The live stream is down; the participants are home. What happened at the Global Drucker Forum that inspires forward movement toward ‘The Entrepreneurial Society‘?

Pithy points from each session (thanks to T. Juli for the notes – the live stream retransmission came down fast!)

The Value of Entrepreneurship

  • “Data is analyzing matters of past; for the future, we need theories, concepts, ideas that needn’t be based on data.”
  • “Social entrepreneurship becomes more important.”
  • “In countries like India and China there is a cultural dichotomy created when the state of technological know-how is ahead of the society’s evolution.’ – participants T. Juli

Can Large Organizations Be Entrepreneurial?

  • “Most change programs are catch-up programs. But change is transformational; it cannot be pre-defined.”
  • Quote fromJeff Bezos: “It’s great when all our competitors focus on us because we focus on the customer.”
  • Comparing exploitation vs. exploration
    • Exploitation = tools of past, planning
    • Exploration = search problem, experiments
  • “Innovation is often career suicide.” [Dawna’s note: I find this quote disturbing since it speaks to the consequence of ignoring cultural and workplace context for the acceptance and support for innovation. If this statement summarized support for innovation, companies will fail much faster than is currently predicted. And not in a good way.]

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: The Bedrock of Economic Growth

The general feeling is that this session failed to move outside the boundaries of traditional thinking meaning that speakers from small and medium-sized companies selected to present are ill-equipped to handle the digital age. In fact, that could be said for many companies.

New Developments in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Scale (Report of SDLC)

I covered this topic and the following session: The State as Enabler, Investor, Innovator in my last post.

Time to Change the Practice of Management?

  • The old: efficiency, leadership||| The new: abundance, nurturing, leading from behind (servant leadership / stewardship), encouraging to experiment, unlocking organizational potential.
  • The importance of challenging / questioning / leaving behind old and existing assumptions and asking the right questions instead.
  • Designing the space for  creative collaboration, transparency, views, respite (privacy, focused work, refreshment). Reference the Steelcase Global Report.
  • A company needs a higher purpose and this has to be driven through the entire organization
  • Use the power of story as a strategic tool. With stories it becomes easier to release entrepreneurial energy
  • Rita McGrath told the story of a manager who wondered why the women in his group didn’t speak up more. When he asked them they told him they were constantly interrupted. So he established a “no interruptions” rule, that led to a very different dynamic. (Thanks Nancy!).

[Dawna’s note: Communications patterns like interruption also have in their roots unconscious bias. Overall, when companies figure out that bias is wired into being human, they can then implement a number of steps to mitigate bias. See David Rock’s report on workplace bias. Bias has a huge impact on trust, acceptance of diversity and therefore decision making and performance.]


Several more panel discussions are not included in this report out.

Overall, it’s safe to say that this year’s Drucker Forum, while being more aware of the word Agile in capital ‘A’ and small ‘a’ terms, missed the chance to profile what some truly great entrepreneurial minds are doing in the world today. Companies like Vulcan Technology, Juwi, or large companies that apply the principles of life to their management style (management biomimicry) could have ignited, inspired and provided a clear vision for the power of the entrepreneur in today’s society. Further, while social entrepreneurship was mentioned twice via Roger Martin, the reality that more and more jobs are going entrepreneurial failed to get a mention. The impact of people leaving soul sucking workplaces to chart their future could have been a great conversation. In terms of democratization of the workplace,  WorldBlu would have lent some vibrancy to the event.

Suffice it to say that I would have loved to pull together the program for the Forum.  There are companies world-wide doing some truly outstanding things not just in the workplace but also in and for the health of the world.  Sadly, this year’s Global Drucker Forum showcased a worn out version of reality that doesn’t reflect the true nature or vitality of what is going on in the world today. If you went hoping for inspiration, you would have been disappointed. The brightest light came from the Learning Consortium panel.

Perhaps next year?

Much thanks to fellow business innovator Thomas Juli, whose detailed notes were invaluable particularly since the live stream retransmission went down fast. Also to Nancy van Schooenderwoert and Steve Denning for their reflections. Kudos to fellow podcaster Dan Feldman for his great summaries posted on LinkedIN here and here.


Leadership consciousness is essential for decision makers to use complexity to their advantage, to leverage effort and rapid response to changing outside or inside conditions. Contact me to talk about how your decision makers can update their inner skills.


The global and business issues we face today require full employee engagement and a different thinking. Dawna loves to work collaboratively to evolve and transform workplaces to be more ‘fit’, agile and inspiring. By shifting perspective to expose the invisible elements creating routine results, clients gain the strength and clarity needed to remove barriers to growth. Intelligent and intuitive insights strengthen leadership capacity to use complexity fluently and grow beyond the limitations of profit to achieve greater prosperity and value. To activate a quantum leap in leadership, Dawna started the Evolutionary Provocateur podcast in 2008. Author of Decision Making for Dummies, a speaker and a tad nomadic, Dawna is currently working on using Virtual and Augmented Reality to accelerate business culture change and human potential. An original thinker, she brings personal experience with resilience and transformation to her leadership.


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