FEI Veteran and Staying To the Finish

Front End of Innovation is a torrential storm of content, connections, and inspiration. It looks like 2018 will be more of the same, so for those of you afraid of being drenched with new ideas, disruption, and challenging assumptions, I suggest you bring an umbrella. For those of you unafraid, you’ll want to leave the umbrella at home. Then, walk out into the storm, take a seat, and let it all soak into your subconscious.

Now, you may ask, what does this yokel know about all this? This is my fifth year attending and blogging for the Front End of Innovation. Looking back over those years, there are certainly patterns, common words used and moments where the audience took a collective inhale and stood to applaud the speaker. Clay Christensen had one of those moments, Susan Cain and Alexa Clay also brought the audience to their feet.

From all this colorful language it might start sounding like all pomp and circumstance, and very little substance. This is certainly not the case. The practical tidbits have come in via the speakers and fellow attendees, then leave on the pages of notebooks or tweets out to the universe. To truly experience the event, it is a matter of whether you’re the type of person who squeezes the last portion from the toothpaste tube or someone who leaves on the third day of a four day conference.

You can be certain, if you stay to hear Shelley Smith from Boston Beer Company, you will not regret the investment of your invaluable time. I know this, because I’ve stayed until they’re putting away the tables and chairs in prep for the next event after hearing her speak.

Here are the first four I’m excited about next week:

Hearing Ed Catmull, of Pixar is reason enough to fly across the country to hear his nuggets of wisdom and inspiration.

Of course, Lindsay Angelo, from Lululemon will draw a wide-eyed and curious crowd. My interest will be in the Lululemon Lab and some of the inside scoop on that adventure.

As I mentioned earlier, Boston Beer Company has been a tour stop for FEI in the past, so with Shelley Smith talking about Sam Adam and innovation, how can it go wrong.

Last, for this list at least, Luke Cherrington at AB InBev talking about intrapreneurs will certainly ring a curious sound in this author’s ears.

Those are my picks, now I’m curious to hear what you’re anticipating from FEI? Are you drawn to any one particular speaker or topic? Reach out so we can connect, we’re always looking for good stories to share.

About The Author

Aaron Keller

I am an author, strategist, researcher, cyclist, reader and consummate entrepreneur. When an interesting idea crosses my path, I find any way we can bring it to life. Earning an MBA from the Carlson School and numerous valuable credits at the school of hard knocks, I’ll sit at a boardroom conversation with anyone. Want to talk business strategy, consumer behavior and design? Oh, it’s on.


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