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The Ultimate Reboot

I just got back from the TED Conference and I heard a lot of optimistic notes amid the chaos and gloom of the current financial meltdown. One talk that I particularly thought you might enjoy was delivered by Juan Enriquez, the founding director of the Harvard Business School Life Sciences Project. I’ve heard him speak before and I always find his perspective fascinating, enlightening and entertaining. He is an omnivore of ideas who studies the intersection of science, business and society.

This talk begins with the idea that the proper way to manage in a crisis is to keep your eye on the long term even while you are dancing in the flames. Professor Enriquez does a wonderful job of describing the flames without sinking into despair, and then looks beyond the immediate crisis to three trends in science and technology that, between them, offer the promise of rebooting human capability in a way that offers great hope for the future.

Here’s the link to his talk:  Juan Enriquez: Beyond the crisis, mindboggling science and the arrival of Homo evolutis

All the TED Talks are 20 minutes or less, and they are all available for free at www.ted.com. If you haven’t already gotten in the habit of downloading some of these talks to listen to on long flights, I highly recommend it. And if you do take the time to listen to Juan Enriquez, please let me know what you think.

“Character gets to the heart of what good storytelling is all about. They’ve helped Wendy’s focus on what makes us unique, different and special and that’s helped us to get people’s attention, keep their interest and keep the business growing. We compete with much larger brands, but by being overt about how we want to attack those differences, we’ve been able to have a lot of tension and conflict in the story that we are telling. That allows us to keep the story fresh and to fuel it. The more we do that the more positive attention we get as a brand and the more the brand continues to grow, which, in turn, builds our confidence in our storytelling and keeps the courage level high.”

—Kurt  Kane, President U.S. & Chief Commercial Officer, Wendy’s Corporation

“I’ve been through Character’s story framework process four times in my career, and it has always added extraordinary value. It was a central piece of Walmart’s rebranding effort in 2006, as we sought a new articulation of our brand narrative and our purpose. It’s an equally powerful tool for us now, as Walmart defines its place in a rapidly transforming retail environment. And we are currently using it to do the same for Sam’s Club.”

—Tony Rogers, Chief Marketing Officer, Walmart

“Since articulating our story framework, Gallo has had its best year. We’re up 10% and we’re outpacing the category. From a creative standpoint it’s been great because we’re all in alignment. Now that we have the articulation of our story, our social media, our partnerships, our programs, our packaging—it all makes sense.”

—Stephanie Gallo, Chief Marketing Officer, E&J Gallo Winery