Seth Kahan, author of Getting Innovation Right and faculty member of the Leading Learning Symposium is a true leader in the worlds of innovation, strategy, and leadership and he is also the first person to be interviewed twice here on the Leading Learning Podcast series (previous interview).
This time Jeff talks with Seth to learn about two exciting initiatives he is launching—the CEO Innovation Community and the Visionary Leadership Academy. Both were created to help change the mindsets of leaders in associations to become more innovative and synergistic. They are also examples of boutique learning, something you may remember we discussed in a recent podcast regarding trends and predictions.
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00:18 – A reminder to check out the Leading Learning Symposium to be held October 24-25, 2016 in Baltimore, MD. The symposium is for individuals at the director level or higher who have strategic and/or financial responsibility for their organization’s professional development, continuing education, or lifelong learning business.
01:21 – A preview of what will be covered in this episode where managing director Jeff Cobb interviews Seth Kahan, author of Getting Innovation Right and faculty member of the 2015 and upcoming 2016 Leading Learning Symposium.
03:57- Introduction to Seth and a reference to a content pod he facilitated at the 2015 Leading Learning Symposium where he talks about the current landscape for associations and more specifically, business model innovation.
05:30 – At the end of the segment in your content pod, you made the comment that we are “first to market” here in the market for lifelong learning. Can you expand a bit on this in the context of this podcast? Seth says that he first got involved in associations in 2002 when knowledge management was on the rise. He explains how as he started to learn about associations, he realized that they were first to market in bringing communities of professionals together and he says that can be leveraged for industry dominance.
07:22 – You also talk about what’s going in Silicon Valley and how the culture there around innovation and ceasing business opportunities is quite different. Can you expand on that a little bit? Seth talks about how the environment in Silicon Valley is about sharing, exploring how to create synergies, and how everybody asks the question, “How can we do more together than we can do apart?” He says there is an entrepreneurial, ceasing opportunity kind of mindset that permeates everything which differs from the mindset of those in associations.
09:09 – You have two initiatives aimed at helping to change the mindset of associations. The first one we will discuss is CEO Innovation Community. Can you tell us a little more about what this is and talk about some of the biggest challenges that people in this group are facing? Seth explains that he has been working with a group of CEO’s that are true innovators and that his goal is to bring them together so that they can support each other, cut learning curves, and gain collective intelligence. He says it’s a year long initiative where CEO’s attend up to 5 sessions in groups including an overnight. He shares some examples of different CEO’s he is working with including Marla Weston at the American Nurses Association and Kevin Keller of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board).
13:00 – You are working with some pretty big organizations–do you have to be a big organization to pull off some of this grand challenge type thinking (for the CEO Innovation Community) or can a smaller organization be thinking in these terms? Seth says that smaller organizations can definitely be a part of this as long as you have a bold vision and a base that you can leverage. He references his work with Kris Cook of the National Affordable Housing Management Association as an example of this.
14:32 – When you describe your vision for the community, you talk about accelerating learning and giving people tools. Since a lot of the acceleration is likely in the collaboration, are there other ways you see learning being accelerated and what type of tools do you have in mind for this? Seth says that one of the most powerful tools is the online forum (similar to the Leading Learning online community). He explains how the forum greatly expands your network and allows you to asynchronously communicate with people all over the world while also creating a pool of archived knowledge.
16:37 – The second initiative you are launching is the Visionary Leadership Academy. Tell us a little about that as well as what your goals are? Seth shares that this was launched as the result of working with one of the CEO’s (Christine McEntee of the American Geophysical Union (AGU)) who suggested that there was a need for a resource where rising stars could go to learn about becoming visionary leaders. He explains that the academy is a group of people who will work together over the course of a year who are not yet CEO’s but see themselves as tomorrow’s leaders. They will have a curriculum to help them learn about things like change leadership, strategy, innovation, etc.
17:48 – It seems that the Visionary Leadership Academy is much more structured than the CEO Innovation Community, which is more informal and collaborative. How much does the informal/collaborative aspect feed into the Visionary Leadership Academy and how are you going to balance the structured part with the less structured part? Seth says that the sessions they have for the academy will be structured around themes but that when you are a member of the Visionary Leadership Academy you get access to the larger CEO Innovation Community.
18:38 – Who is the ideal candidate for the Visionary Leadership Academy? Seth explains that the ideal candidate would be someone who is hungry for being a leader, wants to build a network with other innovators, make major contributions to their organization, and who has made a commitment to their own career growth. Jeff and Seth discuss how this is what also makes an ideal candidate to attend the Leading Learning Symposium and how there has already been some overlap.
20:10 –How are you going to know that real, deep learning has happened and that you’ve made an impact with both of these new initiatives? Seth shares that they have developed metrics to measure improvement and that they are using models that have been tested. He suggests checking out slides in his recent PowerPoint presentation at UCLA for an example of this.
22:08 – Right now, how do you approach your own personal lifelong learning and what are you excited about? Seth says that he enjoys learning about each of the domains that he is involved in and shares and example of this. He also reveals that he has become recently enamored with the works of Gay and Katie Hendricks around personal relationships since he is committed to having a strong and powerful relationship with his wife.
24:52 – Find out more about the Visionary Leadership Academy and CEO Innovation Community and how to register. If you include a note that you listened to the podcast, you will receive a $250 discount.
26:12 – Wrap-Up
A reminder that we will be holding the Leading Learning Symposium on October 24-25, 2016 in Baltimore, MD. If you are at the director level or above and have strategic and/or financial responsibility for your organization’s professional development, continuing education, or lifelong learning business, we hope that you will consider joining us.
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28:23 – Sign off
Don’t Miss the Leading Learning Symposium
The Leading Learning Symposium is an annual event designed for leaders at the director level and above in organizations that focus on lifelong learning either as their main business or as a major line of business. It’s goal is to help organizations navigate the rapidly evolving market for lifelong learning and dramatically boost the reach, revenue, and impact of their continuing education and professional development businesses. The 2016 Leading Learning Symposium will be held in Baltimore on October 24 and 25. To find out more, visit the event Web site.