own...only to be disappointed.
2. Signing in as 'press' was neat - it was Jane's first time being considered 'press'... but, the excitement was short-lived. Being press meant we were not allowed to get one of the neat red bags FORTUNE was giving out. We tried to get one - only to be rebuffed. "No, those aren't for you," we were told. Jane lusted after those red bags the entire time we were there!
3. This point continues to baffle us: why is your blog not connected to your website? Yes, we know...it's part of the Innovation Forum, and was connected to that. And, now that the forum is over...it's connected to - nothing. We love your blogroll, we love your interviews and podcasts, we love your focus on the TOPIC and the people who represent that topic, be they small business owners or Fortune 500 CEOs. But, we don't understand why, when we visit the Fortune Website, we can't click into the blog! What gives?
4. As we mentioned in an earlier post, we think the panelists could have mingled a bit. Surely these powerhouses of business could handle a small crowd? If mingling was too scary, why not have some sessions where the attendees could actually chat, one on one, or in a group setting, with the panelists? Jane was repeatedly frustrated by the moderators hogging all the interactive audience time. Every now and then there seemed to be a little too much, "I'm running the show, we'll do it my way" for Jane's tastes. Next time, make the moderator's shut up and turn the question and answer time over to the attendees.
5. Last...we must admit...there weren't enough women. On the panels. There were women. And, impressive ladies they were - no more nor less than the gentlemen there - but... the girls were far outnumbered. Far outnumbered. We hesitate to criticize FORTUNE for that - since we were not on the program committee, we can't say that FORTUNE didn't TRY to get more ladies...but, we can say - if the ladies you invited could not make it, we can help. Jane has suggestions. We can scare up enough ladies to improve your numbers. Ladies that will get the house rocking and rolling! In a good way, of course.
There you have our Fortune Fit by Five - for this week. There may be more to come, in the New Year. Jane has pages and pages of notes. And, we are regular visitors at the FORTUNE blog... where very innovative things are happening.
Dear readers, can you say, what's not to like about that?