The Steve Jobs Problem

At the inaugural ACE Symposium two weeks ago, one of the topics we discussed was theFuture of New Value Creation graphic recording future of new value creation in associations.

One of our speakers, Jami Lucas, Executive Director/CEO at the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy & Foundation, admonished us to go beyond asking members what they want. She pointed out that members don’t know what they don’t know. She encouraged us to “be like Steve” and create things people don’t even know they need.

But I think that may be the problem for lots of organizations, perhaps especially including associations: how do you know you need an iPod until it exists?

When we got into the post-presentation conversations, what I mostly noticed is that people were trying mighty hard to use new sounding words to describe the same stuff we’ve been offering for 50 years: education, advocacy, networking. We end up talking about the same old shit all the time and can’t picture anything outside our existing ruts.

We distract ourselves with hamster-wheel “doing” and don’t imagine enough.

What are you doing to bring truly new ideas into your association?

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About Elizabeth Weaver Engel, CAE

Elizabeth Weaver Engel, M.A., CAE, is CEO and Chief Strategist at Spark Consulting LLC. Elizabeth has over 19 years of experience helping associations grow, in membership, marketing, communications, public presence, and especially revenue, which is what Spark is all about. She speaks and writes frequently on a variety of topics in association management. When she's not helping associations grow, Elizabeth loves to dance, listen to live music, cook, garden, and blog about the Philadelphia Eagles.
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