My good friend and killer social practitioner himself Greg Gerik is hosting a really cool event this week up in St. Paul. The 3M Social THINKTank is sure to energize those of us invited to the event. Some of the greatest minds in social business are coming together in the name of collaboration and that’s a good thing.
As Greg himself stated in the invite: “Because innovation does exist without collaboration, we are opening the ThinkTANK for the first time to industry leaders and partners to explore “What’s Next?” That’s right: 3m is opening its innovation center to some outsiders for discussion and collaboration to stay ahead of the curve. With the support of his brand, and Greg’s sheer determination, 3M is advancing as an open innovation company despite its competitive environment. This shows how far they’ve come and how far many of our brands have to go until leadership and staff “fully get it.”
The list of attendees includes leaders from 3M, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Best Buy, General Mills, Ameriprise, H&R Block, US Bank and more. In addition, employees at those companies will tune in via stream to watch the three keynotes and 7 FOCUS presentations. It’s the first conference I’m really excited about attending in a while.
As social marketing, communications and analytics continue to mature, I think events like this will be more common in the future as we move away from the Social 101 type conversation and more toward professional exchanges. For those of us brand side, we have unique challenges and obstacles that can be broken down through collaboration. Events like this are much more worth the investment in time than the bigger events. I anticipate deep discussion and learning that will help all of us do more.
For me, coming of an extended medical leave and some professional frustrations, I can’t wait to work with other professionals to really give deep thought and discussion to the question: what’s next? For some of us, “what’s now” continues to be a challenge.