PDR Announces our Perspectives 2016 Speakers


PDR is delighted to host Perspectives 2016 on August 31st and September 1st with the topic, Collegiate to Corporate: Workplace Insights from Learning Environments. Curated by PDR’s Workplace Performance Practice, Perspectives is an exclusive thought leader forum for leaders with an enterprise view. Together we will share our thoughts, experiences, and research on best practices for creating and maintaining the bridge from collegiate to corporate.

What can organizations learn from successful university environments that will enable them to spur innovation, ignite community, and enable employee autonomy and well-being? We look forward to beginning the forum on the 31st at Rice University with a campus tour, a student panel discussion, and a meet and greet reception. What better way to kick start the conversation than by experiencing a stroll through one of the country’s top academic institutions that is bursting with student creativity? Look out for live access to our diverse student panel about their ideal workplace on PDR’s Facebook Live.

On September 1st we will convene at PDR’s office, in downtown Houston, to welcome the presentations of: Drew Jones, Sheila Danko, and Brad Rossacci. Presentations will be followed by PDR’s review of our research on student workplace preferences and an interactive activity.

Drew Jones, Ph.D., is an organizational consultant, management professor, and writer. He is co-founder and Partner at OpenWork Agency, a workplace strategy and corporate culture consultancy. He has consulted with large and small firms over the past 15 years, and has written three books, including the first book (co-written) on coworking. His most recent book, The Fifth Age of Work: How Companies Can Re-Design Work to be More Innovative in a Cloud Economy– provides a roadmap to a future world of work. He has been involved in coworking since 2007, and most recently was co-owner and partner at Conjunctured Coworking– Austin, Texas’ first coworking space. Drew also teaches Management and Organizational Behavior in the McCoy College of Business Administration at Texas State University, in San Marcos. He is based in Austin, Texas.

Drew will be speaking on Collegiate to Corporate at the Organizational Level

Autonomy & Direction: Managing the Millennial Paradox How can firms extend the choice & flexibility that Millennials & Gen Z have in college, to their new workplace experience? How can organizations draw loyalty of the future workforce? Younger generations identify primarily with friends, family, social networks, and professional communities of practice and do not define their identity by their employer, as was the case for their parent’s generation.  

Sheila Danko is currently Professor & Chair of the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University Sheila Danko has a multi-disciplinary design background with training in architecture, industrial, graphic, and interior design. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of design and leadership across a wide range of disciplines. Questions guiding her include: How can design support strategic business planning, in particular socially responsible business? How can we educate the next generation to embrace a whole systems view of design? And how can design be a tool for creative leadership and social change? To explore answers to these questions, Professor Danko has explored the art of storytelling in relation to creative problem-solving process and transformational leadership theory. Professor Danko was named a J. Thomas Clark Professor of Entrepreneurship for her research entitled Values-led Entrepreneurship by Design. She has received significant industry, academic and fellowship awards including best paper at INTENT/International Entrepreneurship and Training; a Bronze Award in the IFI/ Nagoya International Design Competition, Japan proposing a new line of architectural finishes using recycled textile waste; and a Polsky Endowment for her study in creative design process and its linkages to design education. Before coming to Cornell she worked as a design consultant for major corporations including Herman Miller Research, Dansk International Design and Corning Medical and Scientific.

Sheila will be speaking on Collegiate to Corporate at the Leadership Level

How are transformational leadership and leadership development related to the creative design process? How can business leaders build smarter and more innovative organizations while remaining loyal to the organization’s greater purpose? How can leaders give employees permission to be creative?   

Brad Rossacci is the Director of Innovation at 900lbs of Creative. Brad’s experiential design work begins at the neurotransmitter level and expands through a full understanding of the defined environment. He works to ensure that each client’s challenge results in a custom design solution to achieve an optimal outcome. He enjoys solving global business challenges with activating the human capacity through experiential and immersive environments, physical design, tactical science, and a variety of “disruptive” exponential technologies. Brad’s research with human innovation science includes experiential biology, innovation DNA and performance anthropology. 900lbs of Creative is a collective of experiential designers, interactive artists and visual content developers who design experiences for a diverse range of events, exhibits and digital media.

Brad will be speaking on Collegiate to Corporate at the Individual Level

What are the best components of hyper-compelling environments and design outcomes that inventively activate the human experience, innovation DNA, environment design, and tactical science. How can we best implement scaled community in the workplace? How do you provide opportunity to have various levels of connectedness, and how are they celebrated or recognized? 

 We look forward to welcoming leaders from various industries to this year’s Perspectives 2016.

Our Perspectives Student Survey which is gathering data about students’ ideal workplace will remain open until August 20th.  Please share with any undergraduate or graduate level university student!