For April, 2012

Ignite! A Platform for Ideas


It is with words as with sunbeams.  The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.”  ~ Robert Southey

What if you only had 5 minutes, and 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds, to put an idea out there into the world? 300 seconds to educate, intrigue or inspire. What would you say?

15  diverse folks took the stage at Motor City Casino’s Sound Board theater on May 25 to answer this call.  There were educational moments, love letters to Detroit, ideas for fixing Detroit, moments of laughter, and some eye-openers.  The audience was engaged and buzzing with discussion and ideas at the end of the night.

Of relevance to this audience, the talks included how Sherlock Holmes stories can apply to social media (brought to us by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle devotee and head of social media at Ford Motor Company, Scott Monty), how a car-free discount system can benefit Detroit and the region (from Spaulding Court project lead Jon Koller), why everyone should write a book (presented by up-and-coming author Andrew Heaton) and the phenomenon of genericide — what happens when a famous brand becomes a generic word (think Kleenex as a synonym for any brand of tissue)(this talk was from yours truly).

The night was an amazing experience. (Maybe second only to a week in Belgium) Those 15 seconds go fast (or really slow if you haven’t planned your slide deck properly!) and your audience is tweeting throughout, with their commentary showing up on a screen to your left that you can’t see until your time is up.

Watch here for a follow-up post in the works on 5 Lessons Learned from Ignite Detroit. I will also be posting the talk videos as they become available. For now, check out the full list below, and, if you’re a Twitter user, give @MotorCityCasino a follow for donating the venue and (delicious!) food so that all proceeds from the event could be used to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit.

Full Ignite Detroit 3 List:

1. The perils of imaginary lines (Charlie Wollborg)
2. Extra Pair of Underpants: Leadership Inside Out (Michelle Pallas)
3. Carfree Discounts – A Detroit Solution (Jon Koller)
4. Everyone Should Write a Book (Andrew Heaton)
5. Gurus are for people who drink wheatgrass or live in LA. (Jordan Miller)

6. Growing beards and finding new faces. (Jeff Chelf)
7. Raising Girls Stinks (Nathan Hughes)
8. What Sherlock Holmes Taught Me About Social Media (Scott Monty)
9. Producer/FIGMENT Detroit (Danielle Kaltz)
10. How Excellence Killed Detroit (Brian Mulloy)

11. Death by Branding: How Genericide Killed Aspirin, Why Kleenex is Hanging On, and Why Google is Invincible (Karen Evans)
12. Bromance: Understanding male homosocial relationships in the 21st century (Norm Witte III)
13. Control Freaks Need Not Apply (Aaron Petras)
14. Getting into Detroit (Lincoln Russell)
15. You Should Totally Make a Game (Bob Baffy)

If you only had 5 minutes, what idea would you put out into the universe?

Dr. Karen Evans, JD. Director of Undergraduate Management Programs, Intellectual Property Geek, Entrepreneurship Advocate, and Improv Participant.


An Afternoon with Dr. Ken Gergen


Thursday’s Keynote was Dr. Ken Gergen, whose work has been instrumental and deeply inspiring to many doctoral students in a variety of business disciplines.   I had the privilege of having Dr. Gergen on my doctoral dissertation committee and was delighted to reconnect with him.  Dr. Gergen is a senior research professor at Swarthmore College and President of the Taos Institute.  Dr. Gergen has been a major contributor to social constructionist theory and organizational change practices and shared the stage with Dr. Danielle Zandee, Professor of Sustainable Organizational Development at Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Breukelen, the Netherlands, to speak about how to interweave micro practices into daily conversation.

Conversation itself undergoes renewal–it is an in-between-emerging process, causing the language to develop, including the interpretations and meanings. Ken Gergen and Danielle Zandee highlighted their already enlightening dialogue with a little play about how conversations can degenerate, and how to prevent this – or even turn them into a generative alternative.  Danielle asked the audience to think about ways to ‘interweave’ or ‘interlock’ the micro practices into day to day conversations, and make them sustainable.  For example, they focused on the act of ‘listening’ in our everyday dialogue to create generative conversations.  They demonstrated the difference between an ‘active’ listener and an ‘inactive’ listener and how we chose to listen to each other.

How we chose to listen impacts the outcome of the next moment.

Reconnecting with Joep C. de Jong


In May 2005, Joep C. de Jong, a senior executive from British Telecom, hosted LTU’s Doctoral students and family members at the World Headquarters in Amsterdam.  Both Dr. Steenkamp and Dr. Castelli were the Program Directors of the DMIT and DBA programs respectively  and the trip included visits to organizations and universities in England and The Netherlands.  He had fond memories of the visit and the first thing Mr. de Jong asked was “How is Dr. Steenkamp, Dr. Castelli, and Patty Riney?”

Mr. de Jong is now the CEO of Van Harte & Lingsma [] and presented his Leadership Value Chain Model and principles of Appreciative Leadership during our workshop.  We had an opportunity to share a lovely dinner with Joep and talk about the growth of the doctoral programs and the accomplishments of our students.

WAIC 2012 Ghent, Belgium


Our workshop started with the findings from the original study of Appreciative Leaders and transitioned to a shared inquiry and dialogue of current appreciative leaders to include the capabilities required to lead from a strengths-based perspective to create positive change.  We had close to 100 participants from several countries that shared their ideas about what makes an appreciative leader from a social constructionist viewpoint.

This is a continuation of a longitudinal study of appreciative leaders that was originally started by Dr. Marge Schiller in 1999 and presented in 2001 at the 1st World Appreciative Inquiry Conference in Boston, MA.  It is a decade later and we are working with Dr. Schiller and collecting additional data that will be analyzed and compared to the original model of appreciative leadership to understand the meaning, characteristics, and actions of appreciative leaders from a variety of cultures and locations around the world.

World Appreciate Inquiry Conference, Ghent Belgium


Today AI is challenged enormously to contribute to a wider societal application.  Questions and issues in our complex and interconnected society are in essence interdependent: they can no longer be resolved from a single perspective.  To meet the challenges of today, we must find other ways to grow ourselves, to develop the organizations we work in, as well as the communities we live in.  We should excel in the way we connect, learn, collaborate and merge our strengths.  The generative power of AI will lead to sustainable breakthroughs by establishing strong and interconnected relationships with multiple actors.

This conference is focusing on scaling-up the generative power of AI and kicked-off with an opening keynote speaker: David Cooperrider, a co-originator of Appreciative Inquiry.  He kicked off the conference with a wonderful 25 year history of Appreciative Inquiry and its most innovative applications of the way AI has changed our view on change and development.  It shifted our attention from the world of people and organizations as ‘problems-to-be-solved,’ to the world as a ‘connection of people and their strengths.’

World Appreciative Inquiry Conference, Ghent Belgium

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We [Dr. Jackie Stavros & Dr. Anne Kohnke] have arrived in Belgium to participate in the 5th World Appreciative Inquiry Conference in Ghent, Belgium.  We are collaborating with Joep de Jong and Dr. Marge Schiller and will be conducting a workshop on Appreciative Leaders: The Social Construction of Generative Connections.  This workshop is designed to address and understand the meaning, characteristics, and actions of appreciative leaders from a variety of cultures and locations around the world.

There are close to 800 participants from over 50 countries.  Tomorrow we will be joining up with Joep de Jong, CEO of Van Harte & Lingsma.  Joep graciously hosted 40 of our doctoral students in May 2005 during their international trip to England and The Netherlands.


Welcome New COM Adjunct, Richard Rappleye


Welcome Richard K. Rappleye, Vice President of Administration at the Kresge Foundation ( to the College of Management!  As our newest Adjunct Professor, Richard will teach part-time the course entitled “Leading Change, and Building Capacity for Nonprofits” (MGT 6033).  This course focuses on current change management strategies for nonprofit organizations and is one of the core graduate nonprofit management components of the MBA concentration and Graduate Certificate in nonprofit management and leadership (

Richard’s extensive management experience spans almost 30 years and includes senior executive positions at both the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and The Kresge Foundation. He has served on many statewide boards including the Council of Michigan Foundations, Michigan State Bar Foundation and Highway T. Richard’s first-hand experience leading organizational development and change management initiatives at philanthropic and nonprofit organizations offers our students a unique opportunity to learn the theory and practice of this important discipline and prepare them for leadership at charitable organizations.

Richard will be teaching part-time at Lawrence Technogolical University both on-campus and 100% online. For the past months Richard has been working with the LTU Elearning team to enhance his use of advance instructional technology tools used at Lawrence Tech. He is putting to work these instructional technology skills to not only to effectively deliver his course oncampus and 100% online but most importantly to provide an engaging learning experience for his students.

The Four Types of Jobs in Today’s Global Economy

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Provost Maria Vaz has provided each Lawrence Tech faculty member with a copy of Friedman and Mandelbaum’s book, “That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back.” This provocative book builds on Tom Friedman’s earlier book, “The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century,” and argues that the United States is struggling to respond to a world which now operates largely in our own image. In some ways, we are facing Clayton Christensen’s “Innovator’s Dilemma,” where competition in new forms takes incumbents by surprise over time and can cause some incumbents to fail. The twist here is that we have helped invent – directly and indirectly – the new global competitive environment which is causing us to re-examine our own assumptions and will to compete.

Friedman and Mandelbaum argue that there are four types of jobs in today’s economy: creative creators, routine creators, creative servers, and routine servers. Those who are “routine creators” or “routine servers” are in danger of having their jobs outsourced or digitized. Even some jobs formerly considered “nonroutine” – such as attorneys – can be outsourced or digitized if the focus of their work is comprised of rule-based operations – the emerging e-discovery market has taken away a number of legal jobs.

What does this mean for Lawrence Tech students? It’s simple: focus on how to be “creative creators!” Don’t just learn the “theory and practice” of your discipline, but look further. Strive to extend, revise, and innovate within your discipline. Focus on the entrepreneurial aspects of your discipline, difficult problems that require new approaches, opportunities for innovation, and linkages to other disciplines that others have not thought of. Your faculty and student colleagues can help you with this journey, but the creativity comes from within each of you.


Dr. Alan McCord, Interim Dean

Sustaining and Transforming the Health Safety Net

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As renegotiation of healthcare rages on in the halls of Congress and the US Supreme Court, health safety net organizations find themselves in the midst of unprecedented change. Collectively referred to as the Safety Net, this array of charitable nonprofits provide “a significant level of health care and other related services to the uninsured, Medicaid and other vulnerable populations.”[i]  As I see it, successful transformation of the Safety Net is a benchmark for successful reform of the US healthcare system.

What will it look like? These charitable organizations face great risk during these times of unprecedented change. Buffeted by the dual forces of healthcare reform and the transformation of the traditional business model of the charitable nonprofit sector, Safety Net organizations are faced with simultaneously sustaining their charitable mission to deliver quality and affordable primary healthcare services to all. All while simultaneously re-evaluating their programs, the people they serve and, in some cases, their very existence.

The annual Healthy Safety Net (HSN) Symposiums were initiated in 2011 to convene all stakeholders who share the essential mission of the Safety Net and seek its successful transformation. The 2012 Healthy Safety Net Symposium (May 23-24, 3012; Lansing, MI) will share the latest information, research and best practices to support strategic, collaborative decision-making at these organizations.  Participants from across the State will spend two full days of collaborative information sharing and deliberative conversation among all stakeholders committed to the collective mission of these organizations. From Federal Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), Free/Rural/Migrant health clinics, hospitals and government agencies across Michigan, these are the leaders making the strategic decisions, in real-time, to transform their organizations and sustain their essential mission.

Jerry Lindman, J.D., Senior Lecturer and Director, Center for Nonprofit Management


[i] Institute of Medicine (IOM). America’s health care safety net: intact but endangered. Washington: Institute of Medicine; 2000

Disney Training to Better Serve Our Students


By Donna Kress, Assistant to the Dean, Office Manager, College of Management

In the College of Management, a core value of ours for many years has been to provide the best student service and advising that we can through our SRM/Student Relationship Management team and administrative staff.  Consisting of Amanda Falkenbury, Mina Jena, Sally Erwin, Lori Remlinger, Patty Riney, and myself, we are dedicated to meeting our students’ needs no matter the situation.

As any great organization knows, maintaining high quality requires continuous improvements.  Our desire to take our customer service to the next level brought us to the Disney Institute (  Along with many of our LTU colleagues, Mina, Lori and I attended a Disney customer service training session yesterday which helped us to think of better ways to service our students, our faculty, and the University.

The Disney emphasis is on exceeding our students’ expectations by paying attention to the details.  We feel that by working efficiently and simplifying things, both for our faculty and with the registration process and schedule planning, our students will have an easier and better academic experience.  By streamlining our administrative processes, we can better foresee the challenges and problems our students may face when they are just starting out on campus, or are re-acclimating themselves into an academic environment after being in the workforce for many years.

By defining our purpose – helping our students receive a quality education by providing outstanding faculty and sufficient academic rigor, they can realize their potential and achieve their dreams by earning their college degree.  And by consistently promoting a culture of student focused service, this will help the College of Management achieve the hallmark of quality service.

Disney emphasized NOT going the extra mile – but going the extra inch.  It’s the details – the little things that you can and should do – that make all the difference.  We plan to build on this philosophy in the College of Management in order to give our students the best academic experience possible.  They’re worth it.

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