Intersections-Which direction do you choose?

 

How do you know which route you should take when you come to an intersection in an area that you are not familiar with?

Do you look for an answer through a map ? ( or an app?)

Do you call someone that has been there before and is familiar with the area?

Do you go with you instinct and see where the path takes you?

I usually go with my instinct and explore where the decision will take me and sometimes it works great and other times it takes me longer to get to the place I thought I was going but it allowed me to find new ideas, connections and opportunities that did not exist when I entered the intersection.

I look back over the past year and the intersections that I have entered have led me to some amazing people, opportunities and experiences.

#PIE, #TechStars, #B-Corp, #Patagonia, #TEN Media, #downstream, #ArmoryTrack, #USC, #LifeRemodeled, #Specialized, #Nike, #MediciGroup

If I continued down the path of my next role at Nike I would not be involved with trying to create a new concept to deliver Intersectional thinking to Companies and Universities as I partner with Frans Johansson and his team at the Medici Group.

If I did not look at another intersection while forming IncubatorU, I would not be leading an amazing technology startup that is going to change the way we connect enthusiasts with the gear they love, through Red Truck’s amazing platform.

If I did not look around at the intersection in Portland’s technology and strategic branding community I would not seen the benefits of becoming a B-Corp and leading the vision of both companies toward the benefit of the Planet, People and driving profitability to these businesses.

There are times that you just need to keep going straight through the intersection to the other side and stay the course. This is safe and a predictable course but over time one can run out of fuel and by turning at an intersection down a new path it can be exciting and risky not knowing where it will take you.

I hope that the next time you reach an intersection in your life, take the time to think about whether you want to discover something new or continue down the path that will eventually lead you to another intersection and I hope that you will join me in making that turn. I would love for you to share that experience, the journey and the connection points that will help you discover new ideas, methodologies or products.

Michael Bergmann

michael@incubatorU.com

@incubatorU

 

 

Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

The answer is yes!

Throughout the early years in the footwear industry many of us that worked at companies like Nike, Adidas and New Balance in the 70’s and 80’s were referred to as Shoe Dogs. Surprisingly enough this was a sign of respect for those that knew everything there was about building a great shoe that was comfortable, looked great, fit like a glove and had the quality built in to endure time.

Every industry has their “shoe dogs” or the experienced craftspeople that have gained the knowledge through time and our challenge today is to find a way to pass that knowledge on but at the same time honor and help the “shoe dogs’ see the benefits of technological advances.

I had the chance to lead a knowledge transfer project for Nike’s Global Footwear Development organization the Steve Trautman group( www.stevetrautman.com) and they helped us identify ways to harness the knowledge and systematically pass it through practical experience in a knowledge transfer process.

Many successful companies go through rapid growth and change that can impact the successful transfer of knowledge and experience.  I was initially inspired by one of my friends and mentors, Geoff Hollister, (1946-2012) who owned and drove a  Morgan Motor Car ( http://www.morgan-motor.co.uk ) Geoff was passionate about how the company and it’s leaders valued the transfer of knowledge of crafting a car with wooden panels and a leather suitcase attached to the back to innovating at the highest levels of automobile technology and delivering unsurpassed innovation and performance.

He would always attend their  annual gathering in the UK and admire the generations of craftsman honoring the past and changing the future. He would tell me that there were Grandfathers, Fathers, Sons and other family members sharing the history and craft of the special automobiles.

I am excited to be working with groups, companies, universities, teams and people that will experience exponential growth through this intersectional thinking. I have been working closely with applying the Medici Effect at many intersections of my recent work.www.themedicigroup.com

I love being an Old Dog that continually learns these new tricks and after some time we lead the way of new thinking.

The opportunity to  combine experience, be open to learning and lead with passion is a formula for success to perfect these new tricks.

Innovation through Inspired Stories, IncubatorU.

From Nike to IncubatorU: The Handoff

IncubatorU started as an opportunity to connect the past with the future, always looking to and taking advantage of new and diverse thought, incredible technology, and applying those together to help people, organizations, and companies accelerate instead of stagnate. The advantages of being at a company like Nike for three decades is that history and experiences repeat themselves but at different stages of the company’s growth.

Every 10 years or so, businesses change, accelerate, and evolve. At Nike, 99% of the time… it has always grown. Each time this happened there were fundamental things that didn’t change, providing a backdrop of history, along with stories and examples for a new and incredible generation of young employees, giving me the ability to mentor, teach and help others discover that their ideas and concepts are worth pursuing.

There is always the chance someone will say no- that your idea might fail, but through the journey of bringing a variety of people with different experiences together, with a fostering environment in which to listen and the confidence to act upon those ideas opens up the possibility to deliver something entirely new.

During Nike’s growth and throughout my career, I would continually find myself in roles that were not clearly defined, roles that needed direction and focus. Through an assessment of the scenario, I could visualize what the end state should be and welcomed the barriers and gaps that were holding us back from getting there. I thrived in those environments and loved to find the connecting elements in an organization, category, and sport.

I always valued the personal relationships that allowed those elements to be connected sequentially to create a even more value. The benefit of which was better communication, efficiency, profitability, and sustainability, with faster delivery to the market for a higher quality product. Employees that felt that they were contributing and that their ideas were worth incubating, building a positive foundation by taking personal ownership in delivering and being recognized for that work.

IncubatorU’s goal is to help companies, organizations and communities connect at a level where diversity in thought and inclusiveness to share and be respected for ideas to grow.

IncubatorU….2014…..Here we go…the handoff and transition in life is filled with excitement, passion, energy, with the opportunity to see what lies ahead.