A year ago, Jon Whitmore said change was coming to ACT. In collaboration with the board of directors and senior leadership, he has since implemented a new vision statement, values, and strategic directions.
During the past year, ACT made huge strides in learning, assessing, and planning, and acquired new corporate-level skills. I am most proud of the leadership team that has been assembled, from both inside and outside ACT. These leaders represent new skills and ideas in innovation, marketing, talent management, project management, and social media, said Whitmore.
He gave a progress report to ACTs board of directors, staff members, and state representatives, as well as guest speakers and panelists, at ACTs 52nd annual meeting, held October 17 and 18 in Iowa City.
ACT CEO Jon Whitmore (center) greets participants during the annual meeting.
So, what is the new year going to be about? Execution is the call, through focused empowerment and bottom-up innovation. Its time to move forward on our strategic plan.
Whitmore drew on examples from IBM and Apple to highlight ACTs two key strategic directions empowerment and innovation.
He recently attended THINK: A Forum on the Future of Leadership in celebration of IBMs 100th anniversary, at which heads of state, CEOs, and other officials gathered to discuss innovative ideas. He noted that 60 percent of todays CEOs believe creativity is the most important leadership quality needed over the next five years.
While we are being mindful of ACTs proud history and not-for-profit mission, creativity, innovation, and empowerment must be at the forefront of our thinking and doing, he said. ACT will need to continually refresh and reinvent our delivery systems and tests to keep up with a rapidly changing, technologically leapfrogging world.
ACT must empower its staff to use their energy, intelligence, and passion to help accomplish the organizations strategic goals, he said. By working together toward the execution of our strategic initiatives and more, we will prepare many more young people for entry into postsecondary education and, along with adults, into the high-level jobs required by the new innovation economy.
He noted how Apple harnessed innovation to produce groundbreaking products like the iPhone® and iPad®.
Innovation often stems from a single persons bright idea, which is then fabricated by a team of passionate thinkers into a fully fleshed out process, product, or service. This can only happen if we develop a culture of innovation and teaming across ACT, said Whitmore. That is our quest, together.
ACT could take a cue from Joichi Ito, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, who spoke at the IBM conference. Ito doesnt allow talkative strategy sessions. Instead, he encourages his staff to jump in and build something.
Like our maverick founder, E.F. Lindquist, ACTnow more than everneeds to re-imagine and reinvent to bring creative insights to todays troubled education and workforce systems to help make them better and better and better, said Whitmore.
Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. iPhone and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc.
The time has come to shut up and build something. ACT annual meeting speakers frequently referenced this statement from Joichi Ito, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. It describes one of the ways the lab, which is among the worlds foremost technology/media think tanks, operates.
It also defines how Bill Strickland, the meetings keynote speaker, runs his organization. As president and chief executive officer of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation, a Pittsburgh-based jobs training center and community arts program, Strickland is on a mission to help disadvantaged children and adults throughout the world.
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Leaders help guide ACTs strategic plan and future direction.
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