Monthly Archives: September 2020

40. Cassini Nazir

The Iowa Idea: Cassini Nazir

“It’s about people.”

In this episode of The Iowa Idea Podcast, I sit down with Cassini Nazir. Cassini is a designer of conversations, curriculum, and interfaces.

He is a Clinical Associate Professor in New College at the University of North Texas where he teaches classes in design thinking and interaction design. Prior to joining UNT, he taught at The University of Texas at Dallas, where he was founding director of the ATEC Usability Lab, which fosters collaborative research with community partners and offers experiential learning to students

While at UT Dallas, he was Director of Design for the ArtSciLab, a transdisciplinary research lab helping the arts, science, and technology communities by pursuing initiatives of societal urgency and cultural timeliness.

We discuss the importance of cross-disciplinary collaboration and intentionality in good design – covering topics like the Heilmeier Catechism and exformation. We dig into advice and mentorship. I was moved by a story Cassini shares about his father that serves as a reminder of leading by example and at the end of the day “it’s about people.”

It was an honor to have Cassini on the podcast. I thank him for his time and insights. I hope you enjoy the episode.

About Cassini

Cassini Nazir is a designer of conversations, curriculum, and interfaces.

He is a Clinical Associate Professor in New College at the University of North Texas where he teaches classes in design thinking and interaction design. Prior to joining UNT, he taught at The University of Texas at Dallas, where he was founding director of the ATEC Usability Lab, which fosters collaborative research with community partners and offers experiential learning to students.

In spring 2020, he was Designer-in-Residence for the SMU Masters in Design and Innovation program.

While at UT Dallas, he was Director of Design for the ArtSciLab, a transdisciplinary research lab helping the arts, science, and technology communities by pursuing initiatives of societal urgency and cultural timeliness.

He holds bachelor’s degrees in English Literature and Economics as well as an MFA in Arts and Technology.

https://www.theiaconference.com/

Credits

Episode produced by Spark Consulting Group (www.inspiredbyspark.com) in Iowa City, with support from Executive Podcast Solutions (https://www.executivepodcastsolutions.com/)

The Iowa Idea Podcast music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).

39. Michele Williams

The Iowa Idea: Michele Williams

“2020 Is really the year of sensemaking.”

In this episode of The Iowa Idea Podcast, I sit down with Dr. Michele Williams. Professor Williams, Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa, has taught negotiations to executives, startups, MBAs, and undergraduates at leading schools of management for over ten years. She is co-author of the Four Capabilities Assessment. Michele’s research focuses on negotiation, leadership, sensemaking, and trust, as well as women in leadership and entrepreneurship.

We discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion improving sensemaking capabilities. We dig into the importance of sensemaking through the lens of her latest article “The Overlooked Key to Leading Through Chaos.” If you’re looking at ways to improve leadership in your organization, you’ll love this episode. Links to resources from Dr. Williams are in the episode description.

It was an honor having Michele on the podcast. I thank her for her time and insights. I hope you enjoy the episode.

About Michele

Professor Michele Williams, Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa, has taught negotiations to executives, startups, MBAs, and undergraduates at leading schools of management for over 10 years. She is co-author of the Four Capabilities Assessment.

The research and work of Dr. Williams (University of Michigan, Ph.D.), which began with a focus on Trust and Relationships at work, now intersects with work on Women in Leadership & Entrepreneurship. She addresses two challenges that organizations face:

Trust and Relationships—Building, maintaining, and repairing trust in team-based relationships and across demographic and organizational boundaries; Sustaining high performing, cross-boundary relationships.

Women in Leadership & Entrepreneurship— Social construction of gender; Gender equity within firms and across established and entrepreneurial ventures; Factors affecting women as team members, boundary spanners, and business owners.

Michele, assistant professor and the John L. Miclot Fellow in Entrepreneurship, recently joined the Management & Organizations’ faculty at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business. She is also a scholar at Cornell University’s Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution and with the Smith Family Business Initiative Cornell’s Johnson College of Business. Previously, she was a member of the faculty at Cornell University and MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

She has authored papers and case studies, published in notable academic journals, and speaks at academic and professional conferences on her topics of research. She produced a unique course offering on Women in Leadership, Negotiation & Entrepreneurship, and has spoken on this topic at JP Morgan. She is co-author The Four Capabilities Leadership Assessment—an online 360° assessment used by organizations to enhance the leadership potential of managers.

Dr. Williams earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Johns Hopkins University, her Master of Arts degree in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

Sensemaking quiz:  http://drmichelewilliams.com/leading-through-chaos-quiz/

Sensemaking article: https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/the-overlooked-key-to-leading-through-chaos/

Website: HTTP://drmichelewilliams.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drmichelewilliams/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MicheleWilliamz

Credits

Episode produce by Spark Consulting Group (www.inspiredbyspark.com) in Iowa City, with support from Executive Podcast Solutions (https://www.executivepodcastsolutions.com/)

The Iowa Idea Podcast music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).

38. Gary Kroeger

The Iowa Idea: Gary Kroeger

“Life is a journey.”

In this episode of The Iowa Idea Podcast, I sit down with Gary Kroeger. Gary was born in Cedar Falls and attended Northwestern University. In Chicago he helped found The Practical Theatre Company with fellow alums Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall.  This association caught the eye of Saturday Night Live producers and the three of them became regulars on SNL. A political enthusiast who has run for Congress as well at the State House, Gary continues his blog and podcast “Gary Has Issues” and is a featured columnist in the Waterloo Courier.

It was Gary’s work on SNL, specifically a sketch of Larry’s Corner, that hooked me on Saturday Night Live. We talked about the fun and challenges of producing a weekly live show.

Gary and I talk about his journey\and approach to craft, the importance of putting in the reps, and the application of an improv mindset in business. I appreciated Gary’s advice from one of his teachers – “do something every day to improve yourself.”

It was an honor having Gary on the podcast. I thank him for his time and insights. I hope you enjoy the episode.

About Gary

Gary Kroeger was born in Cedar Falls and attended Northwestern University.  In Chicago he helped found The Practical Theatre Company with fellow alums Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall.  This association caught the eye of Saturday Night Live producers and the three of them became regulars on the venerable late-night comedy show.

After SNL, Gary moved to Los Angeles for a series on CBS, called Spies with George Hamilton and later produced George’s daytime chat show The George and Alana Show.  Television appearances on many popular shows led to starring roles in films A Man Called Sarge, The Return of the Shaggy Dog and Archie To Riverdale and Back.  Gary went on to host versions of The Newlywed Game and the classic Beat the Clock. He was the weatherman in a popular episode of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.

In 2003 Gary moved back to Cedar Falls and works as Creative Director for Mudd Advertising and is the CEO of Outlier Creative Solutions.  He also starred in Holiday Inn, The Man of La Mancha, I Do I Do, The Music Man, White Christmas, and Guys and Dolls at the Cedar Falls Community Theater.

As the father of two boys, as well as a stepfather to 3 other children, community involvement has been an important factor in Gary’s life.  He is the statewide spokesman for Court Appointment Special Advocates for abused and neglected children, and was instrumental in the creation of Safe Kids, Iowa.

A political enthusiast who has run for Congress as well at the State House, Gary continues his blog and podcast “Gary Has Issues” and is a featured columnist in the Waterloo Courier.

Credits

Episode produced by Spark Consulting Group (www.inspiredbyspark.com) in Iowa City, with support from Executive Podcast Solutions (https://www.executivepodcastsolutions.com/)

The Iowa Idea Podcast music was written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).

37. Aaron Proietti

The Iowa Idea: Aaron Proietti

“Make the offer.”

In this episode of The Iowa Idea Podcast, I sit down with Aaron Proietti. Aaron is the author of Today’s Innovator. He is an innovation expert with seventeen years of experience innovating in complex organizations. Aaron views innovation not as an activity, but as a core business competency that must be developed, led, and nurtured within both the individual and the organization. Aaron has spoken at numerous conferences on topics related to technology trends, innovation leadership, innovation strategy, and culture change. A former Chief Innovation Officer at Transamerica, Aaron is also an expert in technology trends and their impacts on people and businesses. Through his company “Today’s Innovator” and his writing, Aaron’s mission is to connect and empower the innovators found within each of us.

Aaron and I talk about his journey as a data scientist, innovator, and leader. We explore some of his lessons and insights regarding innovation. We dig deep into the leadership, organizational culture, and people challenges that impede innovation.

It was great having Aaron on the podcast. I thank him for his time and insights. I hope you enjoy the episode.

About Aaron

Aaron Proietti is an innovation expert with seventeen-plus years of experience innovating in complex organizations. Most recently, at Transamerica, a multinational Fortune 500 insurance company, Aaron built and led the company’s Insights & Innovation department consisting of six centers of excellence designed to fuel innovation. As Chief Innovation Officer he led a division- wide effort to transform the culture of 6,000 employees to a culture of innovation, collaboration, and trust. As Chief Customer Advocate he merged the company’s customer-centric service strategy with its forward-looking innovation strategy. And as the Head of Marketing Innovation he built and staffed a cutting-edge Research & Development team tasked with building customer experiences of the future and integrating them back into Transamerica’s core business.

After getting his Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics from Georgia Tech, Aaron got his career started as a Data Analyst at Capital One, one of the nation’s largest banks — a role that for sure would be called a Data Scientist today. It is there that he gained his first exposure to innovation as part of a team that developed new products and processes that contributed over $50 million per year. Aaron later worked as a Product Owner in Capital One’s “Invention Factory,” as well as several other roles that would shape his career as an innovator. It is at Capital One where Aaron learned the value a strong corporate culture has in driving innovation. He left Capital One in 2007 to gain experience in the startup environment, working to develop a new way of packaging and selling life insurance.

In 2016, at the age of forty, Aaron stepped away from the corporate grind to decompress and reevaluate his career trajectory. He recently founded Today’s Innovator, a coaching and training company working to “connect and empower innovators.” Aaron is the author of the book Today’s Innovator (Motivational Press, 2019). He speaks at conferences and events on topics related to technology trends, innovation leadership, innovation strategy, and culture change. Aaron has also been a regular writing contributor at Future Shapers, InnovationLeader.com and Insurance Thought Leadership.

Today’s Innovator Website

Today’s Innovator Book

Credits

Episode produce by Spark Consulting Group (www.inspiredbyspark.com) in Iowa City, with support from Executive Podcast Solutions (https://www.executivepodcastsolutions.com/)

The Iowa Idea Podcast music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).

36. Mike Maddock

The Iowa Idea: Mike Maddock

“You can’t read the label when you’re inside the jar.”

In this episode of The Iowa Idea Podcast, I sit down with Mike Maddock. Mike is an entrepreneur, inventor, writer, keynote speaker, and an idea monkey. He is the CEO and founding partner of Maddock Douglas, an internationally recognized innovation consulting firm. Mike has founded six successful businesses. He is a long-time Forbes contributor and the co-author of four books: “Free the Idea Monkey,” “Brand New,” “Flirting with the Uninterested” and “Plan D: Lessons from the World’s Most Successful Disruptors.” Plan D was released in February 2019.

Mike and I talk about his journey as a creative and entrepreneur. We explore some of his lessons and insights regarding innovation. We discuss why innovation is harder for organizations now than it was ten years ago. We dig into the connection between strong brands and innovative organizations, as well as the importance of insight-driven innovation.

It was great having Mike on the podcast. I thank him for his time and insights. I hope you enjoy the episode.

About Mike

Mike Maddock is an entrepreneur, inventor, writer and keynote speaker. He is the CEO and founding partner of Maddock Douglas, an internationally recognized innovation consulting firm that has worked with more than 25 percent of the Fortune 100 to design and launch new products, services, experiences and business models. A serial entrepreneur, Mike has founded six successful businesses. Mike’s fun and interactive keynote presentations have consistently rated 9.5+ at business conferences around the world. He is a long-time Forbes contributor and the co-author of four books: “Free the Idea Monkey,” “Brand New,” “Flirting with the Uninterested” and “Plan D: Lessons from the World’s Most Successful Disruptors.” Plan D was released in February 2019 and is an Amazon best-seller, reaching #1 in Strategic Business Planning.

Credits

Episode produced by Spark Consulting Group (www.inspiredbyspark.com) in Iowa City, with support from Executive Podcast Solutions (https://www.executivepodcastsolutions.com/)

The Iowa Idea Podcast music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).