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11 Oct, 2014

Business “provocateurs” told: Good disruptors should take being called “crazy” as a compliment

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–October 09, 2014 – Successful leaders today must abandon old schools of thought and change course at any given moment in an increasingly disruptive business world, according to the world’s top thought leaders at this year’s World Business Forum. WOBI, the leader in management and leadership conferences, gathered 3,000 executives from 55 countries and over 700 companies in New York City on Oct. 7-8 for the World Business Forum held at the iconic Radio City Music Hall®.

The 2014 World Business Forum gathered a unique group of speakers focused on challenging time-honored truths, and forging new paths to growth – dubbed the “PROVOCATEURS”. They included former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, writer Malcolm Gladwell, TOMS Founder & Chief Shoe Giver Blake Mycoskie, Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, creativity guru Sir Ken Robinson, Singularity University Co-Founder Peter Diamandis, Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer, ethnographer and author Simon Sinek, talent expert Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, Harvard Business School professor Linda Hill, Columbia Business School professor Rita McGrath, modern design legend Philippe Starck, chess legend Garry Kasparov, Endeavor Co-Founder Linda Rottenberg and The Container Store CEO Kip Tindell.

Speakers provided a packed house with insight into facing both professional and personal challenges in bold, innovative and often controversial ways. Their conclusion: have a vision but get ready to abandon it to respond to changing business conditions, embrace disruption, be creative, encourage contrasting points views and care little of what others may think of you. Good disruptors should take being called “crazy” as a compliment.

“The piece we don’t talk enough about is attitude, frame of mind,” said bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell of successful entrepreneurs. “They begin the task of reframing the problem in a way that no one had done before.”

Gone are the days of sustainable competitive advantage and clearly defined and economic and business boundaries, but exciting opportunities await the swift, nimble and pragmatic executive seeking to win in a fast-paced world, embracing an entrepreneurial spirit whether running their own businesses or working for big corporations.

And those who prioritize the needs of employee and community well-being over the bottom line will prosper, participants included.

“Instead of looking to charity, why don’t we look to business?” said Blake Mycoskie, founder and Chief Shoe Giver at TOMS, the shoe company that donates one pair of shoes for every pair sold, a figure that stands now at 35 million. ”Giving feels really good,” Mycoskie said, adding “giving doesn’t just feel good, it actually is really good for business.”

Former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke pointed out that what was true for those handling the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression holds true for others: don’t wait until the last second to deal with disruption. Looking forward, Bernanke praised the U.S. economy as one in recovery thanks to its entrepreneurial spirit.

“America is still the center of global innovation,” Bernanke said. “We are still the most entrepreneurial country in the world.”

A WOBI survey of 100 MBA students from 18 business schools around the country who were invited to attend the forum found that our future leaders are eager to disrupt the status quo in lieu of moving up the corporate ladder. When asked where they wanted to focus their efforts when they graduate, some 80% said they prefer building their own businesses or working for a startup, while a distant second at 20% said they’d focus on working for an established corporation. And 80% cited entrepreneurial courses as a factor when selecting an MBA program.

The World Business Forum sidelines were busy as well. World Business Forum sponsor the Singapore Economic Development Board hosted a breakfast panel discussion entitled “Accessing Asia: Leveraging New Hubs for Global Creative Talent.” WOBI Event Content Director Chris Stanley guided the conversation between three esteemed panelists, Sir Ken Robinson, Claudio Fernández-Aráoz and Tim Kobe. Each brought with them unique perspectives on best practices for fostering creativity, highlighting the importance of context and culture.

As a major sponsor of WOBI’s World Business Forum for the second year in a row, Teleperformance was honored to have its Chief Business Development Officer Alan Truitt introduce Malcolm Gladwell to the stage on Day One of the Forum and to host an exclusive luncheon for the author, which focused on themes including leadership, innovation and business. Teleperformance is a worldwide leader in multichannel customer experience management with 270 contact centers present in 62 countries, serving over 150 markets in 63 different languages.

The 2015 World Business Forum is scheduled for November 12-13 at New York City’s Lincoln Center. For more information about WOBI’s World Business Forum or other WOBI events, visit wobi.com/wbf-nyc or call 866-711-4476 or 212-317-8454.