Great Ideas for 2011

Speakers from the 2011 Great Ideas IGNITE sessions share great ideas they're trying this year.

Associations Now asked the 2011 Great Ideas Conference's IGNITE speakers, who are given five minutes and 20 slides to present:

"What great idea do you plan to implement in 2011?"

I created a calendar for every chat, blog, web show, podcast, speaking engagement, and article that I am involved in … it is an incredible editorial calendar on steroids. I realized I was way too busy and disjointed in 2010, and this is my answer for combating that this year.

The beauty of it is that I will be able to use my research for several products—blogs, podcasts, and articles—at the same time rather than doing all kinds of topics within the same week. I think it should streamline my work quite a bit.

I saved it to my Dropbox, so I can share it at any time with anyone just by looking on my phone or iPad … making scheduling on the fly that much easier!

—KiKi L'Italien, senior consultant, technology management, DelCor Technology Solutions, Silver Spring, Maryland

In 2011 I will simply share my knowledge and passion. I am going to write a lot of little things, from Facebook posts, tweets, and blogs, and put them together to become my completed book to educate and inspire future community leaders. I think this is a much better plan than pretending I'll carve out time to sit down and write an entire book.

—Holly Duckworth, CMP, CEO/chief connections officer, Leadership Solutions International, Lake Oswego, Oregon

The great idea I am putting into practice is to use a few consistent prefixes at the beginning of each email subject line to allow the receiver, without opening the email, to determine the priority level of each email. I've chosen six: FYI, for your reference, quick question, please respond by mm/dd, action required by mm/dd, and URGENT. My hope is that others will find it beneficial and adopt the practice, hence making everyone's lives easier!

—Carolyn Lanham, CAE, senior director, executive operations, American Institute of Architects, Washington, DC

As Microsoft chairman, Bill Gates twice annually engaged in what he called Think Weeks. He would seclude himself in a waterfront cabin and consume stacks of diverse books, journals, and other media, focusing his attention on the future in general and for technology, computing, and Microsoft in particular.

While I've become a pretty effective scanner of the RSS feeds, tweets, and links that flood my computer screen daily, I've lost a bit of my edge on doing the deep contemplation and critical thinking that can integrate all of these snippets of insight into a cohesive mindset and plan of action.

So the great idea I plan to implement in 2011 is my own version of a think week, copying the approach of Bill Gates to focus on associations, community, leadership, and learning.

—Jeffrey Cufaude, president and CEO, Idea Architects, Indianapolis

The 2011 Great Ideas Conference will take place March 13-15 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at The Broadmoor. To register, visit or call 888-950-2723 or 202-371-0940.