Monday, March 28, 2016

Nutrition Revolution! Meet Watson - Your Friendly Robot Mixologist!

If you had the chance to attend SXSW in Austin, TX, last week, you may have enjoyed a customized drink designed by "Watson", IBM's most advanced cognitive computing platform. IBM's Cognitive Bar was one of the big hits at the conference. Watson's cognitive skills will change Food&Beverage as we know it!

You may remember Watson as the first computer to beat the world champion in "Jeopardy" 5 years ago. At the time, some cried out that artificial intelligence would be the end of humanity as we know it.

Actually, in the 5 years since his game show win, Watson has evolved into a worthy assistant to humans in many aspects!
His cognitive skills allow him to make ever smarter, more helpful suggestions, much to our benefit.

Watson is world leading in his technical capability to organize unstructured data, understand complex questions and present answers and solutions! He is a thinking computer.

The demonstration at the Cognitive Bar in Austin explained it clearly.
Patrons arriving at the bar make a few, easy decisions: current mood, location and a list of your favorite ingredients.
A memory chip stores the information.
The patron proceeds to the bar as usual where human bartenders are ready to serve.
"Watson Twist" takes the guessing game out of the menu options.
The Patron swipes the microchip across a reader. Watson Twist spits out the perfect recipe for the most satisfying drink. The bartender puts it together.

Attending journalists were thrilled. The drinks often contained unexpected, yet delicious, new concoctions. New, completely customized cocktails were offered to every patron.

While this is fun and a nice event app entertainment angle, Watson can actually achieve a lot more in Food & Beverage.

Back in 2014 IBM brought the first cognitive food truck to SXSW.
Watson was programmed to analyze food related tweets - and create new recipes based on current favorites to feed festival goers.

In April of 2015 Chef Watson released its first cook book. 65 recipes conceived by the super computer and a team of American chefs that were produced by Watson's ability to extract facts from millions of pages of literature and draw relationships between them. This allowed it to produce a database of recipes, dish types, cooking styles, human psychology, and taste preferences, along with feedback and oversight from chefs and diners, and from that, create new dishes.

The next important step will come by combining Watson's culinary skills with Watson's extensive health care knowledge.

In 2013 IBM partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering to develop Watson's oncology data base.

Watson for Oncology has an advanced ability to analyze the meaning and context of structured and unstructured data in clinical notes and reports, easily assimilating key patient information written in plain English that may be critical to selecting a treatment pathway.
By combining attributes from the patient’s file with clinical expertise, external research, and data, Watson for Oncology identifies potential treatment plans for a patient. This means doctors can consider the treatment options provided by Watson when making decisions for individual patients.
Watson ranks identified treatment options and provides links to supporting evidence for each option to help oncologists as they consider treatment options for their patient. Watson for Oncology draws from an impressive corpus of information, including MSK curated literature and rationales, as well as over 290 medical journals, over 200 textbooks, and 12 million pages of text. Watson for Oncology also supplies for consideration supporting evidence in the form of administration information, as well as warnings and toxicities for each drug.

Combining Health and Food is the logical next step.
Watson is a cloud based API. Developers are invited to participate in the development of new Watson-based apps.

Nutrino already developed Watson based apps, available in your app store, that will guide you through very personal, customized diet choices.
Yaron Hadad, Nutrino's co-founder and Chief Science Officer, calls this the "Nutrition Revolution".

At this time, 100 iOS based Watson apps are available. Many assist in customer relations.
Take the Passenger+ iOS app for SAS, Scandanvia's largest airline, for example. Flight attendants can quickly view a passenger's past preferences and purchases to offer more of what the flyer might want or need during travel before they even ask.

We can envision the event where our attendees answer a few questions about mood, health, food likes and dislikes and allergies to get equipped with their very customized microchip that will guide their choices at the restaurant stations or allow Watson to create a fresh new, totally custom dish on the spot. We will still have chefs to whip it up! At least for now. 

It's not all just serious and cerebral.
Princess Leia and IBM have teamed up to support Bots in this brand new cognitive world with "Coping With Humans".

Oh yes, it is a brand new world.

Have a wonderful week!

Sources: IBM, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Nutrino, 

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Amazing Motivational Value of The Haka Dance

The haka is traditionally a war dance performed by Maori ancestors before going into battle to show their fearless commitment to win. They performed knowing they were facing death and had no choice but to fully commit. We certainly hope that guests at our corporate events do not face such dire possibilities. However, the haka is a great tool to motivate and unite as we learned from New Zealand's rugby team. Recently a client energized the opening of a General Session with our custom haka.

The Event: an annual sales meeting of a large, nationwide American company.
Our Tasks: we produced several events, ranging from Opening Session to General Sessions to finally the Awards Night.
Guest Count: 700
The Theme: ONE.
The Purpose: this meeting had to motivate, encourage, energize and - most of all - UNITE!

Internationally renowned author, speaker and business consultant James Kerr was the natural choice as opening session keynote speaker. James Kerr had extraordinary access to the most winning athletic team in the history of the sports world: New Zealand's national rugby team, the famous All Blacks. As a result of his immersion into All Black culture, James Kerr authored the bestseller "Legacy", applying the All Blacks' recipe for success to the business world.

James Kerr discusses his own insights into the All Black culture:

"I discovered that being the best in the world is about more than just technique. That rugby like business and like life is a game played primarily in the mind."

What makes the All Blacks such a successful team, and what is their competitive advantage?  What could this team teach us about leadership?

"A values-based, purpose driven culture is a foundation of the All Blacks' approach and sustained success… In fact, in answer to the question, 'What is the All Blacks' competitive advantage?' key is the ability to manage their culture and central narrative by attaching the players' personal meanings to a higher purpose. It is the identity of the team that matters – not so much what the All Blacks do, but who they are, what they stand for, and why they exist."

Thinking as ONE has turned the All Blacks into rugby World Champions and the most winning team of all times, with an unbelievable 86% winning record.

Let's use this technique in business!

We demonstrated ONE  by inviting volunteer employees to join the traditional All Black haka ritual, Ka Mata.
The All Black perform this haka before every international rugby encounter. It is said to strengthen their resolve while it intimates the opponent. Watch them in action last October at the beginning of their match against France! Yes, they won!

You wonder how they did? The score: 62-13 for All Blacks!

Our version of the Ka Mate Haka. The interactive sequence ended the Opening Session on the highest note!

EW Haka Dance from EventWorks on Vimeo.

The Preparation: two weeks before the event we sent an instructional video and the Ka Mate text to our fearless dancers for private practice.
We only had a one-hour group rehearsal with the proferssional haka leader and our group on the afternoon before the opening session.

The Reaction: the audience was completely surprised as this part of the program had been kept completely secret. They loved their colleagues' courage to perform on stage and their commitment to become warriors on behalf of the whole team.

It opened guests' minds to the possibility of "ONE".

We are happy to say that we always feel as ONE:
Ian Seeberg – Content Producer & Writer
Kristen Rensch – Associate/Line Producer
Ted Bowers – Executive Producer
Greg Holford – Creative Director

We are grateful for the opportunity to work on such uplifting, positive and encouraging events! Thank you to our client!

Happy to note that today is the first day of Spring!

Wishing you a positive week!

Monday, March 14, 2016

This "Snowbird" Love Story Will Melt Your Heart!

How far will you travel to see family and friends?
Miles and miles.
Humans, apparently, are not the only ones who love togetherness. 
Our friend Dianne Budlon Devitt sent us this wonderful, heart warming story about a very unusual friendship between a penguin and an elderly man.

Brazilian biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski reports:

Four years ago, Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, found a South American Magellanic penguin covered in oil and starving on a beach on an island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. A friendship was born. 

Since they met in 2011, the creature, which normally breeds on the Patagonia coasts of Argentina and Chile, three to five thousand miles away, has become a faithful companion, swimming every year from its habitat to spend up to eight months living with the retired fisherman in his house on the island.

“I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,” said Mr Pereira de Souza in an interview with Globo TV, in which the bird honks with delight as he recognizes his human friend. “No one else is allowed to touch him. He pecks them if they do. He lays on my lap, lets me give him showers, allows me to feed him sardines and to pick him up,” said Mr Pereira who has named the penguin Dindim.

Mr Pereira de Souza believes Dindim formed a bond with him after he found it stranded on the beach and took him home. Over a week he cleaned the creature’s tarred feathers in the shower, fed him a daily diet of fish to improve his strength then took him back to the sea to let him go.

“But he wouldn’t leave, he stayed with me for 11 months and then just after he changed his coat with new feathers he disappeared,” recalled Mr Pereira de Souza. “Everyone said he wouldn’t return but he has been coming back to visit me for the past four years. He arrives in June and leaves to go home in February and every year he becomes more affectionate as he appears even happier to see me.”

Biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski, who interviewed Mr Pereira de Souza:
“I have never seen anything like this before. I think the penguin believes Joao is part of his family and probably a penguin as well. When he sees him he wags his tail like a dog and honks with delight.”

Luckily the ending for Mr Pereira de Souza and Dindim has been a happy one, even though it is illegal in Brazil to keep wild animals as pets.

Prof Krajewski said: “Professionals who work with animals try to avoid relationships like this occurring so they are able to reintroduce the animal into the wild. But in this isolated case the authorities allowed Dindim to stay with Joao because of his kindness.”

“I’m flattered Dindim is happy to exchange his home with thousands of other penguins every year to find his way here to spend one-to-one time with me,” said Mr Pereira de Souza. “It’s a very special relationship.”


In a time of daily disheartening news we are grateful for this reminder that the world can be truly wonderful.

St. Patrick's is just 4 days away. Get out your green and celebrate, Irish or not. 🍀

Wishing you a great week!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Meet JDivine, Clean Rapper, Hard Working Millennial

While we are on the subject of millennials:
Thank you for all your feedback last week!
We agree: there are positives!
One example:
Meet Rapper JDivine, aka Josh Sunwall.
Student and young rapper, very hard at work to launch his musical career.

We met JDivine recently when he presented us with a smart, clean, clever rap song, custom-written specifically for the opening sequence of an annual sales conference. We were intrigued and checked him out more thoroughly. It is a pleasure to present, Live from Fayetteville, Arkansas: Josh Sunwall - Rapper JDivine.

Josh hails from a musical family.

Josh: "My father Kaleb and my grandmother are both great piano players. My father also writes songs. Apparently even my great grandmother was a passionate musician. However, they did not pursue music as a career. I don't play any instruments very well but I started writing lyrics at a very young age.
When I first started writing, I was writing poetry, which wasn't something many young boys took pride in. I would write in a notebook and not really share it with anybody. I spent some of my spare time going through my dad's old CD binders listening to all the songs he once played at parties and ceremonies. I stumbled upon the rap/hip-hop section of his binders and found myself constantly listening to artists like Nelly, Ludacris, Andre 3000 (with OutKast), Nas, and Eminem. Although these possibly weren't the best influences on a young kid, I heard how all these artists could portray a story of their lives and articulate their feelings in collaboration with this rhythm; it was the perfect match!
Nowadays I process my life experiences in music. Music is the medium for what I want to say. There is one constant, I stay away from cussing and negativity. I grew up in the Trinity Assembly of God Church and I hope to inspire listeners. I am not a Christian Rapper but I want my raps to reflect who I am. I want to stay true to my values and myself.
My recent video is based on a personal experience. I wrote Stuck on You because I experienced a heartbreak. The song paints a picture of my soul at the time."

Josh has the support of his family.
His father Kaleb Sunwall:
"Josh had a passion for music, specifically rap, at an early age.  At the age of 11 or 12, he was writing lyrics and raps routinely; it seemed like daily!  I think it was on his 13th birthday that I bought him a microphone and music software for his computer. Within a few short weeks, he compiled his first song. It wasn’t long and he was collaborating with friends, he studied his favorite rappers like Drake, and began to mimic and learn from their talent. Over time, Josh has refined his lyrics and musical insights into some great music….and his passion for the art of rap is heard in his choice of words, themes, convictions, and behaviors.  What I am most proud of is Josh continuing to strive for higher ground…always working to perfect a verse or chorus, and his conviction to not be so “mainstream” makes me smile.  The absence of profanity and demeaning lyrics in his music is noticeable, and for me, a refreshing take on the rap scene.  While a few of his friends in his collaboration over the years haven't stuck to the same principles, I do believe Josh’s conviction to be who he is, and not someone else, is a light in a dark place. Josh’s take on “Pound Cake” is one of his strongest performances in his lyrics and challenge to the rap mainstream, as you get inside his head and heart to hear the real passion in his lyrics. I’ve been a musician for the majority of my life, albeit not a rapper, but I pray Josh continues to pursue his dreams and personal goals to share his music with the world."                      

Thanks to social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and SoundCloud, Josh is well on his way! Not quite 22 and pursuing a Bachelor Degree with a Major in Marketing and a Minor in Management, Josh is that new breed of artist who has a clear vision of what he wishes to achieve and gets the education necessary to take charge of his destiny. Gone are the days of Sex and Drugs and Rock'n Roll. In 2016, it is all about focus on and control over his chosen path.
"I really want to perform live, keep recording and use my business and marketing education to run a music business and recording studio, not just for myself but others as well".

Josh is available for corporate events as a lyricist for customized, energizing raps as well as a performer. We are happy to bring him to your event!

Wishing you a fabulous week!