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George Vlahakis
IU Communications

Anne Auer
Kelley School of Business

Last modified: Tuesday, January 24, 2012

'Incite Innovation' is the theme for IU Kelley Business Conference on March 2

Presenters will include creativity guru John Kao and serial inventor Ray Kurzweil

Jan. 24, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Ray Kurzweil, a futurist coined a "restless genius" by The Wall Street Journal, and John Kao, an authority on corporate innovation dubbed "Mr. Creativity" by The Economist, will keynote the 66th annual Indiana University Kelley Business Conference on March 2.

"Incite Innovation" is the theme for the highly interactive conference, taking place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Indiana Convention Center, 100 S. Capitol Ave., in downtown Indianapolis. As always, the event is open to the public.

Kao and Kurzweil will be joined on the program by Sharon Orlopp, global chief diversity officer and a senior vice president at Walmart Stores Inc.; and Marvin L. White, system vice president and chief financial officer of St. Vincent Health.

Donald R. Knauss, chairman and CEO of The Clorox Co., will speak at lunch.

"Today's business environment is becoming increasingly competitive. We know from countless studies that the secret to success is the ability to anticipate future opportunities and to develop innovative approaches to acting on them," said Dan Smith, dean of the Kelley School. "Participants at this year's Business Conference will come away with an understanding of emerging opportunities for their particular organizations and will also be provided with a clear process for coming up with out-of-the-box ideas for taking advantage of them.

"We are using a new format this year in which Ray Kurzweil, a world-renowned expert in development of scenarios of the future, will collaborate with John Kao, a recognized guru in the area of innovation and creativity, to lead an interactive program in which participants will be engaged in coming up with actionable opportunities for their organizations," Smith added. "I am confident that our friends who attend the conference will find useful and fresh perspectives that are adaptable right away in their companies and workplaces."

The conference registration fee is $150 by Tuesday, Feb. 16, and $160 afterward. Table registrations are $1,400 for 10 people or $725 for five people and include all conference sessions with reserved seating at lunch. Information and registration are available at or 812-855-6340.

The day's activities will open with a conversation between two distinguished Kelley School faculty members -- Ash Soni, associate dean of information technology and ArcelorMittal Faculty Fellow; and Anne Massey, IU Bloomington associate vice provost for faculty and academic affairs and professor of information systems -- who will set the agenda for the conference.

In their opening session, Kao and Kurzweil will speak about key issues American firms soon will face and describe how that future will impact society and the way it does business. Kao will speak about creative thinking and innovation strategies that will be required for American business leaders to successfully engage and adapt to the future described by Kurzweil.

Following a short break, the audience will participate in a highly interactive, 90-minute brainstorming exercise facilitated by Kao and Kurzweil and moderated by Gerry A. Dick, host of "Inside Indiana Business." Conference participants will be seated in small groups and tasked with a problem-solving exercise built around the conference theme.

Don Knauss

Donald R. Knauss

Following that brainstorming session, Kao and Kurzweil will interact with the audience, challenging ideas and identifying synergies and disconnects. Orlopp and White will join in the discussion. To encourage participation, attendees will be provided with audience response system devices they can use to answer questions and offer input.

At lunch, Knauss -- an IU alumnus -- will speak to his experience leading The Clorox Co.'s evolution from an old-line chemical company to the forefront of the "green movement" in corporate America.

Registrations can be mailed to Annual Business Conference, Kelley School of Business, 1275 E. 10th St., Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-1703. Credit card registrations can be sent by fax to Conference Registrar, Kelley School of Business, 812-856-7018. Make checks payable to the IU Kelley School of Business Alumni Association.

Here's more about the presenters:

John Kao

Among his many monikers, Kao has been called an innovation sherpa, a serial innovator and "Mr. Creativity." A leading authority on innovation, organizational transformation and emerging technologies, Kao has advised governments of Finland and Singapore on innovation strategies, chaired the World Economic Forum's Global Advisory Council on Innovation and founded the Institute for Large Scale Innovation. He has provided counsel to Nike, Intel, IBM, the U.S. Navy, Citibank, Nokia and the World Economic Forum, among the many organizations.

A graduate of Yale University with an M.D. and Harvard University with an MBA, Kao has written books and articles on the topics of innovation and creativity that have been published in major media outlets and translated in 15 languages. He is author of the best-selling books, "Innovation Nation: How America Is Losing Its Innovation Edge, Why It Matters and What We Can Do to Get It Back" and "Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity," and is a contributing editor at The Daily Beast.

He was a member of the Harvard Business School faculty from 1982 to 1996, and is an entrepreneur film and stage producer. His creativity extends to his talents as a jazz and rock pianist -- he was the keyboard player for Frank Zappa's band in 1969. He has performed at Madison Square Garden and the Royal Copenhagen Opera House.

Ray Kurzweil

Over a career now entering its sixth decade, Kurzweil has been inventor, entrepreneur, author and futurist. He has been called "the restless genius" by The Wall Street Journal and "the ultimate thinking machine" by Forbes.

Kurzweil's recent national best-seller, "The Age of Spiritual Machines," ranked No. 1 on in the categories of science and artificial intelligence and covers topics that include entropy, chaos, the big bang, quantum theory, DNA computers, genetic algorithms, brain scanning and the world of information technology -- past, present and future.

Regarded as a modern-day Thomas Edison, Kurzweil has been the principal developer of the first reading machine for the blind, the first CCD flat-bed scanner and many other amazing technologies. His fans include Bill Gates and President Bill Clinton, who in 1999 bestowed Kurzweil with the National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest technology honor.

He is the recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Prize for invention and innovation and an inductee in the National Inventor Hall of Fame. Kurzweil also holds 10 honorary doctorates and seven national and international film awards.

Donald R. Knauss

Knauss joined The Clorox Co. as chairman and CEO in 2006, and has overall responsibility for directing the company's worldwide business, which generated revenues of $5.53 billion in fiscal year 2010.

Before joining Clorox, Knauss spent 12 years with the Coca-Cola Co., where he served as senior vice president of marketing and as senior vice president and general manager for the Minute Maid Co. subsidiary and its U.S. retail operations. Beginning in 1998, Knauss served nearly two years managing Coca-Cola's businesses in 10 countries of Southern Africa, and in 2000, he was named president and CEO of the Minute Maid Co. He became president and chief operating officer of Coca-Cola North America in 2004.

He previously held a variety of positions in marketing and sales with the Frito-Lay and Tropicana divisions of PepsiCo. Inc., and he began his business career as a brand manager in the paper products division at Procter & Gamble. Before that, he served as an officer of the United States Marine Corps.

A native of Highland, Ind., Knauss holds a bachelor's degree in history from IU.

Knauss has a long-standing commitment to promoting workplace equality and embracing diversity. In 2006, he received The Jackie Robinson Foundation's ROBIE Award for industry achievement. The ROBIE Award is the foundation's highest tribute to an individual who has promoted and expanded opportunities for minorities in the corporate world.

Sharon Orlopp

As global chief diversity officer and senior vice president at Walmart, Orlopp is responsible for advancing a diverse workforce with 2.1 million associates worldwide. She oversees and leverages global diversity and inclusion efforts, associate relations and HR policy for the world's largest retailer.

She joined Walmart in 2003 as vice president, people, and a year later was promoted to senior vice president, people, at Sam's Club. Prior to joining Walmart, she was vice president of human resources for Gart Sports and spent 17 years at Foot Locker, where she held various leadership positions in operations and human resources.

Orlopp serves as a member of the National Advisory Board with Students in Free Enterprise, as a member of the Board of Women's Foodservice Forum and as a member of the Advisory Council for the Center for Entrepreneurship at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Denver, where she graduated magna cum laude.

Marvin L. White

As system vice president and chief financial officer, Marvin White's responsibilities include finance, materials management, accounting, patient financial services and managed care for all 19 St. Vincent Health ministries, as well as 36 joint ventures.

Before joining St. Vincent Health in 2008, White served as executive director and chief financial officer at Eli Lilly and Co.'s LillyUSA, where he was a member of the operations committee. White also held leadership positions at Lilly in corporate finance and investment banking in the corporate strategy group, and he was the pharmaceutical company's executive director and assistant treasurer.

Before his career in health care, White was with General Motors and Hewlett-Packard. In 1993, he joined Motorola's cordless operation as operations controller and in 1995 was named senior operations controller for the Japan Cellular Division. He moved to Singapore in 1997 as the South Asia divisional controller for Motorola's Cellular Sector and later became the Latin America divisional controller for the same sector. White has a bachelor's degree in accounting from Wilberforce University and an MBA in finance from IU's Kelley School.

Conference Gold level sponsors include: BKD LLP, Deloitte, Eli Lilly and Co., FedEx Corp., Kimball International and Simon Property Group. At the Silver level, sponsors include: ArcelorMittal USA, Bloomington Brands LLC, CenterPoint Energy, Citizens Energy Group, Duke Energy, Ernst & Young LLP, Hillenbrand Inc., The Indianapolis Business Journal, Johnson Ventures Inc., The Pampered Chef Ltd., and St. Vincent Health. Fifth Third Bank is a Bronze-level sponsor.