Innovation expert Freiberg to challenge an 'incumbent' powersports industry in Indy


“In 1900, it wasn’t obvious that we needed a replacement for horses.”

That statement, from a recent article in the Washington Post, gives you an idea of what you will hear during the Opening Day presentation at the 2012 Dealer Expo and American V-Twin Dealer Show.

Kevin Freiberg, best-selling author and leadership expert, comes to Indianapolis on Friday morning, Feb. 17, to show the powersports industry, and retailers in particular, how to stop thinking like incumbents and instead embrace innovation at every level.

The powersports market was founded on innovation and, it can be argued, enjoyed many years of “incumbent” business success because of it. But the last five years have been transformational – taking its toll on the industry’s collective psyche.  Everyone is looking for “the next big thing.” The trouble is, many times that “next big thing” forces you out of your comfort zone.

Strong words. Freiberg instructs you to stop obsessing on external conditions and instead focus on how “not” to do business as usual. Some of the things he will tell the industry may be difficult to swallow.

Take, for example, Freiberg’s Jan. 10, 2012 blog: “Consider the cost of great ideas that get lost in the clutter of slow decision-making, budget negotiations and management indifference. Be ever so careful of compromising full-blown commitment for required compliance. How much energy is zapped because people are working on the boss’s pet project, not the one they really care about?”

It’s quite possible that some members of your staff (especially the newer hires) would agree with the above statements.

Best-selling author. Freiberg has his name on several leading business titles and is a New York Times best-selling author. He is a full-time speaker and lecturer on business excellence, and has appeared on CNBC, CBS Sunday Morning and the CBS Morning News to discuss the links between leadership, corporate culture, innovation and customer loyalty. Articles penned by Freiberg have been published in The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Washington Post, Investor’s Business Daily, several publications in India and even the Capital Business & Finance Magazine of Dubai. His global consulting practice has served large and small businesses throughout North America and worldwide.

Whether speaking to large global corporations or local businesses, his message is the same. “Kevin helps business leaders better understand the impact of their choices, attitudes and behaviors on employee engagement, corporate culture, innovation, customer devotion and organizational performance. He [challenges] leaders to question the unquestionable, jettison the ‘incumbent’ mentality, look beyond customer imagination for the next big thing, and build companies that are hungry for change,” according to his bio.

Need to be there, says Graeber. “Kevin’s credentials are impressive, and his presentation is entertaining, provocative and insightful,” said Kerry Graeber, brand director for Dealer Expo and the American V-Twin Dealer Show. “Show attendees and exhibitors alike will benefit from what he has to say and find it to be completely relevant to today’s powersports business environment. Anyone interested in improving their situation should be there.”

The Freiberg presentation is a timely opener to the big Indy show. Attendees will exit the 9 a.m. hour-long presentation mentally and emotionally equipped for the 10 a.m. opening of the exhibit halls, just a few steps away. “The location and timing of the presentation were coordinated specifically for the convenience of the attendees and exhibitors,” said Graeber, “and what Freiberg will have to say will provide an excellent ‘opening’ for Dealer Expo and the American V-Twin Dealer Show.”

Freiberg, along with wife Jackie and Dain Dunston, are co-authors of the best-selling business book: Nanovation: How a Little Car Can Teach the World to Think Big & Act Bold (Thomas Nelson, 2011). Nanovation takes you behind the scenes of Tata Motors in India to reveal how this global mega-manufacturer created, according to the authors, “one of the greatest innovations in the auto industry since the Model-T.”

The Freibergs are also the authors of NUTS! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success (Crown Business, 1998 ), BOOM! 7 Choices for Blowing the Doors Off Business-As-Usual (Thomas Nelson, 2007), and GUTS! Companies that Blow the Doors off Business-As-Usual (Doubleday, 2005).

Freiberg’s presentation will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 17, in the Indiana Convention Center’s 500 Ballroom. The presentation is open to all registered attendees and exhibitors of the 2012 Dealer Expo and American V-Twin Dealer Show.

Posted by Mary Slepicka