FORWARD 100: THE NAME OF THE COMPANY
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
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
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
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, www.trendinfluence.com,
MMR Research, www.mmresearch.com, and Seattle's
Modo Group, www.modo.com. 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
that there is anything wrong with that.