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Take Pine St. toward the water. You’ll know you’re going the right way if the numbered streets you cross (the Sheraton is at 6th) are getting smaller (5th, 4th, etc.).

Pine St. is a less touristy option than Pike  St. for walking down to the waterfront– and it appears to have fewer panhandlers.

Wear comfortable shoes (the walk back to the hotel is just 5 minutes– but it’s uphill).

While at the market, look for “pluots”– a unique fruit that is a plum/apricot hybrid. Ask the fruit vendors to choose one for you (they’ll even wash it so you can eat it while you shop).

The bargain of the day is the $5 bouquet (this price includes sales tax). It includes lillies and comes in different, bold color schemes. Why not have some fresh flowers in your hotel room this week?

–And, of course, you have to check out the famous fish throwers that founded the FISH! management approach. One of the four tenets of this management philosophy is to “have fun” as you work– a great approach to experiencing the NADP conference.

Just in case you weren’t up for braving Seattle’s cool AM temperatures (and hilly terrain) for this morning’s “Dental Dash”, you have another unique networking opportunity.

Just opposite the registration tables are several “flip charts” on easles. Check them out– this is where you can sign up for tonight’s “Dine Around” event. Several NADP volunteers have selected unique local restaurants and made reservations for a limited number of seats.

Not sure where to eat? Don’t know anyone else at the conference? Looking to make some new friends? This is the event for you. Select one of the options by simply putting your name on the list. Each sign up sheet also lists the time you should meet your group to depart together for dinner. All groups will leave from the main lobby.

Be sure to bring plenty of business cards!

Driving Innovation

Our featured presenter, Scott Klososky, presented this morning to a packed room about how to foster innovation through the adoption of technology. Although his presentation only lasted for about an hour, the themes he addressed are the talk of the corridors and meeting rooms.

As he took the audience on a tour of some of the trendier applications in technology, the constant challenge was for us to see how these trends could impact our businesses. Some of the applications may seem plain silly. Twittering, Cyber Twin, Second Life, and mash-ups may not be widely adopted in the corporate world, but the principles they represent can give us some insight in how to develop a culture of innovation within our organizations. Getting the people that know the business to interact effectively with those that understand the technology is the key to uncovering innovations.

Klososky provided some concrete ways to encourage the people that new the business, but have little understanding of technology to interact with those who may not understand the business, but are experts in the use of technology. Round organizational charts provide a different way for people to understand their role and position within an organization. “Ranks off” meetings have the potential to remove the psychological barriers that may prevent some smart, but green colleagues from offering ideas. Geek seeding, distributing IT talent throughout an organization, puts the technology gurus in close proximity to end-users to foster innovation where it is needed most. Technology training is the second part of the technology investment that many companies have already made.

Klososky’s unique style, which included a few dance steps that would get votes on Dancing with the Stars, kept the audience in rapt attention, and his suggestions for developing innovation sparked ideas among the attendees that will surely be discussed in board rooms and around water coolers when attendees return to their workplaces.

It was the kind of morning you might expect in Seattle; the fog rolling in off of the bay and a light mist making it impossible to stay dry. But when it comes to the Dental Dash at the NADP Annual Conference, a small group of about 20 intrepid runners and dedicated walkers showed up to run, jog or walk their way into NADP Conference lore.

Among the runners Brandon Rosner and Joe Zons of Wonderbox Technologies were the first men to cross the finish line and Amie McGraham was the first woman to finish the 5K run along the scenic bayfront route that ran by the Seattle Aquarium down to the Seattle Art Museum.

After the run, participants received a lovely Conference t-shirt and a sense of accomplishment in their trek.

The hearty bunch of golfers that braved the early hours morning mist and cool tempareatures were rewarded with amazing vistas and feats.

Ryan North with PPO USA and Mark Moticik of Healthation (the event sponsors) both drove par 4 greens.  The winning foursome included Joe Zons (Wonderbox) Ryan North (PPO USA) Juliane Brooks (MVA) and Doyle Williams— posting a strong 58!

Terry Young (Ameritas) took ‘closest to the pin’ honors, while Ryan North had the longest drive (of course) and NADP’s own Evelyn Ireland posted the straight-shot drive.

The event ended with lunch and a golf trivia quiz for even more prizes and best of all – shopping at the pro shop – courtesy of our sponsor Healthation. 

It’s the don’t miss event of the year and NADP has some surprises up their sleeves just for you. Expect the unexpected! Prepare to be “wowed.” It’s all designed with you in mind!

Thoughts On Innovation

Scott Klososky By Opening General Session Speaker Scott Klososky
Innovation
gets tossed around as a popular trait that companies need to have. It is much easier to say we are innovative, than to actually be innovative. I have a personal belief that if one if going to talk about innovation, one should actually have something innovative to say, and even a new way to say it. I practice what I preach when on stage because I always have innovative ways of delivering my keynotes. For the purposes of this screed, I will leave the innovation to the idea…

Technology is a difference maker – that statement attracts little debate. What might attract more of a debate is whether building it is an art or a science. I have a strong belief that technology is art. The evidence of this is the fact that there are 1,000 different ways to build any piece of software, or assemble a network. In fact, if you asked 100 artists to paint a potato, you would get every variation under the sun. Including the smart alec that would literally paint a real potato blue and hand it to you. In the same vein, if you asked 100 programmers to develop and accounts receivable application, you would get 100 very different applications, written on many different platforms. Some high quality, and some ghetto quality.

Let’s go further, ask 100 network engineers to assemble a network and you will get a wide array of configurations, with varying throughput and security levels. The difference between art and engineering is the amount of tools that can be used to achieve a goal, and the performance level of the final product. A bridge must absolutely handle cars and trucks going over it, and must last for 100 years. A software program built to handle A/R might not even be able to print the report you need. So why is this important?

If you understand that technology is art, you will do two important things differently. The first is that you will pay much more attention to the people you hire to do the art. You would look more for talent and at past experience, then at the price tag. No one wants a portrait done by a $20 novice because it would be ugly and would never get hung. Yet we hire junior tech people thinking we are saving money. The second is we would spend more time on the strategy behind our digital plumbing. Once an executive has a vision of how their technology plumbing should function, they would get much more interested in driving results. Believe me, there is a reason that programmers dress like they do at work. There is a reason they do not like to work regular hours. There is a reason that they can be really emotional, and that it is hard to make software that is bug proof. Technology is art, and as such, needs to be built by masters – or it will look like a velvet painting of dogs playing poker…

So what are your thoughts about innovation, technology as art and technology as the difference maker? Post them here and well discuss them more at the Opening General Session “Driving Innovation: Insights To Help Your Organization Breakthrough” on September 26 at 10:30 am!