Insight #1: BIF Summit 2016

Tap into the Power of Reinvention!

Unlike most conferences, the BIF Summit has no theme beyond presenting remarkable stories of transformation.

Why? The BIF organizers know that the participants themselves will discover patterns, aha’s, and insights that make sense for them.

I’ve been to most of the 12 BIF Summits. I now work for BIF, but like everybody else at the Summit, I have to — and always do — discover my own insights each time.

In this series, I’ll share my top 10 insights from BIF2016. Each story will feature from five BIF2016 storytellers whose talks touched on that insight. Note: I had a hard time keeping the number of relevant videos down to five, so you might also want to explore the entire set of BIF2016 videos.

Insight #1: You must reinvent yourself before you can transform your communities, your jobs, your companies, or the world.

“In this rapidly changing world, reinventing yourself is the most important skill to develop,” said BIF founder and chief catalyst Saul Kaplan as he kicked off the first day of BIF2016. Anyone who thought this was an exaggeration soon found out otherwise.

Here are the stories that spoke to me on personal transformation (in no particular order).

Own Your Transformation

Whitney Johnson, author of Disrupt Yourself, says the speed of disruption has not only increased for businesses, but for individuals as well. She illustrates personal disruption using the same S curve that Clay Christensen used to illustrate business disruption in his classic book, The Innovator’s Dilemma.

Johnson’s message: We need to learn how to handle the S curves of our careers. We need to learn to jump to new challenges that make use of our strengths and talents — and to do so before plateauing or falling off the curve.

Whitney Johnson from Business Innovation Factory on Vimeo.


Find The Tools In Your Own Life

Robert Rivera’s The Good Life Organization catches young people who slip through the cracks of our educational and social systems. He catches them with hip-hop, storytelling, videography, and personal connection. Rivera pulled himself out of those same cracks himself, in a journey that took him from “dope dealer to hope dealer.”

Rivera uses hip-hop to reach kids because hip-hop is their history. “It’s important that they know it and claim it, and build off that foundation,” Rivera says. “If our kids today can recapture that narrative, realize their link in the chain of tradition, it’s not so far-fetched that they might have the idea for the new Facebook.”

Roberto Rivera from Business Innovation Factory on Vimeo.

Find Strengths In The Things You’re Not Good At

Writer Kare Anderson turned her extreme shyness turned into an asset that transformed her. That taught her that “the flip side of a gap is a strength you’ve been honing accidentally.”

For Anderson, the key to personal transformation is finding and harnessing the talents that hide on the “flip side” of what we consider our flaws and faults. The way to discover these talents you can’t see is to become accessible to others, listening closely to them, and understand what they see in you that you can’t.

Kare Anderson at BIF2016 from Business Innovation Factory on Vimeo.

Everyone Deserves a Second Chance

Coss Marte’s philosophy: Work with what you have, even if what you have includes a stint in prison. After Marte’s drug-dealing career landed him in prison, he created a fitness program he could do in his cell and lost 60 pounds while serving his sentence.

Once released, Marte used his fitness program to start the successful ConBody fitness center. Having created his own second chance, he spreads second-chance opportunities to others like him: His employees are also formerly incarcerated individuals who are searching for the good in themselves and in the world.

Coss Marte from Business Innovation Factory on Vimeo.

Turn Off Your Autopilot

Dave Gray has only two rules for change: 1) Turn off your autopilot, and 2) do something — anything — differently than you have before. Gray, author of Liminal Thinking, says “We can’t change the past, and the future doesn’t exist yet. So we only have now.”

Gray says the small, conscious changes to our thinking that we can make here and now will help us disrupt ourselves and transform ourselves into change agents — something we can’t do by studying the past and planning for the future.

Dave Gray from Business Innovation Factory on Vimeo.






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reneehopkinsRenee Hopkins works for the Business Innovation Factory. She writes extensively about innovation and creativity and is also a founder of the Twitter-based Innochat. Her chapter, “What Is Crowdsourcing?” was included in the book A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing (Kogan Page, 2011)

Renee Hopkins




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