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

ZIKA VIRUS
THE OPERATIONAL SOLUTION

Here at Mary Olson Brand Intelligence, we are privileged to work with remarkable companies that strive to reduce suffering, improve life, and make the world stronger and better, every day. Sometimes, our work addresses crises that impact the general population. For one company, we just completed and launched a video about containing the Zika virus—and we’re thrilled to tell you about it.

The video suggests a new operational solution for the Zika virus. It raises global public awareness—and lowers the sense of overwhelming mystery surrounding this outbreak. Real case studies exist for controlling the two responsible mosquito species (pictured below)—but few people know about them. We wanted to spread the word to health officials, the media, and the concerned public.

Let me back up. 60 years ago, 2/3 of the world’s population lived in rural areas. By 2050, 2/3 will be living in cities. That’s a dramatic shift involving billions of people—and the rapid growth of these urban environments create fertile breeding grounds for mosquitoes. While Zika is just the latest in a long line of devastating mosquito-borne illnesses, today’s dense cities make it even easier for the virus to spread.

But the world has seen illness like this before. It’s experienced Dengue fever—and overcome it by direct application to the carries where they breed. These culprits are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus and are the very same mosquitoes that carry Zika. They can be conquered, too.

The video conveys a sense of drama—weaving a relatable storyline into this most serious issue. It provides a solid foundation for understanding the mosquitoes, the illness they carry, and the techniques that worked so well in Asia and Africa. Our clients know their subject matter well—and we gave it the best story arc we could.

If you are concerned about the global spread of the Zika virus and want to help dramatically limit the transmission, please forward this link to your elected representative or public health official:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv8NYueXZoQ

Feel free to get in touch with Mary for further information.

MARY OLSON
We build relevant brand identities and customer experiences, spark digital transformation and create strategies that accelerate growth.

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

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

HARISH PANT
GLOBAL VISIONARY

Harish Pant is a business visionary with a fascinating—and unusual—spiritual outlook. A thought leader, columnist, and public speaker, his worldview makes him a global treasure. Millions agree: Harish is among the Top 1% most followed connections in LinkedIn.

Among his other accolades: aerospace, automotive and steel executive; poet; founding member of Make-in-India National Committee (MINCO); distinguished alumna and fellow of Institution of Engineers (FIE); member of the Advisory Committee AIMA Bangalore; council member of the Indian Institution of Industrial Engineers (IIIE); member of the Aeronautical Society of India and SAE; member of the LASSIB Society; recipient of Immai Operational Excellence Award and the Mother Teresa Excellence Award and Award for Industrial Development; corporate member of the Society of Indian Aerospace Technologies, UK Trade and Investment and Executive Board of Indian Society for Advancement of Materials.

I recently asked Harish about transcending today’s world of digitally driven accelerated growth models versus creating steady, sustainable business value. His insights were transformative.

MARY OLSON: Harish, your poetry is illuminating. It is unusual that a business executive produces such vibrant clarity of thought to transcend business-speak into something universal and unforgettable.

HARISH PANT: We are human beings, personal beings, social beings and professional beings.

Without human values, all the riches of the world come to naught! As humans, we are endowed with a unique consciousness, which can flow to merge with super-consciousness, or make us aware of our intellectual, emotional, and physical beings.

The personal realm is “Me,” the microcosmic world where we play. It encompasses the immediate vicinity of your life envelope time and space.

The social milieu is “We” and Us”. It’s broader: say, your extended family. Imagine expanding that to your country, and even to all of Planet Earth.

Finally, there’s your professional world, where skills, capabilities and work give you an opportunity to create value for yourself and others. In exchange, this world provides an opportunity to engage others to create value for you!

At times, we float with curiosity and creativity and in another, we cling to our existential being—especially when life becomes challenging. In our most vibrant being, our soul, we experience life’s true amplitude!

“Soul” manifests through the eyes and ears of consciousness. A resonance creates a sound, leading to words and thoughts, which in turn may find expression in the form of a poem. That’s the natural way a poet can shine through.

At every level of human existence, we find people who rise in their evolutionary journeys and also have the grit and tenacity to transform themselves and others. We have potential to transcend, or levitate from one level to another. Notes of all four beings—the human, personal, social and professional—can produce a blissful life’s lyrics, once imbued in self awareness, without tradeoffs whatsoever!

Curiosity and learning pursuits have ushered me to many molding processes, helped gain wisdom in enlightening events and also connected me to wonderful people around the world. Life lessons and challenges have led me to be “Poetic” at times and an Astute professional in others.


NOAA Colorized Satellite Map of India

MARY OLSON: You are India’s thought leader inasmuch as you write about reinventing India’s supply chain, the cloud, and GST for a changing world. What is the state of business in India today, and how do you envision the future of business there?

HARISH PANT: India has barely 2.4% of land area but hosts 17.84% of the world’s population, securing third place in the world’s economy (based on PPP) and seventh place (based on nominal GDP). Multi-faceted in every way imaginable, and rooted in ancient cultures, our diversity and unique demographic makes for a bizarre concoction of humanity.

The economy pouring out of this hotpot puts everything to the test: if you can carry it out here, you can take it anywhere! A critical geopolitical position and vast coastline offer a unique payout for every world economic player, making us a phenomenal trade center for the world.

The world of “Nothingness” and the world of “Everything” coexist in India and these two world forces make any linear move both revolving and rotational. The value proposition in India has to either pass through the grail of “Nothingness” (Value for Money) or “Everything” (Aspirational). With advent of right technology and it’s maturation, evolution explodes when these worlds meet (Aspiration x Value for Money), and growth becomes exponential.

Further complicating the landscape are socio-economic factors like corruption, money laundering, and economic disparity etc., to name a few which will dissipate with a holistic growth framework of services consisting of product and services, ecosystem services, and social services.

The world’s economy reveals its “stretched-borrowed” capital and abusive timelines. We experience over-consumption and related macroeconomic problems; and including sustainability, global warming, terrorism and the nuisance of power games and military might. All are looking towards India to partner for business growth.

DY Photography 2015

In the above context, the country’s position is notably unmatched. Some unusual contrasts promote it as a desirable multi-national partner. To name a few:

  • It wants to lead the world—but not by might. For example, it remains devoid of territorial or military ambitions.
  • It aspires to be an economic superpower, but does not have a political or societal mandate for an unchecked, single-minded pursuit, like, say, China.
  • It has deep-rooted religious and social moorings, stemming from ancient wisdoms. It also has the bandwidth to absorb its many religions and cultures into “One India.”
  • It aspires for Everything material, but finds peace in the immaterial.

Now, with this positioning, India is at an inflection point on the world stage. Although the global economy struggles, India’s growth potential remains consistently immense.

Digitization, IT, and telecommunication will unleash more innovation, entrepreneurship, and expansion in India in the coming years. E-commerce, GST rollout, and infrastructure development will also help eliminate meddling, for disruptive changes in supply chain management.

India does not have any choice but to leapfrog from “Nowhere” to the center of the world stage, where new games and new rules will be written by new world players.

Falling oil prices, an impetus on solar energy, innovative mobility solutions, better infrastructure and connected smart cities and villages would certainly help in dramatically reducing the import bill and help India with much-needed funds and time to reorient itself on a development path. New economic structure sprouting out of startup, skill development and similar government initiatives bode well for the growth of the nation.

While the strategic investment in defense and aerospace would mark India in the top three, Make-in-India’s drive would have India competing with China. Alternative medicine, life wellness through yoga, social enterprises and education would provide low-cost life support while other growth areas like agriculture and associated industries would provide sustenance.

India is having its moment ripe for world engagement, but with approaches that will create a new world order.


MARY OLSON: You write about business excellence, curiosity, creativity and commitment in an ever-changing volatile world.

With rare exception, every traditional business has been digitally disrupted by what most of us now call the digital economy.

Douglas Rushkoff writes that business disruption is not the “fault” of digital technology. It is the fault of a digitally charged business model that stresses efficiency and corporate growth at the expense of the human beings they should be serving. Somehow, growth has become an end in itself, with human beings its impediments.

If you could change the rules of business today and mobilize everybody you know, how would you implore your colleagues to create ongoing value for owners, employees, and customers? Or, rather than living and dying by business growth rates, how can business value be made truly sustainable?

HARISH PANT: Every human evolution necessitates even greater value and commitment. Now, even a small act has far-reaching implications. We see the travesty of:

  • Relentless greed that cannot be checked by high taxation and mandated Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives.
  • The possession of discretionary funds creates many personal, social and health problems.
  • The principle of “might is right” does not bring peace, or solve world’s problems.
  • That it’s “not my problem” is a problem! We live in an integrated world.

The ever-expanding gap between scarcity and abundance, resulting from advancing technology, has created an uncertain, volatile, chaotic and ambiguous world. We want to truncate the world, abstracting value to make money—and keep feeding relentless human desires.

As the world (and humanity) matures, we are creating and expanding many economic, social, technological and personal platforms that connect the whole world. It’s time we integrate ourselves: not through a single currency of money—but a green currency of ecosystem services and a currency of social services. Donations and philanthropy cannot solve the world’s problems! Attitudes have to change. Also, government and business need to stop working with contrary and disjointed sets of objectives.

Each economic act has to create wealth in all three of these currencies, and one cannot be earned at the expense of the other. For example, if there is a massive job redundancy due to digitization, then the organization should be required to provide for social impacts, and prove its business sustainable. The point isn’t to create a socialistic society. Instead, human evolution demands a wholesome approach than the singular pursuit of greed. To be able to refrain from creating hell on earth is not enough, we need to structure it anew for generating a holistic wealth positively impacting economy, society and our ecosystem.

We must dramatically change the rule of the game, adopting a circle of human values that can provide endless opportunity to contribute and make the world better. For example, we can invite main stakeholders to be share holders in an enterprise through a new equity structure framework and a minimum debt is financed through green commitment towards ecosystem services and social good.

Welcome to the new world order where the wealth of all three currencies would rule… not money alone!

The next technological challenge is to create an algorithm that relates money, green, and social good, or alternatively take a few best ancient religious books and follows a common wisdom. Or, it can be to be simply human!

What’s your choice?! Let’s pause to understand consequences of our choices and actions not only rationally but relationally as well.

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is a Sanskrit phrase found in Hindu texts such as the Maha Upanishad, which means “The world is one family”.

The World is One Family

One is a relative, the other stranger,
say the small minded.
The entire world is a family,
live the magnanimous.

Be detached,
be magnanimous,
lift up your mind, enjoy
the fruit of Brahmanic freedom.

—This verse of Maha Upanishad is engraved in the entrance hall of the Parliament of India. 6.71-75

“Our creations must take people to that wordless world which is the real essence on which the small physical world floats!”

Harish Pant
2016

Feel free to connect with Mary Olson or Harish Pant for further information.

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

Harish Pant
Email: harish.pant@hotmail.com
LinkedIn: https://in.linkedin.com/in/harishpant
Twitter: @h_pant

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

REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2014
LISA GOLDMAN-VAN NOSTRAND
BOARD MEMBER AND STRATEGIC ADVISOR

My new interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2014 includes experts in technology, the arts, well-being and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; others are creating game changing paradigm shifts in their market segments.

Profile: In May 2014, Lisa Goldman Van Nostrand was elected to a second term on the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partnership Board of Directors as one of two Private Sector representatives. The RBM Partnership is the global framework to implement coordinated action against malaria. It mobilizes for action and resources and forges consensus among partners. The Partnership is comprised of more than 500 partners, including malaria endemic countries, their bilateral and multilateral development partners, the private sector, nongovernmental and community-based organizations, foundations, and research and academic institutions.

Since 2005, Lisa has served as Strategic Advisor for Sumitomo
 Chemical, representing the company in global partnerships as well as developing branding and marketing for the Vector Control Division. Her assignments in the last seven years have ranged from the highest platforms of international advocacy to community-level work in villages across Africa. Key projects include the Olyset photo library, the “Palufoot” PSA campaigns, and the official opening ceremony for Olyset manufacturing in Arusha. 

Sumitomo Chemical is deeply committed to developing and 
providing vector control tools for public health, as a core part of the company’s CSR approach.

Lisa is a founding board member of the Youssou N’Dour Foundation. She also produced international partnerships and sponsorships for the Africa Live concert, DVD and CD properties – which was broadcast on the BBC, PBS, across Africa and Europe, and around the world, and helped put the fight against malaria into the spotlight.

In prior years, Lisa founded her own Internet design company and was director of the Interactive Media Festival, an international competition, gallery and exhibition of interactive media.

Mary Olson: How have your views changed as you look back on your experience?

Lisa Goldman-Van Nostrand: Coming from the Internet world of rapid evolution – a Cambrian explosion of innovation over the last few decades – to work on Malaria, an ancient problem that has co-evolved with humanity – I’ve really had to shift my perspective on time frames for action. In the hyper-competitive Internet development world, you have to act quickly on an idea or lose its moment. For malaria advocacy, the horizon stretches out and a project idea may be realized years after inception without being diminished. There is urgency but the time scale is increased by an order of magnitude.

MO: How do you see the way the world is emerging?

LGVN: There is a convergence underway in the global health and development spheres, much like what we experienced as the Internet, media and telecommunications converged in the 1990s. This puts us at a strategic crossroads in the world of malaria. With 2015 we approach the completion of the Millennium Development Goals and the advent of a new set of Sustainable Development Goals. New ideas can come to scale very quickly in a changing landscape, but not all the existing models make the transition. Malaria partners need to move with clarity and consideration through this transition, and work more closely with ascendent development issues while avoiding a deadly resurgence.

MO: What are your thoughts as you look forward?

LGVN:: Transformative change opens great opportunities, but it’s also immensely challenging. Ultimately, the gains we have achieved, cutting malaria mortality in half over the last 10 years through coordinated action, are at risk of reversal. Resurgence is a risk not only for people living in endemic countries, who have lost immunity due to the 50% reduction in malaria transmission over the last decade — but for all of us. The irrefutable link between malaria and poverty means that if we fail to seize this historic opportunity to move to eliminate malaria, the very foundations of sustainable economic development will be undermined. Looking ahead, we will need to find new, creative ways to keep malaria in the foreground of the global development agenda.

2014 : BRANDS TO WATCH
VIEW THE TEN TOP RECIPIENTS BELOW

My 2014 BRANDS TO WATCH campaign has concluded successfully in Q1 with attention in the business media and fostering not-so-surprising business-building deals.

These exceptional innovators represented the worlds of art, fashion, finance, research, technology and writing. These are companies I’ve watched; some are one’s I know well and have believed in them

The leaders demonstrated unparalleled management, vision, innovation, 2013 financial results, and/or exceptional customer experience.

Thank you to these remarkable brands for participating in the 2014 campaign and for setting the gold standard for 2015:

VANCELETTE | AUCTIONATA | TIGER 21 | AVATAR RESEARCH INSTITUTE | KLOUT | HOW TO WRITE ANYTHING: A COMPLETE GUIDE | CORNING MUSEUM OF GLASS | PRICING ENGINE | MOZILLA |

View the top ten 2014 BRANDS TO WATCH below.

2014 : BRANDS TO WATCH
MOZILLA CORPORATION
MOZILLA FOUNDATION

Mozilla is illuminated with vision, innovation and momentum. Mozilla launched over a decade ago with a far-sighted plan that was as radical as the Web itself: use open source and community to simultaneously create great software and build openness into the key technologies of the Internet itself.

2013 was an exciting year for the Web as Mozilla moved faster forward than the pace of the market and doubled down on mobile with Firefox OX, the mobile operating system. Why would Mozilla make a dramatic pivot from desktop software when its ubiquitous Firefox browser serves a 300+ Million user base?

Mozilla’s webmaker mission has always been fearless. It is focused on engaging and empowering the next 2 Billion smartphone users in emerging markets around the world. This spectacular market constitutes the people coming online for the first time.

“It’s critical that all these new mobile users have access to the openness and empowerment that the Web has brought to date. The mobile browser is a necessary piece of making sure this happens. We have been intent on making the change into mobile and reinvigorating our relationships with commercial players,” says Mitchell Baker, chairwoman of Mozilla Corporation and the Mozilla Foundation

Mozilla’s rapid shift toward commercial hardware partners includes ZTE, Alcatel and LG; and operator partners Telefonica, Deutche Telkom, Telenor and Telcom Italia Mobile. Firefox OX for Android surpassed 50 million downloads in 2013.

Leadership is the key to Mozilla’s values, principles and its ever-respected reputation for protecting the open platform. Did you know it is the most trusted Internet company for privacy?

It continues to change the world with technologists, thinkers and builders working together to create enormous scale, leverage and impact.

Get to know Mozilla.

Mozilla Corporation is the fifteen year old developer of open source products and technologies that improve the human experience. Best known for Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla uses technical excellence to build openness, innovation and decentralized participation into the Internet.

The Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit, public benefit organization that builds software, communities and frameworks for openness and participation. The Foundation is home to one of the world’s largest open source projects.

Mitchell Baker, Chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation. Time magazine lists Mitchell Baker as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Baker ranks #3 in Bloomberg/Businessweek’s 25 most influential people on the Web. Mitchell was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society. She also received the Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision Award for Social Impact.

Contact:
Mitchell Baker, Executive Chair
Mozilla Foundation
650 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA 94041
Website: mozilla.org
Blog: blog.mozilla.org
Twitter: @mitchellbaker
Twitter: @firefox
Tel: 650.903.2080

2014 : BRANDS TO WATCH
AVATAR RESEARCH INSTITUTE

AVATAR RESEARCH INSTITUTE’S (ARI) raison d’être is boosting innovation in a global environment. This remarkable think tank is launching its brand in 2014 and has been building its business model for nine years. AVATAR received a 501C3 nonprofit designation in 2013 and is set to cultivate the art of thinking together through designing environments for new knowledge creation and strengthening the innovation ecosystem.

Anna Duran, AVATAR’s visionary founder and recognized social scientist, realized the demand for cultural knowledge across sectors that include corporate, small business, government and national security.

One of AVATAR’s goals is to develop and implement a technology framework for quick access to global and cultural-based data and information. The ease in which this type of material can be gathered across sectors is becoming critical to the formation and success of research, practice and policy development projects that focus on boosting innovation in and implementing solutions to complex socio-political problems.

A second cornerstone of AVATAR is to develop the leadership preparation and performance of the STEM workforce, which as a result, can greatly improve the retention rates of women, minorities and international high ability talent within R&D environments. ARI has designed and developed global STEM team assessment tools that provide insight into key areas that improve innovation and idea formation processes in working teams.

Dr. Duran has gathered together key policy makers, researchers and educators to illuminate the think tank. Serving on the Board of Directors are Daryl Chubin, Candice Hughes, Cindy Leiton and Jolynn Shoemaker; all of whom have been instrumental in planning a portfolio of implementation projects for AVATAR RESEARCH INSTITUTE.

AVATAR’s commitment to developing new researchers and policy makers through its innovative cross-sector programs to work across disciplines and national boundaries are the reasons AVATAR RESEARCH INSTITUTE is a BRAND TO WATCH in 2014.

Contact:
Anna Duran, Ph.D, Founder and President
AVATAR RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Website: http://avatarresearchinstitute.org
Email: globemgt@msn.com

YOUR PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY 2013

Writing in Fast Company in 2007, Tom Peters made the bold statement, “to be in business today, our most important job is to be the head marketer for the brand called You.” In 2013, 6 years later, the notion of personal branding is no longer revolutionary—it’s an absolute necessity for doing business. Professional branding is key to distinguishing yourself in the marketplace. By taking charge of your own brand, you can highlight your professional achievements and control the way the market perceives you. Whether you’re actively looking for new opportunities or simply curating your professional identity, a personal-brand website declares to the world who you are, what you value, and what you can do. And as we move into the new year, there is no better time to embrace the potential of professional branding for your career.

Marie McKee, a client of mine since 1999, is one of the savvy business people who embraced the notion of professional individual branding in preparation for 2013. Marie is an accomplished innovator and business leader who is currently the president of the Corning Museum of Glass, overseeing the $64 million North Wing expansion project. Her professional brand has been launched at MarieMcKee.biz.

Marie’s site combines a strategically crafted statement of her expertise and brand position with a stunning visual portfolio of her work. The results? MarieMcKee.biz expresses and controls Marie’s identity and influence online. Through her personal site, Marie lets the world know who she is, showcases her remarkable leadership skills, and invites new opportunities.

What would you like to showcase this year? What opportunities would you like to attract? Colleagues and clients alike trust me as an intelligent source of innovation and insight. If you like the branding we developed for Marie, I'd like to collaborate with you on your professional brand.

Let's talk about branding your name in 2013!