SI Review: January 2011

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20th Annual Executive Forum to Highlight Innovation

Would you like to learn more about the current state of the staffing industry and what the next few years are likely to hold? Do you want to find out about current and future trends in the industry? Would you like to get some tips for innovating and transforming your business for the future? Or would you like to meet new people and reconnect with people you already know?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you won't want to miss Staffing Industry Analysts' 20th annual Executive Forum, to be held February 28-March 3 at the Fountainbleau Resort in Miami Beach FL. Staffing company owners and senior-level executives representing firms of all sizes and sectors will be there to learn from industry and thought leaders and to network.

The theme of this year's conference is innovation. SIA's president, Barry Asin, will kick off the conference by talking about the state of the industry and the role that innovation is going to play in the industry.

SIA will announce the winner of this year's Peter Yessne Staffing Innovator Award, now in its second year. Last year's recipient was Harold Mills, CEO of ZeroChaos. The winner of the award receives a lifetime pass to all upcoming Executive Forums. 

Additionally, SIA will announce the winners of Staffing Industry Analysts' Best Places to Work competition. The winners will be featured in the April issue of SI Review.

John Kao, a leading authority on innovation, will discuss what innovation is, why it is important in this particular era of history, how the globalization of innovation affects the staffing industry, and how the staffing industry can affect new business models if there's an understanding of this new dynamic, the fit between innovation and staffing and cornerstones of how you actually do innovation, he says.

Kao has worked with a lot of people in the public and private sector around the issue of how to get innovation accomplished.

"I like to help people who are in the hot seat who have to deliver on innovation strategy, how you turn the strategy into execution," he says. "I'm all about the execution, the clinical parts of innovation, actually getting innovation done."

Kao is the author of Innovation Nation and Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity. He's also the founder and chairman of the Institute for Large Scale Innovation, and chairman of the World Economic Forum's global advisory board. 

Dubbed "Mr. Creativity" and a "serial innovator," by The Economist, Kao wrote an article on the globalization of innovation that was published in the Harvard Business Review. He has advised not only giant firms such as Nike, Intel and BASF but also the governments of Finland and Singapore on their innovation strategies.

Since the fall of 2009, he has published three ebooks: The Future Is Yours to Invent, Are You a Producer? and Clearing the Mind for Creativity. He holds a BA from Yale College, an MD from Yale Medical School and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He was a member of the Harvard Business School faculty from 1982 to 1996.

Kao has served as a board member of the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium, a member of the Innovation Commission of Cisco Systems, and a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Singapore Civil Service College.

Another keynote speaker at this year's Executive Forum is Stephen Dubner, coauthor of the international bestsellers Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics. More than four million copies of Freakonomics were sold around the world in 35 languages.

Dubner shows how economics is essentially the study of incentives; that is, how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. He was an editor and writer at the New York Times
for several years and has written for The New Yorker and Time.

He and his coauthor, University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt, have appeared widely on television and maintain the popular Freakonomics blog, which can be found on the New York Times Website.

Alan Beaulieu, one of America's leading business cycle economists, also will be back by popular demand. Beaulieu will discuss tax law changes and the impact those changes will have on businesspeople in general and individuals, as well as the employment situation, the kinds of jobs that are being created and what staffing companies can expect going forward, he says. Additionally, he'll discuss the stock market, interest rates and the housing market, which "is on everyone's mind," he points out.

Says Beaulieu: "I'm hoping they leave there with less uncertainty. A lot less uncertainty and a lot more resolution to act."

Beaulieu is a principal in the Institute for Trend Research, a New Hampshire-based company that has predicted turning points in the economy for 60 years with a 96% accuracy rate. He also is the senior economic advisor to the National Association of Wholesale-Distributors (NAW) and chief economist for the international refrigeration trade group HARDI. He has consulted and advised businesses throughout the United States, Europe and Japan since 1990. Beaulieu collaborated with his brother, Brian, to write Make Your Move: Change the Way You Look at Your Business and Increase Your Bottom Line, a book that shows business leaders how to thrive no matter what shape the economy is in.

In addition to the keynote speakers, there will be concurrent sessions that fit into the following four tracks: sales and marketing, operations and finance, strategy and new opportunities, and small staffing firms.

The sessions will address such topics as social media, regulatory and legal issues, new data on salesforce compensation, what's hot in Europe, opportunities and risks in the Asian staffing market, offshoring, payroll and compliance, jump-starting your growth strategy, succeeding in the age of VMS/MSP, tracking gross margins, making your brand better and implementing staffing technology.

As part of the finance and operations track, there will be a new session this year on the challenges and issues faced by chief financial officers and the financial side of running staffing firms. There also will be a networking opportunity specifically for CFOs.

And, of course, there will be plenty of opportunities to network even if you're not a CFO. You'll be able to meet new people and rekindle relationships with people you already know at the Birds of a Feather lunch, designated networking breaks, a speed networking event and round table discussions.

"It's going to be an action-packed two days," Asin says, adding that, "It should be a great time in early March to be in Miami."

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