With November less than two weeks away, Black Enterprise and Film Life are gearing up for the Plunge Culture & Creativity Conference. Geared toward finding new inventors, inspiring creativity, and helping professionals from all fields of business find new and innovative ways to mesh art, technology, and diversity Plunge takes place November 6-8, 2014, at the Eden Roc Resort in Miami Beach, Florida.
As Black Enterprise sorts through numerous applications submitted for a chance to be a part of BE’s Inventor’s showcases deemed the Innovation Slam – a stellar lineup of speakers are confirmed for Plunge. Writer and director Gina Prince-Bythewood will premiere her upcoming film Beyond the Lights. While green living expert and author Danny SEO, and Frans Johansson, author of The Medici Effect are both set to help stir the creativity juices of those in attendance. It’s Plunge’s mission of innovation, talent development, and inclusion that grabbed Johansson’s attention. “I’ve gone to more innovation conferences than you can shake a stick at and they have not really been geared at the type of audience we’re supposed to bring together. The conferences tend to be very white, very engineering focused, maybe marketing, possibly on the start -up sector, oftentimes very male. I think Plunge is different and goes along the lines of how to maximize the relationship. You have the best chance to maximize when you combine people from different background and industries and fields. That makes me very excited about Plunge.”
After writing his 2004 best-selling book, The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts & Cultures (Harvard Business Review; $32.95), a book on how companies can generate and implement innovative ideas, Johansson went on to pen The Click Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World (Portfolio; $26.95). Featured on the cover of BE’s November 2013 issue, his writings have led to worldwide speaking engagements and clients ranging from MetLife to Nike Golf. Johansson’s appearance next month at Plunge will bring together all of his writings and beliefs by touching on three points. “What I want to share will resonate in a particular way with this audience. ‘Why is it that diversity drives innovation? Someone would just assume it’s true. But how? How do you know? And the second is, ‘What do you do about it? How would you take advantage of all the doors at the conference and beyond. Third is, once you do have all these ideas, how do you make them happen? What is different to executing an innovative idea as opposed to a more standard one?” Johansson says, “I want to show the participants the amazing power of the unexpected connection that happens when people come together from other industries and they have fresh conversations they’ve never had before and open new opportunities. They have a lot to gain from anyone who’s working to launch a new enterprise and artistic endeavor and anything creative. It will be completely energized to pursuing creative work in one fashion or another and they will also have a much deeper sense of how to do it.”
Johansson is a visionary who sees the future changing before his eyes. “You find all over the world, people are concerned about innovation. The world is changing so fast where people are really concerned about diversity, through the social network where culture is spreading faster than ever,” says Johansson, who today, aside from working with Disney, ESPN, and Nike, is also working on environmental projects and planning a conference in an Island castle off the coast of Sweden. “Connecting these two things has me doing extremely exciting work. So Plunge fits right in there. This will hopefully set the bar.”
Recognizing Black Enterprise as the leader in setting the bar for diversifying business by highlighting and empowering those of color who do it, Johansson is honored to be a part of this new BE event. “Black Enterprise is a source of inspiration. You can get inspiration from all kinds of places. But the important is finding someone who can address you in a voice and perspective which you can connect,” he says. “BE plays that role. And I think you have a brilliant future for Black Enterprise.”