OK, what's the story with the whole "Forward 100" name?
First, we'll start with the end in mind: Forward 100 is intended to help brands, companies and shareholders while helping the world through social cause support and strategic empathy. For more on this end game, please revisit this site in about 10 days… my thinking on this topic has evolved and I want to tighten up my thoughts through a new posting.

To get to this point, I realized that I need to combine my proven track record in "for profit" marketing and consumer insights with greater experience in the "non-profit" world. I was reminded of the benefits of acknowledging humility and experience gaps when I watched a documentary about the late, great Peter Jennings. Here was a guy that was given the best opportunity in his field (hosting the national evening news) at an incredibly young age, and yet he chose to ask for a transfer to a role that seemed far less glamorous (reporter) so he could build his field experience and expertise. I loved what Jennings did and realized that there was an analogy for us all to consider.

With this in mind, I committed to designing Forward 100 to enable me to experience and understand the non-profit world by performing 100 days a year (minimum) of for-profit consulting to subsidize my non-profit learning curve (at least 100 days a year in the non-profit space). It has been a terrific journey… some incredible successes, some GREAT stumblings (once you bite the bullet from an ego perspective, it is amazing what you can learn from the stumblings), and a lot of GREAT client impacts and friendships have emerged.

But wait, there's more.
The "100" in Forward 100 also reflects a really important and advantageous aspect of this company's structure. Ever since I read Tom Peter's "The Brand YOU" many years ago, I realized that we are headed towards a work model where more and more people are becoming project-based specialists rather than traditional full time employees. For some, this was a choice. For others, it is a reaction to recession-induced restructurings. This shift is great news for Forward 100 because it has resulted in my building an ever-growing rolodex of over 100 field-tested specialists in dozens of areas who can be efficiently and effectively brought into specific projects as needed. I love this model because it allows me to do what's best for each client without having to pad the margins to cover overhead and related expenses.

In many cases, I can service the entire project myself. In other cases, it makes sense to bring in subject matter experts (e.g., macro economist, child psychologist, sociologist specializing in geriatric issues, food and beverage sensory expert, six sigma black belt in process improvement, web designer, strategic planner, etc). I first saw this type of model as a kid watching the old "Mission: Impossible" television show… if Mr. Phelps was called upon to heist a criminally operated casino (the project) for the government (his client), he pulled in specific agents based on necessary skills, acumen and temperament (e.g., a safecracker, a karate expert, a pickpocket), did the job, shook hands, went home and moved on to the next job. No overhead. Efficient workflow. Beautiful.

Speaking of which, some projects (because of scope, number of markets involved, etc) require seamless collaboration with reliable, proven and really cool groups that have earned my respect and admiration. These teams include the great folks at Atlanta's Trend Influence,, MMR Research,, and Seattle's Modo Group, Love the teams of consumer anthropologists and strategists at Trend Influence and Modo Group, and love the quant jocks at MMR Research. One common thread we ALL share is that we love creating great STORIES about brands and consumers. The term I have heard for this is "adorkable" (adorable + dorky = adorkable). It's not like we dress up for Star Trek conventions… not that there is anything wrong with that.

Copyright © 2009 FORWARD100    All rights reserved