Digital_now_3 Just back from one of my favorite professional development activities — the annual Association Digital Now Conference at the Disney Yacht & Beach Club in Orlando, Fla. This conference is on my must-see list every year. It is produced by my good friends, Don Dea and Hugh Lee at Fusion Productions, in connection with George Arguel of Disney (and the Disney Institute).

Three major things stuck out for me while attending this conference:

  1. Structure counts: We applied the Digital Now formula of Value – Strategy – Structure, and it has allowed us to innovate in our association.
  2. Innovation matters: Innovation = Strategy as offense and fills our needs to build and create.
  3. It really is all about relationships and people: Web 2.0 is just the supports and crossbeams that allow people to participate, collaborate and connect.

Let me explain …

Dsc02485_2Structure: Our chair, Tami Bensky, was invited to participate in the panel titled, “Where Have All The Members Gone?” to talk about the MACPA’s journey to reinvent our internal structure and governance in a way that would allow more members to participate and more young professionals to have a voice. You can read our case study here: Download case_study_info_formmacpa.doc

Innovation: Chris Trimble, best-selling author of Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators, talked about innovation as the only sustainable advantage in a world that is changing as fast as ours. He covered a useful framework of Forget – Borrow – Learn to create a distinct but linked organization as the optimum choice for organizational innovation and growth.

Dsc02426Relationships and people: Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, talked about Wikipedia’s mission to fundamentally change the world. All of these new Web 2.0 tools just facilitate connecting people to each other and allowing them to co-create, participate and work together like never before. You will be seeing us explore the exciting possibilities of these technologies more and more!

Speaking of relationships, this conference is always great to catch up with many old friends and make some new friends. The CPA profession was well represented ,with friends from the AICPA, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Indiana, Florida and Missouri Society of CPAs. I even ran into a former MACPA member who now works with the PGA in Florida.

Dsc00520_3MACPAers Byron Patrick (NYPN) and Thomas Hood (Tomorrows CPA — high school) participated in the “Reality 2.0” panel of the next generation of members representing high school, college and young professionals. If you want to see the differences across these groups, watch this video on the link below; it is guaranteed to disturb you. My question is: What can we be doing now to accommodate these new generations as they begin to enter the workplace and our associations?

Slacpa_logoPictured at right are Brent Johnson of our Business Learning Institute, Tami Bensky (Dsc02476_2MACPA chair and manager at Myers & Stauffer), Byron Patrick (chair of our NYPN and IT director at KAWG&F), Tom Hood, Thomas Hood (Tomorrow’s CPA high school member), Jackie Brown (our COO and deputy executive director) and Skip Falatko (our CFO). The MACPA team was featured on two panels and did a demonstration on the possibilities of using the 3-D Web application Second Life for associations and their members. The entire team wore their SLACPA (Second Life Association of CPAs) shirts to commemorate the demos of “CPA Island” at the conference.

Useful links and Digital Now content:

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