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p1000087.JPGI attended the inaugural annual meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China, from Sept. 5 through 8. It was the first of its kind.

I facilitated the session entitled “Fast Follower to Innovator” and  participated as one of the discussion leaders for the Workspace session entitled “Global Hunt for Talents.” Both sessions were “off the record” unlike some of the plenary sessions which were webcast and/or summarized almost immediately.

 I enjoyed both sessions very much. In the “Fast follower to innovator” session,  I started by giving an overview of the session and introduced12 discussion leaders, some of whom are investment bankers, consultants, and corporate executives who were successful in this transformation. 

Some 50 participants who were interested in the topic (it was full) were divided into 8 tables with 7 or 8 people each,  where they had two-part discussion.  Part I tried to identify characteristics of innovators and Part II to list the changes required for transformation.  I asked for specific company examples during discussion. 

It was a great experience for me to design the session in advance by teleconferencing with the discussion leaders and WEF staff, asking for suggestions and comments, and actually facilitating the sessions with some 50 + people over 2.5 hour period.  

 The Workspace session was quite creative and innovative approach to brainstorming, using illustrations etc on the board.  There were five discussion leaders and one facilitator for the session. At the beginning, the facilitator gives an overview of the topic, “Global Hunt for Talents” and the technical staff how to use the board etc.  

 In this session, each group was given a hypothetical company. In my group, it was a Japanese financial services  company founded five years ago, has grown tremendously, now planning to expand into Chinese market for consumer credit, targeting at the growing middle class in China. The company is just about to hire a person who heads the Chinese operation. “Where do you search for the person, what qualifications, what job offer would we make?” was our first assignment. 

After the first exercise, we were given the second assignment. It was, “Five years have passed since the operation began in China. The company is very successful. The top management of the Chinese operation was the reason behind it. What did you do right?” In other words, were were asked to reverse engineer. 

At the end of the breakout sessions, each group is expected to list three key concept from the two assignments. 

Then all of us got together and tried to group the concepts together by showing the illustrations and pictures/concepts.  It was fast-paced, lively and a lot of fun. 

I have been very fortunate to be given this opportunity to facilitate/participate in the interesting brainstorming sessions.  I plan to try some of what I learned in other seminars/workshops.   

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