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Time to get uncomfortable: Innovation Summit inspires participants to step out of comfort zone

President's message from WSAE VantagePoint magazine, Fall 2014 — The 2014 Innovation Summit Task Force really outdid themselves this time. Charged with creating an event that would be truly innovative and different from the first three successful Summits, they understood that breaking away from the previous model was a must. The task force, board and staff had to be willing to take a risk and step out of their comfort zone.

Starting immediately at the top of the program, we opted to stray from the usual opening session/keynote presenter in favor of a room full of kick-off activities: a book signing, a community service project book drive, assistance in updating wsae.org profiles and demographics, a professional photographer taking headshots, and a networking ice-breaker in which attendees could share the things they “rocked” at. Participation was a must in this environment and I saw some normally shy people connecting with others over commonalities on their oversized “I Rock At” buttons.

The Innovation Labs at Discovery World had everyone talking. These self-selected labs allowed attendees to explore areas of interest or push themselves out of their comfort zones. I heard some great stories about the molecular gastronomy workshop in which participants combined chemistry and food science to come up with something that looked like fried eggs and spaghetti, but tasted anything but. Talk about getting uncomfortable! Eww!

My personal favorite was the video production lab. Here, attendees wrote and starred in their own 30-second videos, promoting their associations, services, events – anything they wanted their audience to know about. Most of us are totally self-conscious in front of the camera, so this was an area where people really had to push themselves. The results were wonderful! Those who participated received copies of their videos and were even willing and able to share them with other registrants during the final session on Innovation Application.

Speaking of which, we were lucky enough to have Michelle Mason, president and CEO of Association Forum of Chicagoland, moderate our final Innovation Application session. After a brief introduction from Michelle, Dana Murn-Kohal of CUES gave us a quick overview of her takeaways from the Innovation Summit, in a format she’d never presented in before!

For some, networking and meeting new people can be uncomfortable. During this last session, attendees were challenged to introduce themselves to participants they’d never met before and exchange contact information. These would be their “accountability buddies” and help them stay on track to implementing at least one idea from the Innovation Summit before our 2015 event.

While you take time to step out of your comfort zone, whether it’s to explore a new opportunity, make a new acquaintance, or discover a hidden talent, we’ll start planning the next Innovation Summit. It’ll take a lot of stepping out to make it even more innovative next year, but we’re up to the challenge! We’d love to hear any ideas you have for making the event even better in 2015.

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Patterson elected chair of Association Societies Alliance

 Lynda J. Patterson, FASAE, CAE, president and owner of AMPED has been elected chair of the board of the Association Societies Alliance (ASA), a national federation of societies of association executives. Patterson serves as president and CEO of the Wisconsin Society of Association Executives (WSAE), a client of AMPED.

As chair of ASA, Patterson will represent the Alliance on issues of common interest to associations and lead the organization’s strategic initiatives.

“ASA provides an invaluable forum to share ideas and innovation in association management. I’m honored to serve as its chair,” says Patterson.

ASA is a voluntary membership organization comprised of local, regional, multi-state, independent, autonomous society association executives. The purpose of the Alliance is to be the knowledge leader of the profession of association management, preparing society association executive-CEOs for future success.

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So much more to come: WSAE Board has innovative plans for growing, engaging members

President's message from WSAE VantagePoint magazine, Summer 2014 — This issue of VantagePoint focuses largely on the Innovation Summit scheduled for Sept. 25-26 in Milwaukee. And I guarantee it is going to the best ever! Put away your suits and ties — come in your jeans to participate in labs that will help you expand your thinking outside of your comfort zone. Hear from experts and learn from your peers practical ways to consistently improve your organizations, create a culture of innovation and embrace opportunity. Plus, enjoy the city’s spectacular venues, including the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, Discovery World, and an optional sail on Lake Michigan.

Our facilitator and keynote speaker, Pam Henderson, focuses on opportunity thinking and we will all get a copy of her book, You Can Kill an Idea… But You Can’t Kill an Opportunity! How to Discover New Sources of Growth for Your Organization. I recently heard Pam speak at a business event and she says, “Opportunity thinking goes beyond innovation driven by the market, technologies, new business models or design thinking – to look at all of the sources of growth.” I was impressed by the examples she shared of the work she’s done with companies like North Face and Kellogg’s.

Coming up . . .
The WSAE Board embraces innovation and opportunity, listening to members and being very flexible and proactive, taking measured risks. Some of the new things you will be hearing about include:

  • focus groups to understand our future workforce needs, skills and training.
  • expanded CEO roundtables, as well as the development of peer groups built around other specialized areas. Reach out to us if you have an idea for one of these groups in your area of interest.
  • peer-directed learning in various formats
  • an advisor or mentor program to help connect you with members who can help you with immediate needs or membership questions
  • enhanced comunication with CEO members and staff leaders and deeper connections into all member organizations

Lots in store. And I have to say, I continue to feel challenged and am impressed with the level of engagement and strategic direction provided by the leadership of WSAE and all our members.

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AMPED retained to manage national insurance agents association

The National Association of Professional Allstate Agents, Inc. (NAPAA) has retained AMPED to provide all association management services, effective July 1, according to Lynda J. Patterson, FASAE, CAE, president and owner of AMPED. Nancy Fish will continue to serve as the association’s executive director.

NAPAA, founded in 1990, is dedicated to the success of Allstate exclusive agency owners and to advance the independence and entrepreneurial spirit of its members. NAPAA offers a variety of resources for members, including an annual conference, education, an online forum, member-to-member referrals, and a quarterly magazine distributed to more than 9,000 Allstate insurance agents.

The association’s current headquarters will move from Gulfport, Miss., to Madison, Wis.

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New online community created to promote members’ businesses

Exchange home page 4-29-14

 

A new online community where association members connect with prospective clients recently was launched by Association Management Partners & Executive Directors (AMPED) on behalf of its client, the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA).

CSIA, a global trade association for companies that design and implement sophisticated control systems for manufacturing and industrial facilities, created a website two years ago that features content for members and prospective members, plus information directed to members’ prospective clients. The website included a link to an online buyers guide.

While the CSIA website enjoys high search engine rankings, members wanted to take their joint marketing effort to a higher level.

“Our members told us they wanted more dynamic ways to tell their stories and make connections with industry partners and prospective clients,” said Lynda J. Patterson, FASAE, CAE, owner and president of AMPED and president of CSIA. “The Industrial Automation Exchange offers many more features than an online buyers guide, including the ability to display areas of expertise, supplier affiliations and key contact people.”

AMPED conducted an extensive search for a developer to build and host a site that would meet all of the requirements specified by a member task force. A perfect match was found with Diamax, a Washington, D.C.-based software engineering studio and interactive agency that combines creative and technical expertise to produce multichannel communications products and digital solutions for associations and other clients.

“Our technology allows us to create specialized digital communities that connect people who need solutions to people who can provide them through content that answers their questions. When a customer finds the right person, they also find the right company, in this case a control system integrator,” said Derek Rector, president of Diamax. “Ultimately, all B2B commerce is really P2P, or people to people.”

Four levels of profiles
The Exchange displays four levels of profiles – basic, bronze, silver and gold. Nonmembers’ names and addresses will be included in the basic listing. Nonmembers will be able to purchase one of the higher level profiles, however, pricing is structured to motivate nonmembers to join CSIA.

“The Exchange might be a system integrator’s introduction to CSIA, but we will encourage them to join and enjoy all of the association’s benefits, which include best practices for managing a system integration business, a certification program, an annual conference and a members-only social media site,” said Patterson.

The site is integrated with CSIA’s association management software, Avectra netForum, so members’ profiles are prepopulated with demographic information. Members can log in, expand their company profile, add on optional features, preview and check out, using PayPal. Advertising, in the form of tower ads, featured companies and category ads in search results, may be purchased by contacting CSIA.

All current members will receive a bronze-level profile free for the first year. “Having a robust site with many companies featured is critical to the site’s success. We want visitors to bookmark the Exchange and come back frequently,” said Patterson.

Information storehouse serves dual purposes
The Find an Answer section of the site allows Exchange members to present videos, slides, whitepapers and case studies. Plus, visitors and members can ask and answer questions in an online forum.

“Even if a company doesn’t have a lot of whitepapers or case studies, they still have an opportunity to show their expertise by answering questions,” said Eric Huemmer, who joined the AMPED staff in January as exchange community manager.

Furthermore, a large repository of frequently updated information will improve search engine optimization and boost rankings in search results. Amassing a lot of information about control system integration in one location creates a “large footprint” that can actually be found on the web, according to Rector.

“By aggregating our resources as an association, we are going to garner more attention than any one of us can alone,” said PC Romano, president of Avid Solutions and chairman of the CSIA board of directors. “The Exchange has the potential to change the way we market ourselves by creating a dynamic hub where integrators, suppliers and end users meet.”

View the Industrial Automation Exchange or contact AMPED for more information.

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