Thought Leadership And The Face of Change

Whenever a society experiences a paradigm shift, there is a general aversion to the changing game.  The boundaries are modified, perceptions are altered and what we once could classify as our natural inclination, becomes seemingly more and more unfamiliar.

We look to the provocateurs, arbitrators and innovators, to help us define the times as we know them.  In further anticipation of Canadian Marketing Week 2009, let’s take a deeper look at some of the highly relevant players at this year’s event, whom have done just that.  After all, how often do you get the CEO of Hearst Publications and the irreverent David Weinberger in one room?

@dweinberger – A philosophy professor in his past life, Weinberger is a chameleon of our times; academic and systematic in his approach to shaping the way in which mass communications are consumed and presented.  I believe that our generation continues to be inspired by the idea that what we do as individuals can be a direct reflection of our ability to contribute to a higher sociological order, if we choose to understand the context in which we direct our messages. Weinberger understands this concept all too well. Always looking at the global impact and understanding behind the strategy, as his daily blog states all too curiously, he incites us to ” just see what happens.”

@hearstcorp – Oprah Winfrey. David Granger. Glenda Bailey. What do all these iconic individuals have in common? They sit under the helm of Cathie Black, president of Hearst Magazines, the company that produces some of the most relevant and popular publications to date. It’s no surprise that Black has been touted as the woman who does “leadership best.” I’m hoping Black, notorious for her practical and pragmatic approach to forging a career path, will offer some guidance for empowering ourselves in a relatively tough economy.

@Richard_Florida – It’s not often that the Harvard Business Review takes notice and further to that, awards a relatively unknown economist with the Breakthrough Idea of the Year. Daunting recognition to sustain, right? Well, Florida challenges even his toughest critics in his attempt to decipher global trends in a rapidly changing environment. Most recently, he asks “Whose Your City?” Perhaps we’ll come closer to engaging in the answer to this novel notion at Marketing Week 2009.

Every day, we learn and re-learn the things we thought we knew, only to be humbled beyond our imagination. It’s a telling sign when your core beliefs are shifting by the day and the world isn’t waiting for you to grasp any of these flows and ebbs. Taking notice of these individuals, who have transcended their areas of “expertise” to create a discourse of meaning that resonnates across culture and time, is something to strive for, in my mind.

I challenge you to think big and beyond your said area of knowledge. We can all benefit from a shared perspective, even if it’s just the vision to make the complex a little more understandable.