“What’s in greatest demand today isn’t more data but synthesis — understanding what’s next, crossing boundaries and being able to combine different pieces into an interesting new whole.” That’s what Dan Mack, managing director of the Mack Elevation Forum, asked attendees to do at the exclusive, one-day summit co-hosted by Mack Elevation Forum and Drug Store News at Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House in Denver just before NACDS TSE.

Modeled after the cutting-edge TedX conference series, the joint Mack Elevation/ DSN summit brought together nine critical thought leaders from both inside and outside of the industry, to challenge attendees to think beyond their brands to achieve 10x the results. “The most special companies are great at blending analytical acumen with the art of the story!” Mack said. “They see the world in a different way.”

“The world is changing, and we need to innovate or die. Disruption is everywhere, and we have to adapt. There’s a marked difference between companies that thrive through the times and those that don’t. The ones that survive react to changes,” said Ryan Olohan, national industry director healthcare at Google. “The ones that succeed anticipate, embrace and respond to changes in technology and changes in consumer behavior.”

Marc Landsberg, president and COO at Social Deviant, outlined a human-centered design model for social media and consumer advocacy. “The Power of Design has traditionally meant package design, graphic design or, with the recent advent of the Web, usability and site design. But design, when properly defined, means so much more. In the broadest design, design means intelligence. It means purpose. It means everything has a reason — everything has its place. Design, when it is done well, is deeply rooted in a corporation’s culture”, said Landsberg.
“Design shapes a company’s reason for being; it has become an undeniably trans formative force in business and society.” Beth Stiller, Walgreens’ group VP retail brands and global sourcing, discussed the power of both understanding and sharing your own personal leadership story and why it’s the way to true intimacy and peak performance. “Leaders must let their team into their own story, it’s a transparent give and take,”Stiller said.

In addition to Olohan, Landsberg and Stiller, the speaker lineup included:

• Bryan Gildenberg, chief knowledge officer at Kantar Retail, laid out 10 global trends that everyone must embrace to win in the new economy;

• Larry Levin, EVP of business development at IRI, shared new insights on millennial segmentation;
• Karuna Rawal, EVP business lead at Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett, revealed the best of the best retail innovations for 2015;

• Virginia Nicoletti, industry lead global marketing solutions at Facebook, shared how to reach your customer with precision through Facebook;
• Greg Kahn, adviser at Internet of Things Consortium, shared why the Internet of Things will continue to change retail, brands and our lives; and
• Gary Preston, CEO of Preston & Partners, shared a blueprint for attracting and retaining the next generation of talent. “This event provides competitive advantage for every company attending,” said Drug Store News publisher Wayne Bennett, “and is a perfect place for sales and marketing leadership to gain insights to help think differently about their business.”