by Sarah J.F. Braley | March 10, 2017
ASAE's 2017 Great Ideas Conference wrapped up on March 7 after welcoming 601 association professionals and industry partners to the Hyatt Regency Orlando. They took part in more than 40 education sessions, 150 "Brain Dates" and three Executive Leadership Workshops.
"We used a variety of formats to help participants learn and engage inside and outside the classroom," said John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE, president and CEO of ASAE. "Opportunities ranged from peer learning to in-depth explorations, with hands-on training on innovation from ideation to execution. Attendees appreciated the opportunity to personalize their unique experiences. The keynotes and eight speakers from outside our industry shared revolutionary ideas and inspiration they can take back to their organizations."
The opening keynote speaker was Srini Rao, chief creative instigator for Unmistakable Media and author of "Unmistakable: Why Only Is Better Than Best." In a twist on the usual reliance on best practices, he encouraged organizations to ignore what everyone else does and create unique products and services so distinctive that nobody else could have done it, which would make one's competition become irrelevant. 
The closing keynote came from former Navy SEAL Chris Fussell, now chief growth officer at McChrystal Group and author of "One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of Teams," which will be published in June. He suggested associations should build on and embrace the fundamental attributes of elite, high-performing teams, which include trust, common purpose, shared consciousness and empowered execution.
The three Executive Leadership Workshops at this year's Great Ideas Conference began with "Ultimate Power Skills & Team Building," which applied gamification techniques to teach participants hard and soft intellectual skills, as well as build deeper relationships, develop confidence, practice out-of-the-box thinking, improve communication, increase happiness at work and strengthen creativity. This was followed by " Versatility of Video to Drive Business Objectives," focusing on the ways associations are using video, how to have strategic conversations with organization leaders, the major trends, and how to plan and produce video content. Last was "Putting Women's Ideas to Work - Authentic Ways to Hear and Be Heard," led by Ruha Benjamin, assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University, and author of "People's Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier"; the seminar, which explored gender-related challenges in ideation and execution, was part of ASAE's Women Executives Forum and hosted by Choose Chicago.
ASAE's next Great Ideas Conference will be held March 11-13, 2018, at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.