Monthly Archives: June 2021

96. Natalie Nixon

The Iowa Idea: Natalie Nixon 

“Wonder and Rigor.”

In this episode of the Iowa Idea Podcast, I’m joined by Natalie Nixon, PhD. Natalie changes lives through ideas so that people build their creative confidence for years to come, make an impact, and get paid their worth. She is a creativity strategist, global keynote speaker and author of the award winning The Creativity Leap: Unleash Curiosity, Improvisation and Intuition at Work, which has been recognized as a game-changing innovation book by Fast CompanyPorchlight and Soundview. As president of Figure 8 Thinking, LLC she advises leaders on transformation – by applying wonder and rigor to amplify growth and business value.

Natalie shares her journey from growing up in Philadelphia, to degrees in anthropology and fashion, to her career in academia, to launching her own business, to releasing her book The Creativity Leap. Natalie shares the power of daydreaming… which makes me feel a bit better about how I spent most of second grade.

Natalie and I nerd out as we talk about creativity, design, chaordic systems (chaos and order) and how she elegantly weaves all of these together with concepts of wonder and rigor. Links to her WonderRigor™ Lab and a WonderRigor™ tip sheet can be found in the show description. Through the lens of improv and jazz we explore the value of  creativity in many forms, including the power of the remix. I appreciated Natalie’s insights and perspectives on creativity, wonder, and sensemaking.

It was an honor having Natalie join me on the show. I hope you enjoy the episode.

About Natalie

Natalie Nixon, PhD changes lives through ideas so that people build their creative confidence for years to come, make an impact and get paid their worth. She is a creativity strategist, global keynote speaker and author of the award winning The Creativity Leap: Unleash Curiosity, Improvisation and Intuition at Work, which has been recognized as a game-changing innovation book by Fast Company. Company,  Porchlight and Soundview.

As president of Figure 8 Thinking, LLC she advises leaders on transformation- by applying wonder and rigor to amplify growth and business value. Clients have included Comcast, Citrix, Living Cities, and Bloomberg.

A hybrid thinker, Natalie consistently applies her background in cultural anthropology and fashion. She began her career in education and as a hat designer. Later, Natalie worked in global apparel sourcing for a division of The Limited, Inc. Previous to Figure 8 Thinking, she was a professor for 16 years. Natalie is an early-stage investor at two social impact ventures. She’s valued for her ability to work at the intersection of commercial value and stakeholder equity.

Natalie has lived in Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Israel, and Sri Lanka and is proficient in Portuguese and Spanish. She is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is certified as a Foresight Practitioner by the Institute for the Future.

When she’s not dancing up a storm in hip-hop class, Natalie is fine-tuning her foxtrot, salsa, and tango on the ballroom floor. She lives in her hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her husband, John Nixon, and is the proud stepmother of Sydney.

Links

Free sample chapter of The Creativity Leap : bit.ly/tclfree

The WonderRigor™ Tip Sheet: bit.ly/wrtipsheet

The WonderRigor™ Lab online creativity course

Figure 8 Thinking – https://www.figure8thinking.com/

Natalie’s TEDx Fire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTS95OchFOE&t=999s

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 theme music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).

95. Jackie Pelland

The Iowa Idea: Jackie Pelland

 “You’re just not that big of a deal.”

In this episode of the Iowa Idea Podcast, I’m joined by Jackie Pelland. Jackie obsesses about leadership. She is a founding partner of the organizational design company, Slingshot25 where she designs and delivers leadership learning programs and provides executive leadership coaching. For 25 years before starting her own company, Jackie was an employee in big telecom and aerospace companies. This means she is no stranger to complicated corporate environments that are controlled by bureaucracy and office politics.

Jackie shares her journey from growing up in small town Iowa, to college, to the complicated and unnecessarily toxic corporate environments. Her mission is to bring humanity and joy to the heart of the employee experience. Her message is consistent and singular: she believes every single employee deserves a great place to work.

We mix it up on leadership, explore the Sunday scaries, and leaders’ ability to deeply impact the lives of those in their organization. I appreciated Jackie’s willingness to share what she’s learned, as well as her positive energy focused on unleashing the power of positive leadership. We discussed how the general principles of leadership haven’t changed in 200,000 years, yet why each generation struggles with learning and applying the lessons of leadership in our complex world. This includes the skills gap of leaders, as well as sociopathology that presents itself in HR and executive leadership. I enjoyed Jackie’s insight that coaches ask questions, they don’t give advice.

It was an honor having Jackie join me on the show. I hope you enjoy the episode.

About Jackie

Jackie Pelland is a founding partner of the organizational design company, Slingshot25 where she designs and delivers leadership learning programs and provides executive leadership coaching. For 25 years before starting her own company, Jackie was an employee in big telecom and aerospace companies. This means she is no stranger to complicated corporate environments that are controlled by bureaucracy and office politics.

As big companies keep getting bigger and taking up an ever-increasing share of employment in this country, Jackie’s mission is to bring humanity and joy to the heart of the employee experience. Her message is consistent and singular: she believes every single employee deserves a great place to work. A place where they can discover and apply their natural talents in order to feel personal satisfaction and the thrill of a job well done. There is no question that leaders have an outsized impact on the employee experience – they make or break it every day.

This ability for leaders to affect our lives so deeply is why Jackie has spent her career studying the art and science of leadership. Her studies have brought her to the conclusion that the basic premise of leadership hasn’t changed in about 200,000 years. She believes that what we need from our leaders – a desire to contribute our talents, to be valued and feel connected to others – is roughly the same now as when we lived in caves. It’s these beliefs that drive her irreverent, fun, and welcoming approach to leadership development and make her the designer of unique leadership programs that focus on the essential and often-forgotten truth of leading people.

Links

Slingshot25 website: www.slingshot25.com

My LinkedIn page: www.linkedin.com/in/jackiepelland/

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 theme music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).

94. Miguel Encarnação

The Iowa Idea: Miguel Encarnação

“Look for the patterns.”

In this episode of the Iowa Idea, I’m joined by Miguel Encarnação. Miguel is an innovation thought leader and serial chief innovation officer with experience across industries, including banking, healthcare, international development, management consulting, and higher education. He currently serves as head of data visualization (SVP) at Regions Bank and Financial Corporation.

Miguel shares his journey from growing up in Germany, to studying computer science, to working in early, cross collaboration innovation labs, to becoming a chief innovation officer. We cover his innovation management and strategy experiences and discuss why we’re still struggling with decades old problems of human-computer-interaction. We mix it up on the conflation of new technology, digital transformation, and innovation.

It was an honor having Miguel on the show. I consider myself very lucky to work with and learn from Miguel on many innovation, data visualization, and UX projects. I hope you enjoy the episode.

About Miguel

Dr. Encarnação is an innovation thought leader and serial chief innovation officer with experience across industries, including banking, healthcare, international development, management consulting, and higher education. He currently serves as head of data visualization (SVP) at Regions Bank and Financial Corporation, a member of the S&P 500 Index and one of the largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management and mortgage products and services in the US. His technical areas of expertise include data and information visualization, AI, Human-Computer Interaction, VR and AR. These technical competencies, in addition to his innovation management and strategy background, also form the foundation for his continuing involvement with research and academia as professor of practice and adjunct lecturer of business analytics, innovation, and computer science.

Links

Miguel on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/DrMiguel

Upcoming talks:

Front-End Innovationhttps://informaconnect.com/feiusa/speakers/l-miguel-encarnao/#track-1-indoor-a-collective-approach-to-strategic-innovation_case-study-seeing-is-believing-the-role-of-data-visualization-in-decision-making-and-innovation

Innovation Leader – Charting the Future of Innovation: https://events.bizzabo.com/305703/agenda/session/547216

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 theme music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).

93. John Morley

The Iowa Idea: John Morley

“Accommodate the richness of different perspectives.”

In this episode I’m joined by John Morley. John represents my third interview with Cork natives and reinforcing the strong connections between Cork and Iowa. This Cork troika, Stephen McDonnell, Paidi O’Reilly, and John are phenomenal conversations on collaboration and innovation.  Since the late-90’s John led organizations – large, small and medium, urban and rural, public and private – to support self-sustaining innovation projects where the goals are both ambitious and ambiguous, the challenges complex and resources always limited. John has spent 20 years working in Silicon Valley with global tech titans including EMC, Symantec, Cisco and Hitachi. Throughout his career he has blended competence in sales enablement, customer marketing and innovation, yielding 3x revenue growth year-over-year, new market category and product creation and massive acceleration in complex product process adoption.

John and I dig into his journey from going up in Cork, going to college for political science, working for large global companies, to facilitating lean innovation efforts in Silicon Valley. John and I met through the Strategic Doing community and ever since, I’ve enjoyed the opportunities

John and I mix it up on complexity and innovation, with a focus on effectual innovation. Led by Paidi O’Reilly (episode 90), John, Fran Willis White, Ed Morrison, and I have been exploring at how we can innovate the way we innovate – and focus on what’s the best we can do with what we have. As Fran says, there an abundance of human potential, we just need to unlock these resources. John also shares the wisdom of Barry O’Reilly and Barry’s work on “unlearning” and how we work to maximize clarity and competence. Building on Fran’s insight “method follows intent” John discusses the power of intention. John shares his wisdom about where individuals’ fear and a lack of intent (usually process related) that tend to have negative impacts on organizational culture and outcomes.

It was an honor having John on the show. It’s a joy when I have the opportunity to sit down with John and was happy to record this one. I hope you enjoy the episode.

About John

John has spent 20 years working in Silicon Valley with global tech titans including EMC, Symantec, Cisco and Hitachi. Throughout his career he has blended competence in sales enablement, customer marketing and innovation, yielding 3x revenue growth Y/Y, new market category and product creation and massive acceleration in complex product process adoption.

He was central to the development of the Tech industry’s first Marketing Data Science Lab (at EMC in 2013) using data science and analytics to enhance marketing insights and predictions.  Today he has championed the alignment of design thinking and data science disciplines for the purpose of delivering ever more effective business outcomes.  He teaches Designing Better Business Outcomes using Data Science at Menlo College, CA.

John’s sweet spot is to work with those charged with making change actionable and lasting. He helps teams make sense of complex challenges and to find shared purpose in order to create new value. In doing so he blends techniques including Design Thinking, Focused Conversation facilitation, Complex Collaboration, Data Science and various innovation methods. John is a connector who challenges people to tap into their creativity and to come together to collaborate and create exponential value.

Links

John’s Website:  https://www.johnmorley.co/

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 theme music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).

92. Jason Narducy

The Iowa Idea: Jason Narducy

“Just Start Moving.”

In this episode, I’m joined by Jason Narducy, who Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune describes as “a first-rate songwriter and band leader.” KEXP says “you won’t see more indie rock cred than on the CV of Jason Narducy.” Hailing from Evanston, IL, Jason has recorded and toured with Bob Mould Band, Superchunk, Verbow, and his current project Split Single have a new album, Amplificado, out June 25th on Inside Outside Records, which was recorded at Electrical Audio in Chicago with Mike Mills (bass), Jon Wurster (drums). Jason is also known for having the sexiest elbows in rock.

Jason and I dig into his journey, starting his first band Verboten and playing shows when he was 11 years old. Verboten is credited with inspiring Dave Grohl, of Nirvana, Probot, and Foo Fighters to start a band. Jason shares the process of writing for the musical version of Verboten, which was released shortly before the pandemic; and how that process differs from the way he approaches Split Single songs.  Jason walks me through what it’s like collaborating with Bob Mould (Husker Du, Sugar), Robert Pollard (Guided by Voices), Mike Mills (REM, The Baseball Project), Jon Wurster (Superchunk, The Mountain Goats) and others.

Jason discusses some of the ways he adapted to the pandemic including the unexpected joys of doing lawn shows. We nerd out about Cheap Trick and Bob Mould. I really appreciate Jason’s encyclopedic knowledge of Bob Mould solo shows in the ‘90s. Jason shares some great stories of performing Downed, one of the Trick’s greatest songs, around the world.

Jason will be on tour this summer with the Bob Mould Band, as well as supporting Split Single’s release of Amplificado, and will be touring in the fall opening for Bob Mould solo shows. I’m looking forward to seeing Jason in Iowa City in October.

It was an honor having Jason join me on the podcast – especially during Pride month, as his latest release “(Nothing You Can Do to) End This Love” is a message of love and support to the LGBTQ+ community. Check out the links in the show description for more information on Split Single and YouTube clips on Jason’s coming to grips with the pros and cons of having the sexiest elbows in rock. I hope you enjoy the episode.

About Jason

Split Single, the collective project of Chicago-based musician Jason Narducy (Bob Mould Band, Superchunk, Verbow), announces their new album, Amplificado, out June 25th on Inside Outside Records. Recorded at Electrical Audio in Chicago by Narducy (guitar/vocals), REM’s Mike Mills (bass), Jon Wurster (drums), Amplificado is a tight collection of rock songs dealing with the anxiety of living through a chaotic and cruel Republican majority rule and under the limitations of a worldwide pandemic. The new album comes nearly five years after the release of Split Single’s 2016 album, Metal Frames, “a powerhouse pop record that prides itself on tenacious vocals and resolute rhythm guitar” (Stereogum) recorded with Wurster and Wilco’s John Sitrratt, and last year’s acclaimed, Jeff Award-nominated production of Verböten, a musical inspired by Narducy’s now-seminal childhood punk rock band of the same name.

Amplificado comprises some of the tightest, most direct and high-energy songwriting of Narducy’s established career. The opening cut, at first listen, is a marching band instrumental teetering off the rails. The title (“caPtAIN calamIty’S crUde pRocCessiON”) and sound effects are chock full of Easter eggs but the song disappears in less than a minute. The defiant “Blood Break Ground” establishes a story of breaking out from under oppression and finding a new home and purpose. Mills’ bass and backing vocals are on a constant trajectory to the end alongside Wurster’s propulsive power. Narducy’s voice shreds to pieces as he bellows “Condescension comes with a price, tear away all lingering ties.”

“Stone Heart World” and “95 Percent” are a one-two punch of political frustrations and inner turmoil. With its punk rock take on “Lust For Life”‘s beat, the former sounds upbeat and catchy, defying the scathing lyrical take on GOP ethos: “No answers, just a way to keep ten yachts floating on school kids lost hope”.

“95 Percent” closes with “whoa whoa whoa” gang vocals as if Superchunk went through a Springsteen phase. The sparse and vulnerable “Adrift” can barely pick up the pieces left behind from the bombast of the previous 3 tracks. It is a haunting poem of depression and isolation. The cellos and piano played by Alison Chesley mark the first time Jason and Alison have recorded together in 22 years (the last Verbow album was tracked in 1999).

“End This Love” is a message of love and support to the LGBTQ+ community. “She loves her and he loves him, there’s nothing you can do to end this love, A or B or AB or O, we are all one of these four”.

Links

Split Single http://www.splitsinglemusic.com/

Jason on Twitter https://twitter.com/SplitSingleband

Jason on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jasonnarducy/

Sexiest Elbows Part 1https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9l5Wzq2dEc

Sexiest Elbows Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PUdnT5UFzk

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 theme music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).

91. Ed Hess

The Iowa Idea: Ed Hess

“Inner peace… that’s the human journey.”

For the first episode of year two at The Iowa Idea Podcast, I’m joined by Ed Hess. Ed is Professor Emeritus of Business Administration in the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. His new book Hyper-Learning: How to Adapt to the Speed of Change sets forth a cognitive, emotional, and behavioral model designed to enable the highest levels of human performance in the Digital Age. Ed is the author of 13 books and over 160 practitioner articles dealing with innovation and learning cultures, systems, and processes. Some of the common themes of his work address high performing individual and organizational performance. Ed’s work has appeared in Fortune Magazine, HBR, Fast Company, WIRED, Forbes, INC., Huffington Post, Washington Post, Business Week, and the Financial Times. His book Smart Growth was named a Top 25 business book in 2010 for business owners by Inc. Magazine and was awarded the Wachovia Award for Research Excellence. His book Learn or Die was an Amazon best seller and was awarded the Wells Fargo Award for Research Excellence.  Prior to Hyper Learning, Ed co-authored, Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age.

Ed and I dig into the importance of hyper-learning, built on high quality, making meaning conversations; caring, trusting teams; and a mastery of self, through the reduction of one’s ego, and why those are critical if we’re to successfully adapt and address the power and potential of digital transformation.

I appreciated Ed sharing his journey from high school in Georgia, to attending The University of Florida on a scholarship as an athletic manager, to the world of investment banking, to academia. His passion for understanding deep principles has guided his work for decades. His research explored high performance organizations, which led to high performance leaders, which in turn led to the science of learning. Spoiler alert: humility is the key element  of high performing leaders and organizations. Ed and I explore the need for us to embrace our humanity, work on inner peace, and help others if we’re to succeed. See the links in the show description for more resources on Hyper Learning. If you’re enjoying the podcasts, please do me a favor  — tell a friend or colleague and leave a positive review on Apple Podcasts. Ratings and reviews can really help .

It was an honor having Ed join me on the podcast. I want to thank him for his time and insights. I’d also like to thank Adam Hansen, author of Outsmart Your Instincts, for introducing me to Ed. I hope you enjoy the episode

About Ed

Professor Emeritus of Business Administration

Batten Faculty Fellow Emeritus

Batten Executive-in-Residence Emeritus

Darden Graduate School of Business

University of Virginia

Education:

J.D., University of Virginia

L.L.M., New York University

Professor Ed Hess spent more than 20 years in the business world as a senior executive at Warburg Paribas Becker, Boettcher & Company, the Robert M. Bass Group and Arthur Andersen.

He joined academia in 2002 as an Adjunct Professor of Organization and Management at the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University where he was the Founder and Executive Director of The Center for Entrepreneurship and Corporate Growth and The Values-Based Leadership Institute.

In 2007, he joined the faculty of the Darden Graduate School of Business as Professor of Business Administration and the first Batten Executive-in- Residence.  He teaches in the MBA & EMBA Programs; has taught in over 21 Executive Education programs at Darden, IESE (Barcelona), the Indian School of Business, Georgia Tech and AVT Denmark and consults regularly with businesses and governmental agencies.

He is the author of 13 books and over 160 practitioner articles and over 60 Darden cases, etc. dealing with innovation and learning cultures, systems and processes. The common theme of his work is high individual and organizational performance.

His book Smart Growth was named a Top 25 business book in 2010 for business owners by Inc. Magazine and was awarded the Wachovia Award for Research Excellence. His book Learn or Die was an Amazon best seller and was awarded the Wells Fargo Award for Research Excellence.  His recent best-selling book is Hess & Ludwig, Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age (Berrett-Koehler, 2017).

Hess’s work has appeared in Fortune magazine, European Business Review, HBR, SHRM, Fast Company, WIRED, Forbes, INC., Huffington Post, Washington Post, Business Week, the Financial Times, in more than 400 other global media publications as well as on CNBC Squawk Box, Fox Business News with Maria Bartiroma, Big Think, WSJ Radio, Bloomberg Radio with Kathleen Hayes, Dow Jones Radio, MSNBC Radio, Business Insider, and Wharton Radio.

His new book Hyper-Learning: How to Adapt to the Speed of Change (Berrett-Koehler, 2020) sets forth a cognitive, emotional and behavioral model designed to enable the highest levels of human performance in the Digital Age.

Links

Ed’s Website:  https://www.edhess.org

Hyper Learning Roadmap: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ec6793e434c515632040cb6/t/6007b240c762f95979c8f21b/1611117162375/edhess–hyper-learning-roadmap.pdf

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 theme music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).