Coach K Leadership Conference

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Jim Whitehurst video: Competing as a 21st century enterprise among 20th century giants

The Duke Fuqua School of Business just posted Jim Whitehurst’s presentation from their Coach K Leadership Conference entitled “Competing as a 21st Century Enterprise Among 20th Century Giants.” I referred to it a while back in a post entitled Jim Whitehurst: 5 tips for competing in the 21st century.

Watch a stream of the whole talk here or click on the image above.

I think it is fantastic, but would love to hear what you think.

Jim Whitehurst: 5 tips for competing in the 21st century

I spent two days this week at the Coach K Leadership Conference at Duke. It’s always good to get above the trees for a few days, and this experience was exactly that kind of opportunity. Jonathan Opp did a nice summary post on the conference here and you can see the live Twitter stream here.

Jim Whitehurst on stage at the Coach K leadership conference (photo by Jonathan Opp)

Jim Whitehurst on stage at the Coach K leadership conference (photo by Jonathan Opp)

On Wednesday, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst gave a keynote entitled “Competing as a 21st Century Enterprise Among 20th Century Giants.” Jim comes at this subject from a pretty unique vantage point: he is probably one of the few people in the world who has run both a 20th century company (Delta Airlines, as COO) and a 21st century company (that would be us, Red Hat).

In his presentation, Jim covered some of the things he has learned in moving from the command and control, military-inspired corporate environment of Delta (which is pretty similar to the structure of many of the other great 20th century companies) to the open source-inspired corporate structure here at Red Hat (if you want to learn more about Red Hat and the open source way, here and here and here and here are some posts that will help). In particular, Jim gave five tips that will help your company compete better in the 21st century world– I’ve summarized them below:

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Two videos about the culture of technology disruption

Yesterday at the Coach K Leadership Conference, James McCaffrey of Turner Broadcasting gave a talk about leadership in a technology disrupted organization. He talked a lot about the evolution of the Turner brands, including CNN, Turner Classic Movies, TNT and the rest, in the face of massive change in the media industry. Sometimes we forget just how fundamentally the way people consume news, information, and entertainment has been revolutionized over the last few years, and this talk really got me thinking.

James showed a couple of videos I thought were freakin’ awesome. The first is called Did You Know, and it does an fabulous job of conveying the scale of change. I’d seen the original, but had never seen this version:

And the second video is laugh out loud funny. A quick look at how the media would have covered the moon landing if it happened today.

John Seely Brown’s secret formula for an innovation culture

I spent today at the Coach K Leadership Conference at Duke University (Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst will be speaking there tomorrow morning). One of today’s highlights was a panel called “Leading the Creative Enterprise” featuring John Seely Brown (the former director of the famous innovation hub at Xerox PARC).

I always love it when really smart people boil down the world into a simple 2×2 matrix, and during his comments, JSB put a chart up on the screen that looked something like this:

johnseelybrown To create a culture that will be successful at innovating, JSB says you must have four types of people: artists, scientists, designers, and engineers working together; each group must be represented.

Two of the groups (the artists and the scientists) get their energy from the way they internally process their own ideas, while the other two groups (designers and engineers) get their energy by thinking about how those ideas are brought to the outside world.

Looking at the matrix the other way, artists and designers share a common cause of trying to move people’s minds while scientists and engineers are firmly grounded in the world of actually making stuff work beyond the idea itself.

I’ve certainly seen these roles all represented in projects at Red Hat that have resulted in great innovations (the group that worked on the Red Hat values years ago comes to mind). And I’ve also been a part of projects that failed because at least one perspective was missing.

What do you think? Does this matrix work for you?

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