Engaging the Future Faster:
If You Have a Passion for What You Don’t Know, Start Here

Blockchain and new cloud platform nodes are revolutionizing interactions and transactions. Entrepreneurs and developers of today’s technologies are rapidly and drastically disrupting industries, society, and daily life.

Today’s corporate entrepreneurs and entrepreneur/developers’ greatest challenges include defining competitive strategies, driving innovations, and pivoting rapidly to market.

Today, my clients’ businesses are either disrupting markets or initiating a stealth state of preparedness for disruptive competition.

How do we challenge ourselves to discover what we don’t know? How do we identify the right tools to expand our knowledge, innovate, and create new value today? How do we prepare clients for the steep learning curve to survive the future faster? Some answers include taking a power-packed Fintech course at MIT for enlightenment about future commerce and innovation, reading voraciously, and valuing collaborations above all. My personal pursuit of an elastic mind includes all of the above.

I will write further about my MIT Fintech–Future Commerce Capstone Project, and how our team’s business plan for a world class Fintech Cloud Platform and marketing innovation soared. Moreover, later look for my creative exploration of the elastic mind.

For starters, I strongly recommended 7-books from my most favorite authors today:

MARY OLSON’S 7-BEST BOOKS FOR ENGAGING THE FUTURE FASTER


ValueWeb: How Fintech Firms are Using Bitcoin Blockchain and Mobile Technologies to Create the Internet of Value

My friend and brilliant colleague, Mini Suri initially suggested Chris Skinner’s book to me. ValueWeb is one of the most important business books I have ever read. Skinner states, “The next generation Internet, the Internet of Things, cannot work without an Internet of Value. The Internet of Value ― or ValueWeb, for short ― allows machines to trade with machines and people with people, anywhere on this planet in real-time and for free. The problem is that our old system cannot work that way, as it takes days to process and costs a fortune. By using a combination of technologies from mobile devices, wearables, and the bitcoin blockchain, fintech firms are building the ValueWeb regardless. What does that mean for financial institutions, governments, and citizens?” This book provides the answers.


The Industries of the Future

In The Industries of the Future, Alec Ross shows us what changes are coming in the next ten years, highlighting the best opportunities for progress and explaining why countries thrive or sputter. He examines the specific fields that will most shape our economic future, including robotics, cybersecurity, the commercialization of genomics, the next step for big data, and the immediate impact of digital technology on money and markets.



The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life

Full disclosure – Michael J. Casey is one of my all-time favorite writers.

In The Social Organism, Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey offer a revolutionary theory: that social networks — to an astonishing degree — mimic the rules and functions of biological life. Memes are the basic building blocks of our culture, our social DNA. To master social media — and to make online content that impacts the world — you must start with the Social Organism.


Whiplash: How to Survive Our Future Faster

The future will run on an entirely new operating system. It is a major upgrade, but it comes with a steep learning curve. The logic of a faster future overturns the received wisdom of the past, and the people who succeed will be the ones who learn to think differently.

In WHIPLASH, Joi Ito and Jeff Howe distil that logic into nine organizing principles for navigating and surviving this tumultuous period. From strategically embracing risks rather than mitigating them (or preferring “risk over safety”) to drawing inspiration and innovative ideas from your existing networks (or supporting “pull over push”), this dynamic blueprint can help you rethink your approach to all facets of your organization.

Filled with incredible case studies and leading-edge research and philosophies from the MIT Media Lab and beyond, WHIPLASH will help you adapt and succeed in this unpredictable world.


Frontiers of Financial Technology: Expeditions in Future commerce, from Blockchain and Digital Banking

David Shrier, Managing Director of MIT Connection Science and others answer questions like, How can you capitalize on the disruption that blockchain is introducing into the global financial system? What are the risks and opportunities that this new technology represents? What roles can government, academia, and private industry play in shaping the future that blockchain can enable?

Shrier’s book is the precursor to the MIT certification course, FINTECH: Future Commerce.


Good Is the New Cool: Market Like You Give a Damn

Afdhel Aziz’s book is the social conscience blueprint for every new marketing endeavor. No new business plan is complete without a focus on best serving and sustaining the world through our work.

Aziz advises, “We are at a crossroads: Either we can try to prop up the old, broken marketing model, or we can create a new paradigm, one that evolves from a business mission statement that shows you can market like you give a damn.”


Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Jonah Berger’s Contagious provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread—for designing messages, advertisements, and content that people will share. Whether you are a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.


MARY OLSON / BRAND INTELLIGENCE

I recently completed the MIT certificate course, FINTECH: Future Commerce to pivot my design and strategic communications company to support collaborative Fintech breakthroughs, build new brands, introduce new narratives, and help establish new markets. We are the first agency of its kind to be Fintech certified.

Our advisory of strategists, designers, and developers understands the language of Fintech, complete with today’s toolsets to evolve your new strategic mission and speed you to market.

CONTACT MARY OLSON: LinkedIn | Email

JORGE GOTUZZO
INNOVATIONS, SUSTAINABILITY
AND THE FOOD CRISIS IN 2050

Multilingual, multi-cultural builder of international brands, Jorge Gotuzzo has digitally transformed Pace International—and offers his insights to avert the food crises in 2050.

A thought leader and innovator, our colleague, Jorge Gotuzzo embraces technology in an industry that’s been slow to digitize: produce. He’s traveled extensively, lived in multiple countries, and managed diverse food-related brands around the globe, always focused on sustainability and shared responsibility. Since 2014, he has been applying his skills as Global Marketing Director at Pace International, the world’s leader in post-harvest produce solutions, in order to do his part to help prevent a global food shortage.

Pace International is a subsidiary of Valent BioSciences Corporation (of Sumitomo Chemical Company) and the leading provider of postharvest solutions for produce, Pace International works to improve the quality of fruits and vegetables through innovative solutions and services.

I recently connected with Jorge to discuss food production in today’s world, and how we can avoid world hunger in 2050.

Mary Olson

You’ve said that the world is in danger of running out of food, and I believe you, since you understand today’s food production systems better than anyone I know. I wanted to dive into root causes.

For example, we Americans have been conditioned to select fruits and vegetables that appear cosmetically perfect. How might that impact us in the decades to come?

Jorge Gotuzzo

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), when you measure all produce from harvest to consumer usage, more than 45% of all fruits and vegetables go unused. That is almost half our global production!

7 billion people are alive today. By 2050, that number is expected to reach 9 billion. The question isn’t just how we produce more food to feed the growing population, but how we reduce overall waste. The looming crisis requires both food production innovations and changes in consumer behavior.

We must do much better. Imagine if the discarded product can get distributed to food programs in poor communities, rather than going straight to landfill? Imagine replacing processed snacks at schools with healthy and nutritious food, made from fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be thrown out. Just these things alone would be game changing.

Earthquake devastation in Haiti. Alltech 2010

Mary Olson

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It was devastated by a 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 160,000 and displaced 1.6 million people.

At the time, you were with Alltech—and living in Port-au-Prince. For a decade, you managed marketing initiatives in dairy, beef, and aquaculture on behalf of this global biotech company working to boost the health of plants and animals using nature and science.

After the earthquake, you led the Sustainable Haiti Project, and Alltech adopted a small school. What can you tell us about your experience there? How did the widespread devastation affect your views on humanity, corporate philanthropy, and the need for sustainability?

Gotuzzo, speaking of his mission in founding the Sustainable Haiti Project.

Jorge Gotuzzo:

While at Alltech, I was able to spend three months working with Haitian children and helped develop a sustainable coffee project. After the earthquake, Alltech adopted a small school to resume education—in spite of the widespread devastation. All of these experiences were life altering for me.

At that time, the company was the title sponsor of the World Equestrian Games (WEG2010) and our dream was to put together a children’s choir and to bring it to the U.S. for the opening ceremony performance. We wanted to show Haiti to the world through these beautiful little voices—and raise awareness about the recovery efforts.

Three months later, in time for start of the games, I found myself in Lexington, Kentucky with 26 children, two teachers, and one Catholic nun. That experience changed my life forever and helped me understand how lucky we are and how grateful we should be every day we’re alive.

Mary Olson

That’s beautiful, and very inspiring.

Data allows us to listen, engage, communicate, and act faster—and with greater accuracy. But the food industry’s been slow to adopt it—and embrace the digital advances available today.

You recently led a holistic online rebranding effort—and introduced an innovative digital product catalog that stands out as a “first” among all Sumitomo Chemical companies. How did you help Pace International break the mold of slow adoption?

Jorge Gotuzzo

Culturally, Pace International is all about innovation and technology. We are always looking for new ways of supporting our customers, their consumers, and the industry overall.

But there was a disconnect between our digital efforts and the day-to-day business. The digital experience we offered the customer was falling behind—and causing the company as a whole to miss out on our best opportunity to engage. To stay current, we had to step up our game and create a digital face-lift. We committed to this—and elevated the entire brand experience.

I enjoy operating in an ever-increasing complex digital realm. I look forward to putting my energies toward innovations that sustain the world and meet people’s needs. It’s a win for me, a win for my company, and a win for society. I hope.
________________________________________________________

Feel free to connect with Mary Olson or Jorge Gotuzzo for further information.

Mary Olson
Email: maryolson@maryolson.biz
Phone: 917.656.1856
Blog: maryolson.biz/blog
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/maryolsonbiz
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maryolsonbiz

Jorge Gotuzzo
Email: jgotuzzo@gmail.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jorgegotuzzo
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gotu10

Links:
Pace International Website
Wikipedia – Haiti Earthquake
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

ADIDAS + PARLEY FOR THE OCEANS
DRIVING THE WORLD FORWARD THROUGH BRAND PARTNERSHIPS AND COLLABORATIONS

As Nicholas Ind, Oriol Iglesias, and Majken Schultz wrote in strategy + business, Adi Dassler, a cobbler by training and a keen sportsman observed athletes, talked to them about their needs and then experimented with novel ways of solving their problems. Dassler engaged an iterative process that relied on prototyping and testing and evolving production innovations.

Dassler acquired his first patent on a pair of running shoes in 1925, and three years later, a runner wearing his shoes won an Olympic gold. In 1936, Jesse Owens won four gold medals in Dassler’s shoes.

During Adi Dassler’s lifetime, his company, adidas continued to expand and develop new markets and sports. But the company always united by Adi’s belief in “only the best for the athlete” and his philosophy of industrialized craftsmanship created a stream of innovative products.

Today, the value of authenticity and a deep understanding of the brand also extend into innovative partnerships. adidas selects partners largely by their potential for alignment with the values and philosophy of the company.

Radical designs have opened new audiences and sales channels while encouraging adidas’s designers to be more adventurous.

Credit: Zak Noyle/A-Frame/Parley for the Oceans

As Steve Vincent, Senior Vice President of adidas future, says, “That’s the challenge—to do completely disruptive things that no one ‘s ever seen or expected but still feel like they should come from this brand.”

Along comes PARLEY FOR THE OCEANS, an organization dedicated to reducing plastic waste in oceans. Parley’s collaboration with adidas designers led to a 3D-printed concept shoe made out of recycled ocean plastic.

“The new shoe design rethinks the environmental impact of materials to help stop ocean plastic pollution,” according to adidas.

Among others, this collaboration will accelerate the integration of materials made of ocean plastic waste into adidas products as of 2016.

The true impact of a sustainable future for the adidas brand comes from a long-held mindset of product innovation, a strong embrace of innovative partnerships, and today, helping marine life and showing the world how to shed its throwaway mentality.

Adi Dassler would be pleased that the adidas brand is leading the reduction of plastic pollution in the ocean with a genuine partnership while serving the most competitive athletes in the world.

However a compelling story, adidas misses an opportunity to effect greater brand distinction and engagement.

Jim Signorelli, president at Story-Lab U.S. observes, “adidas is making great strides towards becoming a StoryBrand. However, they need to link together the chapters of their story so that a single-minded truth becomes more evident.”

He adds, “Their latest commercial, featuring James Harden, makes a strong and compelling case for the notion that “Creators Never Follow.” However, a story’s theme is proven through its plot. We need to see that adidas is walking its talk. Every brand in the sportswear category innovates. But innovating in ways that support the sustainability of marine life? That’s the kind of stand-out proof that tells the adidas story convincingly.”

Jim Signorelli and I hope our message resonates with adidas. We want to help adidas enter a higher sphere of storybranding and brand advocacy. We think more athletes would engage the adidas/PARLEY solution if they knew what we know.

References: Strategy + Business writers, Nicholas Ind, Oslo School of Management, Oriol Inglesas, associate professor at ESADE, Business School in Barcelona and director of the ESADE Brand Institute, and Majken Schultz, professor at Copenhagen Business School. adidas Partners to Help End Ocean Destruction, Releases Sustainability Progress Report, by Sustainable Brands. adidas and Parley Oceans Partnership Aims end Plastic Pollution Oceans. NYC NEWS.

Note:The adidas brand name in lower case was used correctly throughout the blog.

Contacts:

Mary Olson
Email: maryolson@maryolson.biz
Phone: 917.656.1856
Blog: maryolson.biz/blog
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maryolsonbiz
Twitter: @maryolsonbiz

Jim Signorelli
Email: jims@story-lab.net
Phone: 312.762.7400
Blog: http://www.story-lab.net
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimsignorelli
Twitter: @jimsignorelli

CLIMBING THE LADDER AND THEN KICKING IT AWAY

Real insight is a rare commodity. Innovators are prone to self-knowledge of the creative self and do not recognize limitations. Innovators see the hurdle, climb the ladder and then kick it away.

The business titan, David G. Bradley, owner of Atlantic Media and Justin Smith, the former publisher of The Week who had also worked at The Economist, recognized The Atlantic, a 155 year old print publishing business, was not sustainable, i.e., the hurdle. Then they kicked away the ladder of print legacy and created a new, pure digital brand according to the writer, David Carr of the New York Times.

Today marks the launch of Quartz, or qz.com, the digital business news source for smart, globally minded people. Notably, the information sharing aspect of smart writing and thinking–is free.

Innovation is around every corner. Hurdles are not hurdles to innovators.