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We are in an unprecedented time, where two impacts on business are changing how distributors are competing and structuring their businesses. The first is the forced recalibration of how distribution businesses operate based on the economic recession of 2008-2009. The second is the incredible technology shifts taking place. Distributors are rethinking how to integrate these technology shifts into how they function and engage with customers and vendors.
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These changes are putting a lot of pressure on distributors and manufacturers as they map out the right ways to stay connected to customers, and give their employees the right tools to compete in a quicksand environment. It is making many distributors rethink how they map their path to success and inspiring some innovative new business models.
So it’s interesting that Dirk Beveridge, long-time distribution sales force trainer and consultant, is sponsoring a conference next month focused on innovation – including breaking the mold on the typical structure of industry meetings. Instead, he is inviting a range of innovative thinkers – what he’s calling storytellers – from other industries to ignite conversations rather than give standard presentations. They include everyone from an Ironman champion to the former president of Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts. I wonder if PowerPoint is banned?
There are some good video snippets on the Unleash:WD’s conference website: www.unleashwd.com. It’s a very different approach to think outside traditional frameworks about what works and doesn’t.
Below is the most recent video featuring Cisco vice president of technical services Curtis Hill, posted to the Unleash:WD blog. The title is Innovation is a Cultural Choice: