March 10, 2008 | Mark Paradies

The Reason the TapRooT® Summit is the Meeting to Attend in 2008




cross-cultural networking.

Have you ever heard the term “Knowledge Broker“?

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In his book Mastering the Art of Creative Collaboration (1997, McGraw-Hill Book Company), Robert Hargrove claims that the most valuable person in any industry is a “Knowledge Broker“.

Knowledge Brokers are people who know enough about an industry to learn the best practices and also know enough about a second industry to show that industry how they could apply the best practices from the first industry to improve performance at their facility in a different industry.

This is “lessons learned” on a cross-industry basis. And being “Knowledge Brokers” is what we do at System Improvements.

The TapRooT® Summit (June 25-27 in Las Vegas) is your chance to become Knowledge Broker at your company and bring exciting, effective, new ideas to improve performance back to your workplace.

How exactly does this work?

Let me explain by use of an example.

Let’s say that you were a Safety Manager at an industrial manufacturing plant (you make left-handed widgets). You’ve had several nagging safety problems that also face others in the widget industry. You’ve been to the standard industry safety meeting and even the big cross-industry safety meetings but none of the sessions you attended provided any new ideas to help you solve your problem.

That’s what happens to people who are NOT Knowledge Brokers. They don’t have access to practices outside their discipline and outside their industry.

How does the TapRooT® Summit fix this?

It is an improvement conference based on cross-industry, cross-professional-discipline, cross-cultural networking.

Let’s attack these “cross” ideas one at a time.

1. Cross-Professional-Discipline

In the example above, safety people at the mega-safety conference are taking to other safety people. They are in the same profession. Therefore, there is no cross-professional-discipline networking. That’s why you hear the same ideas over-and-over again at these types of conferences – everyone is coming from the same point of view – the same profession.

I’m not trying to knock the mega-conferences in any profession. They are great way to find out what is going on INSIDE the profession. I’m just pointing out a fact. They are rather incestuous (be it a safety, quality, human factors, industrial engineering, healthcare risk management, or other professional society conference). If you attend the same conference two or three years in a row, you start to say … “I’ve heard that before.”

What types of “professions” will be represented at the TapRooT® Summit?

Here’s a sample of previous year’s participant’s professions and the professions of speakers at this years Summit…

Professional Background 2008 Speakers:
Rail Safety
Nuclear Safety/Operations
Military Aviation
Olympic Sports
Industrial Safety
Nuclear Regulation
Mining Management
Aviation Manufacturing
Equipment Reliability Improvement
Mine Safety
Management Education
Anesthesiology & Medical Error Prevention
Management Consulting
Patient Safety
IT Performance Improvement
Equipment Troubleshooting
Oil Industry Safety
Performance Measurement
Utility Safety
Risk Management
Industrial Engineering
Operational Excellence
Human Factors
Aviation Safety
Submarine Operations and Engineering Management
Fatigue and Shiftwork Management
Environmental Consulting
Fire Protection
Electrical Engineering
Six Sigma/Lean

Professional Background 2007 Participants:

Construction Safety
Construction Management
Performance Measurement Research
DOE Safety
Process Safety Management
Oil Production Safety
Oil Drilling Management
Industrial Safety
Fire Protection
Semiconductor Manufacturing
Utility Safety
Petrochemicals Manufacturing
Mining Management
Mine Safety
Instrumentation Engineering
Human Factors Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Nuclear Engineering
Environmental Consulting
Risk Management
Nuclear Safety
Fertilizer Manufacturing
Training Management
Explosives Safety
Petrochemical Operations
Utility Transmission & Distribution Maintenance
Equipment Troubleshooting/Engineering
Patient Safety
Military Aviation
Site Security
Operational Excellence
Operations Management
Maintenance Management
Quality Assurance
Emergency Management
Quality Management
Maintenance Scheduling
Petrochemical Purchasing
Aviation Maintenance Safety
IT Improvement
Food Safety
Gas Operations Management
Pharmaceutical Quality
Petrochemical Engineering
Submarine Operations & Engineering Management
Financial Management
Flight Safety
Environmental Safety
Public Safety
Hospital Management
Management Consulting
Equipment Reliability Consulting
Manufacturing Management
MIS Project Management
Aviation Maintenance

That’s an impressive amount of cross-profession networking opportunity! And that’s why you will hear ideas and best practices that are NEW because they come from outside your profession.

2. Cross-Industry

Next “cross” topic is cross-industry networking.

For example, the nuclear industry has several “inside-the-industry” conferences that cross professional boundaries but don’t provide opportunities to look outside the industry. Again, these “inside-the-industry” conferences become incestuous – everyone is looking at things from the same industry perspective.

What types of “industries” will be represented at the TapRooT® Summit?

Here’s a sample of previous year’s participant’s industries and the industries of speakers at this years Summit:

Military Aviation
Olympic Sports
Rail Transportation
Utility (Nuclear Power)
Public Speaking
Management Consulting
Equipment Consulting
Oil Exploration & Production
Utility (Transmission & Distribution)
Food Production
Natural Gas
Submarine Operations
Equipment Reliability Consulting
Aviation Manufacturing
Petrochemical/Chemical Manufacturing
Pipeline Transportation
Semiconductor Manufacturing
Utility (Coal/Gas/Hydro Power Generation)
Gas Processing
Financial Consulting
Contract Maintenance

That’s an impressive cross-industry representation! And that’s why you will hear ideas and best practices that are NEW because they come from outside your industry.

3. Cross-Cultural

One of the surprising parts of the TapRooT® Summit is the amount of international representation. Here are the counties represented at the 2007 Summit:

New Zealand
Saudi Arabia
South Africa

For a conference of 250 people, that’s a lot of cross-cultural representation. And we expect even more cross-cultural representation in 2008! And that’s why you will hear new best practices that you haven’t considered because they come from outside your CULTURE!


4. One-on-One Networking

The other problem with any mega-conference is this…

Even if there are 10,000 attendees, how many do you actually meet?

And when a speaker stops talking and asks for questions, do you get a chance to ask yours? Do you get a chance to talk one-on-one with the speaker?

That’s where the smaller venue of the TapRooT® Summit comes in.

Plus, we have devised ways to help you meet new people both inside and outside your industry. And we make this networking fun!


You will have to attend the Summit to see how this works. But you will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of new friends you make at the TapRooT® Summit. And that is a big part of any networking meeting.

This is your chance to become the most valuable employee at your company – a Knowledge Broker with creative ideas to improve performance that you gain by on-on-one cross-industry, cross-professional-discipline, cross-cultural networking at the TapRooT® Summit.

Register by visiting:

And one more reminder. If you want to be even more innovative when you return to work, consider taking the Innovation and Creative Thinking class being held on June 23-25 before the Summit.

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