On November 14th, Newmind Group’s founder, Dan Jefferies is going to be speaking at a conference, called DESIGNEDtoLEAD, put on by the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University.

This will be the 2nd annual DESIGNEDtoLEAD event, which is intended to “inspire passion and instill the energy necessary for students to travel the extra mile to achieve extraordinary success through leadership in their careers, communities and personal lives,” according to the student organizer Autumn Gammon.

We spoke with Dan to hear what he’s expecting from the event, and take a peek at what he’ll be presenting.

How to be an innovator

The title of the talk is “How to be an innovator,” and will be spun out of his session on innovation at last year’s Build It Together Kalamazoo event.

“The Build It session was intended towards an audience of new and experienced business leaders and the reception was really, really warm. It was one of the best connections I’ve felt giving a talk at a tech event. The DESIGNtoLEAD audience is obviously a different one, so I’m tailoring the talk towards a group of people who are just getting out into the workforce.”

In his talk, Dan hopes to diffuse the grand contemporary notion of “the innovator,” and explore the idea that you don’t have to create the world’s fastest electric car (to use Tesla Motors as an example) to call yourself an innovator in business.

Practical innovation

“I hope the students come away with a less foggy definition of it,” Dan says. “I want to look at a more practical, tangible approach to innovation, and give people tools that they can use to help make positive, productive changes in their organization.”

“I think we can all be innovators to a greater or lesser extent, it’s just about having an idea and trying to make it a reality. It doesn’t have to be a new idea to the world, it can just be new to your target group.”

Dan has participated in a number of different panels and events at WMU, and will also be speaking at the Entrepreneurship Forum series in March, but this will be his first time at DESIGNEDtoLEAD. He’ll be speaking alongside 5 other sessions, including Brian Thomas, CEO of Otterbox, and Kalamazoo management consulting firm “Improv Effects.”

“I’ve met Dann and Brian with Improv Effects and I’ve heard their approach is really enjoyable. They seem to combine a sense of entertainment with genuinely useful, essential material to improve the way you work. I feel like we’re touching on pretty similar subjects at the conference. I won’t be able to sit in on their talk, but I’ve only heard great things about their presentation.”

Join the event

The DESIGNEDtoLEAD conference will be held from 9 AM to 4:30 PM on November 14th in WMU’s Fetzer Center, and the “How to be an innovator” session begins at 10:25 AM. The event is complimentary to all WMU students.
If you won’t be able to attend the event, be sure to check out our recap of Dan’s talk at Build It Together Kalamazoo.