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Quarterly Roundtable Meeting for Members Featured Mickey McManus

Mickey McManus is a senior advisor to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and a visiting research fellow at Autodesk’s Office of the CTO. He is a pioneer in pervasive computing, collaborative human/machine innovation, human-centered design and education. His current research is at the intersection of automation, cognitive capacity, biases and meta-cognition. McManus is the co-author of the award-winning book “Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology.”  Read his full bio here.

How the Community of Things Will Improvise like a Jazz Band - and Save Lives

Like a great jazz band improvising together, the Community of Things can collaborate in meaningful ways to innovate, improve themselves, create a better product and even save lives. The Internet of Things is slowly evolving into the Community of Things. Project Dreamcatcher is a prime example, the experimental generative-design platform takes a designer’s objectives—around geometric constraints and material science—and serves up a vast array of design alternatives the designer alone would never have conceived. Read McManus’ article: How the Community of Things Will Improvise like a Jazz Band - and Save Lives.
Thank you and welcome to those who participated in the inaugural 2019 Digital Futures Conference. Case Western Reserve University and the Innovation Research Interchange (IRI) partnered on the two-day conference, Oct. 14-16 at CWRU, to showcase organizations who have had success on their digital transformation journey. In every account, the conference was a huge success with close to 200 registrants. 

xLab is grateful to the impressive panel of speakers who shared their expertise and experiences. As we build on this momentum and your organization continues on its digital transformation journey, xLab will share key highlights from the conference in different forms. We are committed to helping your organization to learn and deploy the Digital First Framework as outlined by Dr. Youngjin Yoo in his keynote address. Sharing experiences and learning from each other will continue to be important to navigating the new digital landscape.

To learn more about xLab or get in-depth training on the Digital First Framework, please contact or Shirley Reynolds, Director of xLab Operations at
 Digital Futures Conference Session Highlight

Rob Arbogast, Director of People Systems and Strategy, The Timken Company

Digital Talent: Recruiting and developing human-centered, 
digital first, design-savvy and multi-disciplinary employees  

Rob Arbogast described how recruiting talent necessary for a digital transformation is changing due to technological advances and a new generation of workers. For instance the average tenure for employees has shifted dramatically from 15 years to four years, with Millenials only staying for an average of 2.8 years. New hires respond more often to texts than to emails for job offers and have recently begun to prioritize their mental health and engagement with leadership more than ever. Arbogast believes more adaptations will be necessary for digital transformations in the upcoming decade and describes factors such as the experience gap, re-examining the employee experience, organization, personal engagement, automation and talent recruitment. In conclusion, new strategies for talent acquisition and workforce adaptation are necessary as the needs of consumers and employees shift in the looming digital age.
Executive Education
Gain a new perspective on digital innovation and learn the “Digital First Framework” at the Weatherhead School of Management’s Executive Education:

Digital First: Managing Disruption in the Digital Age, April 22, 2020 
Digital Transformation: Strategic Tools & Frameworks for Success, Online Course 
Digital First Deep Dive 
xLab offers Digital First Deep Dive, a custom program to jump start the Digital First Framework initiative at your organization based on your unique needs and strategy. Contact Shirley Reynolds at to learn more.
xLab Members: Mark Your 2020 Calendars
  • Digital First Framework Training - Friday, February 3 - 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Quarterly Roundtable Meeting - Wednesday, March 4
  • Quarterly Roundtable Meeting - Friday, June 5 
Stay connected
To keep you informed of xLab programs and activities, you will receive xLab’s monthly newsletter.  We look forward to continuing the dialogue on digital transformation. 
Thank you to our 2019 Digital Futures Conference partners!
Thank you to our partners for their sponsorship, which enabled Case Western Reserve students and minority-owned and women-owned businesses to participate in Digital Futures 2019.

Copyright © 2019 Weatherhead, All rights reserved.

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