This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Jeff Anders, International Innovation Leader and Strategist, co-founder and CEO of The Mark: Jeff shares his ideas on Job Lessons, the Recession, Innovation, Business, Technology.
Jeff Anders is the co-founder and CEO of The Mark. He has a decade of experience innovating in companies and international organizations. He worked for five years at Mercer Oliver Wyman as a strategy consultant to executives of Fortune 1000 companies. Later, as an independent consultant, he was retained by Hewlett Packard in India to help launch a team of local PhDs to perform marketing analytics for Western clients. Subsequently, he worked with a software provider in Beijing to raise capital and plan its international expansion. His first international engagement was with an NGO in Kosovo doing economic development. Jeff completed a Bachelor of Commerce at McGill, a MBA at MIT, and a Masters in Public Administration at Harvard.
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
Jeff can you tell us a little about yourself including your past and current roles.
"....My background is primarily in business....an undergraduate degree in finance.... five years of management consulting....MBA at MIT....Masters in Public Administration at Harvard....worked in startup companies in both India and China....worked with Michael Ignatieff....co-founder of The Mark...."
How would you describe your top innovative achievements in terms of the problems you were trying to solve, your solutions, and the impact it has today and into the future?
"...These are problems that don't have precedence and there are no textbook answers to what one should do....What characterizes the solutions can be boiled down to two key things: one is the effectiveness of the solution and the second is the ease of implementation...."
Can you overview the origins of The Mark?
"....The Mark tries to showcase Canadian ideas and to propel the thinkers behind those ideas. The Mark aims to harvest Canadian ideas and to bring them to market...."
What are some of the obstacles you are facing right now?
"....The big obstacle right now as with any content-based business is trying to be financially sustainable...."
What are the opportunities that are available beyond what you talked about here today with The Mark?
"....We recruit our contributors based on two criteria: one is professional credibility....the second is the connection to Canada...."
Who are your contributors and what do they hope to achieve?
"....One of the things that Obama demonstrated in the last US election is that you can actually elevate the debate and still reach large numbers of people. That is, in effect, what we are trying to do and at the same time what our contributors are achieving for themselves is that they are building a body of work online...."
What are some of the hot button issues of today in the areas of politics, business, science or technology?
"....One that might be of particular interest to this audience is Michael Geist and the people who are thinking about copyright and privacy....International conflict is another area....Certainly the hot button issues are important, but at The Mark we are going to try to host hundreds of conversations about niche issues...."
What triggered your interest in technology?
"....I went to school at M.I.T. - a thriving, innovative technological environment....From my perspective, I'm not a technologist, I'm not an engineer. I come from the business end and have a political background so for me the technology is just an enabler of the vision that I have for the exploration and the expression of ideas...."
How does the recession deliver unparalleled opportunities for innovation?
"....Periods of uncertainty are ripe for disruption...."
How do you manage change?
"....I don't manage change, I ride the change....For us, change is the medium through which we build and grow because we are evolving with that change....I try to make people feel as if they are the change and have them lead and drive the change...."
Please make predictions for the future, their implications, and how business executives and IT professionals can best prepare?
"....In publishing, the move from objectivity to transparency....people who are transparent in their bias, writing in their expert opinion instead of pursuing objectivity....Another thing is openness in terms of data....Also, you can do more with less and that is probably a universal trend that you can track back hundreds of years but I wonder if it's accelerating now and whether it will continue to accelerate in the future. I certainly hope it does...."
If you were doing this interview what question would you ask and what would be your answer?
"....What is the Canadian angle in all of this?....What it means to be Canadian is demonstrated through the totality of things that are said and written and that message is resonating with people from all professional disciplines...."