“International Dimensions of Strong Corporate Cultures” – Friday, April 1, 2016, Austin, TX

March 30, 2016

Minitrends 2013 -- Carrie Vanston, TFI, http://minitrends.com/minitrends-2013/I’d like to cordially invite you to my luncheon presentation on “International Dimensions of Strong Corporate Cultures” this Friday, April 1, at ACC Highland Mall in Austin, TX. The free event, the second of the Global Business Luncheon Series, is sponsored by the World Affairs Council in partnership with the International Business Institute at ACC. My focus will be on the commonalities of organizations with great business cultures no matter whether in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world.


  • Speaker: Carrie Vanston, Corporate Cultures That Rock
  • Subject: “International Dimensions of a Strong Corporate Cultures
  • Date: Thursday, April 1, 2016
  • Time: 11:30 am-1:00 pm
  • Location: ACC Highland Learning Center, Room 2216
  • 6101 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78752. (In the new ACC wing)

We often concentrate on differences, but similarities are as important, if not more, because they form the foundation for all of our relationships. We ALL want to connect with each other, be appreciated for what we do, and have a higher purpose that impacts the world.

This talk provides five keys that create, grow, and sustain great corporate cultures and suggest ways you can increase your own culture quota. These keys include connecting, developing, discovering. collaborating, and, finally, transforming.

For more details and to register, click here. Hope to see you on Friday!

Warm regards,

P.S. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like a similar sample presentation or a 1/2 hour free consultation on improving your organization’s culture! I’d love to hear from you.

Carrie Vanston helps organizations, large and small, maximize purpose and connection to create better performance and profit. She is a consummate connector, who enjoys bringing like-minded people together to share, learn, and grow through advice, workshops, presentations, coaching, and facilitation. She is the developer of “Five Keys to an Engaged & Innovative Culture”? and co-author with Dr. John H. Vanston of the award-winning book MINITRENDS: How Innovators & Entrepreneurs Discover & Profit From Business & Technology Trends.

Carrie speaking at IEEE Wed, Sept 23, 6pm

September 21, 2015

Carrie Vanston presents Five Keys to the Innovative and Engaged and 5 Keys opening lock 7-21-15 new keys & tall letters smallerInnovative Culture IEEE Central Texas Consultants Network Wednesday, September 23, 6-8:30 pm PoK-e-Jo’s Smokehouse 2121 West Parmer Lane at Lamplight Village Avenue Austin, Texas 78727

Carrie Vanston, VP Communications at TFI, provides individuals and organizations five keys to create and grow engaged and innovative cultures that are cutting-edge, with strong purpose and the inclusion of all stakeholders. Such cultures are essential to succeed and thrive in the rapidly changing world we live in. Attendees will learn practical ways for staying ahead of the latest industry trends and creating caring environments that encourage high quality recruits, retainment of employees, happy customers, and greater productivity and profit.

Everyone is invited to attend! There is a $5 restaurant charge. No reservations necessary. Guests are encouraged to have a bite to eat at this excellent barbeque spot!


Carrie Vanston photoCarrie Vanston, is VP of Communications at Technology Futures, Inc. and the MiniTrends Project. She excels at helping clients create and grow cultures that encourage better retention, happier customers, and higher productivity and profit. She is co-author of the award-winning book MINITRENDS: How Innovators & Entrepreneurs Discover & Profit From Business & Technology Trends. Recent articles by Carrie have appeared in Texas CEO Magazine and the Austin Business Journal.


The Ultimate Quesiton – Do You Validate? World Champion Speech by Lance Miller

March 13, 2015

The Ultimate Question by Lance Miller

“…every person goes through life wanting to be right, wanting to be valuable. Find that, bring it out in them.”

I recently had the pleasue of attending a wonderful talk by professional speaker and speaking coach Lance Miller. He believes that great presentations are not about the speaker, but about how the speech improves the way your audience thinks and lives. In addition to speaking about great ways for speakers to connect with audiences, and yes, connecting with us, Lance shared with us the video of the “The Ultimate Question,” the speech he used to win the Toastmasters International 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking.  Being that he was competing against thousands of Toastmasters from around the world, not surprisingly it is an AMAZING speech.

Lance’s winning speech focuses on the importance taking the time to validating yourself and others.  As related to JDonavon on how Lance found his message ““Early on in my Toastmasters experience, I asked what the International contest was.  Somebody told me that it is your five to seven minutes to say something important to the world. So, I asked myself, ‘If I could make one change in the world, what would it be?’  It struck me that if we just validated each other, by looking for what is right rather than for what is wrong, then the world would be a much better place.”

The speech reminds me of the classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Thank you very much to District 55 Toastermasters and Event Organizer Jerry Barrett for bringing Lance to Austin.

I hope you will enjoy the video as much as I do.


Always Super Bowl Ad “Like a Girl” – Great Example of Purpose Branding

February 6, 2015

P&G’s Always Super Bowl Ad “Like a Girl” is such a great example of Purpose Branding — creating brand with a visionary purpose that makes a difference in the world.  Always isn’t just feminine products but “Rewriting the Rules” and changing “like a girl” to represent the strength, talent, character and downright amazingness of every girl.

As Entrepreneur notes so nicely, “Of course it’s no secret that a great many commercials from Super Bowls past put the emphasis on objectifying women rather than empowering them, so it’s gratifying to see the support for Always’ ongoing efforts to turn “like a girl” into a positive rather than a put down.”

You may want to consider the purpose-oriented trend in company culture and in branding for your own organization.


Favorite Takeaways From Roy Spence of The Purpose Institute & GSD&M Speaking at ABJ’s Face-2-Face AKA Straight From the Top

January 13, 2015

Roy Spence with Carrie Vanston after his Face-2-Face Interview

Roy Spence with Carrie Vanston after his Face-2-Face Interview

I had the pleaure of attending the Austin Business Journal’s Face-2-Face Breakfast last week at Whole Foods featuring the very funny and inspiring Roy Spence, Co-Founder and Chairman of GSD&M, a leading marketing communications and advertising company here in Austin. He is also Co-Founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute and author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business is Driven by Purpose. He was interviewed by the always delightful Colin Pope, Editor of the Austin Business Journal, and host of F-2-F. Face-2-Face airs on Time Warner TV on Sunday mornings in Austin under the name “Straight From the Top.”

Here are my favorite takeaways from this great interview:

Roy’s mentor and customer Herb Kelleher, Founder of Southwest Airlines, taught him “Take the competition seriously, but not yourself.” He has also been greatly inspired by author Jim Collins’ book Built to Last.

Colin Pope, Austin Business Journal, interviews Roy Spence for Face-2-Face, also known as the TV show "Straight from the Top.

Colin Pope, Austin Business Journal, interviews Roy Spence for Face-2-Face, also known as TV show Straight from the Top

Roy calls the group that has taken on much of GSD&M’s day to day business responsibilities “The Eagles” because you should always be building a better nest. Eagles work first for customers, then company, then community, and then world. The Eagles carry out the vision and purpose that is set, but do so in the way THEY see fit.

Purpose is most important. Always have a purpose beyond making money. Your purpose is where your talents meet the needs of the underserved. Start with integrity and everything else can be taught. It’s all about engaging with integrity, honor, and respect.

GSD&M’s Purpose: Create visionary ideas that make a difference.

With their campaign “Don’t Mess with Texas,” GSD&M created a 76% drop in litter by appealing to pride not litter. It’s not the litter business, its the pride business.

With Southwest they found purpose was not about flying, it was about freedom.

You’re only as young as the new stuff you do. Roy’s mother always told him, “Be great at what you’re good at, don’t be average at what you’re bad at.” Play to your strengths and encourage your kids to do the same. “What do you love to do?”

Smallness can be a huge asset, embrace it. Transform yourself to be happy, not necessarily big. Aristotle stated “Where your talents and the needs of the world cross; there lies your vocation.” When starting out, your biggest asset is naivety because you are not already set in your way of perceiving things.

Roy wrote the book 10 Essential Hugs of Life to encourage fathers to hug their children and encourage people to embrace life. Some of the essential hugs are yourself, your family, your friends, your flag, your coach/teacher/mentor, your mind/heart/future, etc. Fully embrace your journey because the destination will get here faster than you think. Whenever you get lost, you’ll find yourself in the service of others.

You become what you look for. Roy hit the road and took a picture of something good every hour and found lots of good things! If you look for friends, you’ll find them, etc.

Politics is the business of freedom. If we can get the government to agree on a higher ground that we can do better at satisfying the purpose of our nation and not just coming up with tactics.

The purpose of business is to improve life. In visionary mode you do well and are liberated. In self mode, not so much. How does Roy make decisions? He tries to look around the corner. What postive impacts will a decison make? If negative impacts, he walks away.

Don’t reinvent or rebrand your company, it’s about transformational change. You keep or find your vision and purpose and keep that intact.

By creating value for all stakeholderrs, more value is created for shareholders. An alternate to the traditional business model of only maximizing profit for shareholders, Whole Foods has been very successful with what CEO John Mackey calls “conscious capitalism.” With Whole Foods great success, the new model is catching on as a movement.

GSD&M has “Correction of Errors” meetings. “Hug your mistakes.  The ‘failures’are the character flaws. Fess up when you mess up.”

Roy likes people who like him. His mother said there are honey people and vinagar people. He likes honey people.

Marry the dreamers and the doers. Look for people with shared values. It makes no sense to him when people say don’t be partners with friends. Who makes better partners? He loves people who enjoy winning – in a good way. Take the “Strengthfinder” test and look for your partners that complement you.

Thanks to ABJ, the sponsors, and Roy Spence for sharing this fun and insightful morning.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Best wishes for a Happy New Year!!


P.S. If you missed our home-made holiday card, check it out! We’ve been designing our own holiday cards for many years now around an interesting current event or trend.  This year’s celebrates the Philae robot landing on a comet. The verse is always by Our Chairman Dr. John Vanston, design by our Creative Director Helen Mary V. Marek. (Past cards are linked at the bottom of that page.)


Tech Leader & Bazaarvoice Founder Brett Hurt Keynoting at MiniTrends 2014 on Sep. 26 in Austin, TX

July 1, 2014

MiniTrends 2014 Conference Keynote - Brett Hurt, Founder, Co-Chair, BazaarvoiceWe welcome Bazaarvoice Founder and Vice-Chair Brett Hurt as our Afternoon Keynote for MiniTrends 2014: Insight, Innovation & Strategy. Brett helped launch Bazaarvoice, a company managing online customer reviews to clients, leading the company’s huge growth through a successful IPO during his 7 1/2 years as CEO and President.

The title of his presentation is “The Intersection of Culture and Innovation.” Brett will be speaking about the importance of a business culture that honors and encourages the input and talent of employees as drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Brett continues to support Bazaarvoice as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors. Brett also invests in early-stage companies with Hurt Family Investments and has just completed an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

Prior to Bazaarvoice, Brett founded Coremetrics and helped grow the company into a global, marketing analytics solution for eCommerce before its acquisition by IBM. Brett established the Bazaarvoice Foundation and is very active in the philanthropic arena.

Join Brett, world-renowned futurist David P. Snyder, and other outstanding speakers at this premier event for innovators, futurists, technologists, trendsetters, and blue-sky thinkers. The 3rd Annual MiniTrends conference, MiniTrends 2014: Insight, Innovation & Strategy, will be on Friday, September 26th, 2014, in Austin, TX.

Hosted by award-winning author Dr. John Vanston, this one day event gives you the insight you need to stay innovative and to thrive in a rapidly changing business environment.

Take Advantage of Early Bird Registration!

All attendees receive Continental Breakfast, Breaks, and Lunch followed by a Networking Reception!

Please contact TFI at info@tfi.com or (512) 258-8898 or visit Minitrends 2014 for additional information.

How Large Organizations Foster Innovation

December 14, 2010

Embedding Sustainability in Organizational Culture

An expansive new study just released by the Network for Business Sustainability provides valuable suggestions for executives in large organizations about how to keep their companies innovative and competitive.

The report, “Embedding Sustainability in Organizational Culture,” involved reviewing over 13,000 academic and industrial studies, then narrowing these down to 179 primary sources which were synthesized to extract common principles and best practices.

The issue of how to spur creativity in large organizations was a driving motivation for the new book, MINITRENDS. Author John H. Vanston, Ph.D., a nuclear engineer, university professor, and chairman of the technology forecasting firm, Technology Futures, Inc., is often called upon by large businesses to help them predict the future. These big companies want to ride technology trends, not be run over by them.

It’s one thing to know what’s coming, and another to be able to adjust to it. The new report from the Network for Business Sustainability is chock-full of ideas for keeping large organizations from getting stuck. It contains both the principles of innovation and copious examples of clever ways big companies have found to stay nimble. Here are some suggestions culled from the 74-page report:

  • Remove barriers to teamwork and collaboration through the abolition of separate dining rooms for managers and line employees.
  • Support an innovation culture through small gestures of recognition. At Bank of America, a small pin presented by high-level management “gave encouragement to employees who enacted the organization’s values and refocused management styles toward promoting and supporting these values.”
  • The Ethical Corporation begins every meeting with a quick success story. Storytelling is used to create the “true believers and adherents” essential for embedding innovation. These stories help teach team members new ways of thinking and doing things.
  • Include employees in developing team mission statements. This helps employees “build a sense of collective ownership, commitment, and focus and, through this, a culture of innovation.”
  • Engage suppliers, customers, and even community representatives in dialogue about innovation. “Organizations must consider the entire supply chain and process, where suppliers and vendors are seen as partners co-designing and co-creating ideas and sustainability innovations.”
  • Senior management must nurture feedback channels to “create a safe place for bold ideas to emerge.” The authors suggest that it is not enough to provide a feedback mechanism, but that senior management must actively solicit feedback through those channels and hold regularly-scheduled meetings to review suggestions.
  • Innovation challenges, involving deadlines, recognition, and financial rewards, have been effective spurring innovation in many companies.

The study was written by Stephanie Bertels, PhD.,  an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University. She has made the results available, at no charge, in two different formats:

For those companies wishing to remain innovative, and for chief executives concerned about the future of their organizations when they leave, I would also recommend the book, MINITRENDS. If we have focused on entrepreneurs and small businesses here on this blog, that’s because innovation in large organizations often is the result of employees cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset and the organization acting like a venture capitalist in support of those individual efforts.

Fully one-third of MINITRENDS is devoted to fostering creativity in large organizations. The book is inspiring to individual employees and provides them with a set of skills for identifying and qualifying trends that show promise for profitable development in the near future. It should be required reading in organizations that hope to outlive their founders.

News Editor, Minitrends Blog

Source: “Embedding Sustainability in Organizational Culture” (PDF), Network for Business Sustainability, December 2010
Image courtesy of the Network for Business Sustainabilty, used under Fair Use: Reporting.