Grant McCracken is a cultural anthropologist. He holds a PhD from the University of Chicago. He is the founder of the Institute of Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum. Grant has taught at the Harvard, University of Cambridge, and MIT. He is the cofounder of the Artisanal Economies Project. He designed and staged The Automated Anthropologist project, covered by The New Yorker. Malcolm Gladwell has called his work “brilliant.” With Mitch Hurwitz and Wired Magazine, he helped create what AdAge calls the “Snow Fall” of native advertising for Netflix. He consults widely, including the Netflix, Google, Ford Foundation, Kanye West, Campbell Soup, Boston Book Festival, Timberland, Sony, Diageo, Siemens, NBC, IBM, Nike and the White House. Grant is the ranking national expert on how commerce and culture interact. He is on advisory boards for IBM and Sam Adams. He has given Culture Camp in New York and London and for many private clients. He is the author of 14 non-fiction books including most recently Chief Culture Officer, Culturematic, and Dark Value. One of his courses at MIT was entitled “Time Machine: Building a model for predicting culture.” Grant was one of the few social scientists to predict a Trump victory. He did so one year before the presidential election. (See his blog post here.) Grant lives in the New York area.
Kevin Clark is an award-winning brand experience strategist, author, and transformational catalyst. He is the President and Founder of Content Evolution LLC, and CEO and Founding Partner of EduPresence. Kevin works with a diverse portfolio of business leaders, educators and professionals to discover the wants and needs of customers, and links to emerging social and technology trends. He is a sought-after strategic advisor about innovation and business models, managing and directing change, brand strategy, adult learning, customer and market segmentation, relationship management, and stakeholder experience design.
Kevin retired from IBM as Program Director emeritus, Brand and Values Experience, IBM Corporate Marketing and Communications in 2009 with 30 years of service. He was responsible for creating new ways for people to experience and interact with IBM, the most valuable business-to-business brand in the world valued in 2009 at $62 billion according to Interbrand and Business Week, and the #2 brand overall. Today IBM’s brand is valued at $70 billion. He was Brand Steward of the IBM Think family of personal computer offerings, including IBM ThinkPad notebook computers, and was Program Director, Market Intelligence and Business Strategy for IBM Personal Systems Group. He has served on the advisory board of the World Brand Congress and received the Brand Leadership Award from this organization in 2009. He received recognition from the NASA Astronaut’s office in 2005, and an award from IBM as an influential executive advocate for NASA and United Space Alliance in 2006.
Kevin is the author of Brandscendence: Three Essential Elements of Enduring Brands published by Kaplan/Dearborn (2004), and is a contributing author to several other books. He is the author of the chapter ‘Relationship Transformation: Shifting Media Boundaries’ in The Handbook of Strategic Public Relations and Integrated Marketing Communications (2012); and co-author of the chapter ‘Unleashing the Power of Design Thinking’ in the book Design Thinking published by Alworth Press (2010). He is co-author of ‘Experience Design that Drives Consideration’, written for Design Management Review (2006); and ‘How IBM Innovates’, a cover story for PDMA Visions, journal of the Product Development Management Association (2006).
Sam Ford is Director of Cultural Intelligence at Simon and Schuster and a media executive and consultant, as well as a research affiliate with MIT’s Program in Comparative Media Studies/Writing and a fellow with Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. He is working on various initiatives about the Future of Work in Kentucky with the MIT Open Documentary, the University of Southern California Civic Paths team, and others. In 2015, Sam launched and ran the Center for Innovation & Engagement at Univision’s Fusion Media Group (as FMG’s VP, Innovation & Engagement), which he ran through the end of 2016. He is co-author, with Henry Jenkins and Joshua Green, of the 2013 NYU Press book Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture, and co-editor, with Abigail De Kosnik and C. Lee Harrington, of the 2011 book The Survival of Soap Opera: Transformations for a New Media Era. Sam lives in New York City, with wife Amanda and daughters Emma and Harper.