The Agile CULTURE Conference: Managing in the 21st Century

NOTE: These are the historical 1st event, held in Philly & Boston with a bus connecting the cities. Looking for the 2014 event in Boston?  The June 26-27 2014 event is located here.


Event Photos |  Open Space Proceedings  |  The Origin Story

The Agile CULTURE Conference is your one stop for identifying tools and techniques you can use today to raise levels of engagement, generate innovation, and develop more productivity and FREEDOM AT WORK. You exit this conference with everything you need to know and understand the forces shaping the workplaces of the next century.

The Agile CULTURE Conference is the place for executives, directors, managers, and teams. It’s the place for those who recognize that the CULTURE of your organization is what drives customer engagement, high productivity, and job satisfaction. If you work in a corporation and are looking for tools and techniques to “level up” the culture in your workplace, THIS IS YOUR CONFERENCE.


Wednesday, September 12, Philadelphia, PA

Your Keynotes? HARRISON OWEN , the father of Open Space !!

And Traci Fenton, Jim McCarthy and more !

Friday, September 14, in Boston MA

Your keynotes? DAVE LOGAN , co-author of the New York Times Best-Seller, TRIBAL LEADERSHIP !!

And Traci Fenton (CEO WorldBlu)…

And Jim McCarthy (author, SOFTWARE FOR YOUR HEAD)

Learn MORE about the Philly event and Agile Philly here

NOTE: The two events are connected by an awesome PARTY BUS that shuttles speakers from Philadelphia to Boston on September 13. We plan to pick up people up along the way!! The Agile CULTURE Conference is about freedom– “freedom at work”. This is why the conference is held in the two cities most associated with FREEDOM: Philadelphia and Boston.

Please consider the generous sponsors of the [agile CULTURE Conference]:

   Culture Blueprint



  • Executives who are responsible for increasing productivity and profits
  • HR Professionals who are charged with increasing the level of employee engagement at work, as well as retaining in-house expertise and talent
  • Managers who have authority to hire and fire employees, and convene meetings
  • Project Managers responsible for completing projects with results that delight customers and upper management
  • Team members who build software and other complex products
  • Corporate Employees who want more from work than they are currently receiving








The Agile CULTURE Conference is the place to learn concepts, tools and techniques that can dramatically increase the health and well-being of your organization. Attend to explore:

Passion: There is lots of data that shows people are disengaged at work. Come to this event to learn how to re-ignite engagement and passion in your company.

Productivity: Doing more with less is not as easy at it looks. Attend this conference to discover the true source of lasting productivity, and then apply these techniques back at work.

Profits: People or profit? It is time to start thinking about what your organization is optimizing on first. People create profit. By optimizing on people, you can often make MORE profit after a brief delay. Attend this event to learn now.

Agile Culture Tools: The speakers at this conference are leaders in the building of tools and techniques you can use to upgrade your company culture, away from problems, and towards vibrant health. Attend this conference event to identify, learn about and deploy these tools.

Engagement: People at work who are making choices, making decisions and learning are by definition engaged. Engaged people are a major source of energy and innovation. Attend this event to learn how tap into the power of engagement.

Agile Culture Techniques: Many “culture hacking” tools do not cost a dime. Instead, using them requires you to have genuine intention to being improvement to the way your organization learns. You exit this conference with a set of techiques you can put to work tomorrow in your workplace.

Agile Frameworks: Attend this conference to discover proven organizational frameworks that can be applied to increase productivity and results inside your teams, department and entire organization.

Agile Community: Attend this conference to deeply connect with peers and colleagues who share your keen interest in “leveling up” the organization that you work in.



Agile Day in Boston Open Space; Open Space Session Dan LeFebvre



  • You have complete job security
  • Your direct reports are perfectly happy at work
  • Everyone one you know at work is 100% engaged
  • You are OK working long hours, nights and weekends
  • Everything is beautiful at work, and absolutely nothing hurts





We have a full day planned for you including great keynote, essential sessions, breakouts, an amazing lunch and an Open Space event with space for up to 36 sessions !

0900AM Keynote: Dave Logan, author TRIBAL LEADERSHIP

0930AM Keynote: Traci Fenton, CEO, WorldBlu on FREEDOM AT WORK

1000AM Keynote: Jim McCarthy, co-author of Core Protocols and book, SOFTWARE FOR YOUR HEAD

1030AM COFFEE and BIO BREAK (15 minutes)



1115AM COFFEE AND BIO BREAK (10 minutes)

11:25AM Breakouts Part 2: THREE BREAKOUT SESSIONS.



0100PM OPEN SPACE Opening Ceremonies. (NOTE: If you are new to Open Space, get ready for a great time ! Learn more here.)

0200PM Open Space Sessions (up to 12 sessions at once,  45 minutes duration )

0245PM Open Space Sessions (up to 12 sessions at once,  45 minutes duration )

0330PM Open Space Sessions (up to 12 sessions at once,  45 minutes duration )

0415PM Open Space Closing Ceremonies

0445PM Culture Conference Completed


The Open Space Closing Circle, Agile Day in Boston 2011









PICTURE: The Open Space Segment; Closing Ceremonies








Dave Logan

Dave Logan‘s ideas have permeated worldwide business culture since the publication of his book, TRIBAL LEADERSHIP. Dave Logan is the founder and CEO of CultureSync and a professor of the graduate Marshall School of Business at USC. Dave has appeared on CNN, FOX and CBS news. Dave co-founded CultureSync in 1997, co-authored four books, including the New York Times #1 bestseller Tribal Leadership, and The Three Laws of Performance. Dave’s been on the faculty at the USC Marshall School of Business since 1996, and spent four years as associate dean. His Ph.D. is in organizational communication from the Annenberg School at USC.  Most of his time is spent with CultureSync, which is a tribe of consultants, researchers, and coaches dedicated to one thing: giving every person on the planet the opportunity to join a “vital tribe.” Such tribes are rare—less than 2%, and they create the innovations that change the world. If tribes sync their culture with their strategy, structure, and systems, then anything is possible.






Traci Fenton

Traci Fenton, CEO, WorldBlu. WorldBlu promotes freedom at work throughout the world with seminars, conference events and certifications. Traci is the founder of WorldBlu and the author of the upcoming book FREEDOM AT WORK, chronicling the story of WorldBlu and WorldBlu- certified organizations.


Traci Fenton’s AM keynote session: FREEDOM AT WORK

Business as usual, characterized by an omnipotent CEO, layers of management, and closed-door deal-making is officially becoming a recipe for failure in the new world of work. At a time when the Internet makes everybody a somebody, where speed is king, and where Generations X & Y are increasingly taking the leadership helm, businesses all over the world must radically rethink the way they are designed and operated.

In this new world, the most successful companies are practicing organizational democracy as a key to their competitive advantage – a disciplined yet freedom-centered strategy for fully engaging employees, tapping their potential, sparking innovation, and building trust.Sharing best practices and stories from the companies featured on the groundbreaking WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces™, such as and drawing from almost two decades of research into successful democratic companies around the world, Traci will shares secrets to building a world-class freedom-centered (rather than fear-based) workplace.

Along the way she will challenge audiences to rethink their assumptions about what organizational democracy actually is and explain with spirit and insight why having more freedom at work is the best way to attract top talent, boost the bottom-line, and reinvent your workplace for business in a Democratic Age.




Michele McCarthy co-wrote “Software For Your Head,” 2001, Addison-Wesley, and the 2006 edition of “Dynamics of Software Development,” by Microsoft Press. Beginning in 1990, Michele worked at Microsoft as a program manager on five projects, establishing a reputation for shipping on time. Jim McCarthy met Michele and encouraged her to move to the Visual C++ group where she began innovating in the area of team dynamics.

While at Microsoft, Michele reached many of the insights that led she and Jim to leave Microsoft and create McCarthy Technologies, Inc. She is responsible for the development of many of the team formation concepts McCarthy Technologies practices and teaches today. Michele has brought her team efficiency skills to bear on the McCarthy BootCamps and the subsequent development of The Core Protocols. She is currently the primary instructor at McCarthy BootCamps around the world, the primary consultant to McCarthy Technologies’ clients, and co-hosts The McCarthy Show podcast with Jim. Her passion is transforming groups of executives into true teams and advising high potential leaders.

Online, you can: listen to McCarthy podcasts, and read “Software for your Head”, and read The Core Protocols, and investigate the work of Michele and Jim McCarthy here.




Jim McCarthyJim McCarthy led the creation one of the great Microsoft teams, the Visual C++ team. Jim wrote Dynamics of Software Development from Microsoft Press (1995, 2006). His approach and observations formed the basis of Microsoft Solutions Framework and were a catalyst for and a progenitor of the Extreme and Agile programming movements. Jim partners with his wife, Michele McCarthy, to run McCarthy Technologies, Inc., which provides technology, training and consulting that enables organizations and teams to consistently generate the greatest possible results. The key to these results is an innovative, proprietary technology called “The Core”. It encapsulates and makes accessible the best interpersonal collaboration technology currently available and has been thoroughly researched, tested, and applied over the past 15 years. Just as Jim’s earlier approaches contributed to Microsoft’s successful culture, and ultimately helped give rise to the XP and Agile movements, his current research into The Core is poised to help a new generation of organizations achieve their highest potential.

Jim and Michele’s AM Keynote Session:



A culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that both describes and shapes a group. Our era is increasingly characterized by an emergent “software culture.” Not only is software itself creating much of our global wealth, but the unique challenges of creating our software have demanded wholly new types of engineered corporate culture from us. In response to the demands of software, various high tech development disciplines have been articulated and “packaged up.” We have created several seminal management “movements” (such as Agile, Scrum, XP, etc.). These movements represent the birth of culture engineering and, although they are in and of themselves significant, they are very primitive compared to what will soon follow.

Culture hacking is itself a distinct kind of culture engineering, and is faithful to the particular hacker ethos that originated in the world of software hacking. Good culture hacking will tend to protect personal freedom, extend openness, embody rationality and promote culture design elegance. Culture hacking takes into account the limits and uses of authority, is skeptical of incoherent institutional power, and is subversive of it. As our many cultures become increasingly (and fruitfully) hacked, we will likely grow enormously in effectiveness, and ambition.

A common platform for hosting cultural innovations will become available and standardized, leading to enormous personal and collective cultural and production gains. Happily, such rich and desirable productivity gains will be contingent upon culturally designed nobility of purpose, and a potent and virtuous cycle will thereby kick in.

This cycle will lead to an era of widespread and abundant greatness, an era of unparalleled magnificence.





Daniel Mezick

Daniel Mezick teaches business agility. He  coaches executives and their organizations in self-management techniques. Dan delivers Agile courses, seminars and consulting to organizations of all sizes in the USA.

He is an invited speaker to conferences such as the  Self-Management Symposium. His clients include Zappos Insights, Orpheus Orchestra and some of the most agile organizations in the New England region and the USA.

Dan is a software patent holder, with a history of hacking software, systems and culture. His latest book the THE CULTURE GAME identifies 16 patterns of team behavior any organization can use, right now, to increase levels of passion, productivity and profit at work. The book is a tutorial and reference guide to “culture hacking” in organizations of all sizes.


Question: Are the meetings you attend at work often “soul sucking death marches from hell”? If so, this is your session.

Attend this session to discover how to make your meetings productive and fun through the intentional design and implementation of good-game mechanics.

Meetings provide a unique opportunity to engage in some cultural design and implementation. You’ll learn how specific, very small changes in the way you structure your meetings can increase levels of engagement, productivity, learning and fun. A framework for action with specific steps and guidance from The Culture Game book will be presented. You exit this session with a specific action plan for taking your meetings to the next level by injecting some culture design and implementation inside your meetings. What you will learn:

  • How to structure your meeting for higher engagement, fun and productivity
  • How to influence the culture of your organization by influencing how meetings are conducted
  • Why you must inject good-game mechanics into every meeting you convene
  • A-B-C guidance on how to employ gaming and happiness mechanics to make your meetings great



Tobias MayerTobias Mayer, Agile Agitator, anarchist, experimenter, and reformer,  Tobias is a genuine thought leader in the Agile software development community. He is the consummate “culture hacker”. Outspoken and convicted, he delivers Agile learning and consulting in the US and Europe. He is a facilitator, educator and independent consultant with a successful record of guiding both major companies and start-ups to more agile, self-organized and compassionate ways of working. A self-educated high school dropout with a background in software development, community education, personal development, technical theatre, creative writing, and graphic design, Tobias brings an unusual mix of ideas and experiences to bear. His workshops and presentations are invitations to explore rather than expert opinion, with the intent always to disturb the equilibrium and inspire different ways of thinking.

AM Breakout Session: Release Into Solutions– the Theory

In this session I’ll talk about Release as a key foundation for self-organization, collaboration and creativity. Drawing on ideas from Lee Devin and Rob Austin’s work “Artful Making”, and from the fields of theatrical improvisation and complex adaptive systems thinking this session will illustrate the importance of establishing clear goals and boundaries, and then letting go, letting be, and trusting workers to emerge solutions to complex problems. The suggestions in this talk have all been implemented in various forms at both large and small corporations, with very positive results.

Open Space Session: Release Into Solutions — the Practice

This session will be a physical, playful exploration of the ideas presented earlier in the breakout talk of the same name. Through two simple—non-threatening—exercises the participants will experience the difference between control and release, and thus will sense first-hand how an approach of letting go and trusting creates an environment of excitement, engagement and creativity. The latter part of the session will be dedicated to the practical application of these ideas in the context if the participants’ respective work environments.




John Buck is an expert in organizational and governance frameworks. He is the co-author or WE THE PEOPLE, the definitive book on sociocracy, a framework for organizing larger teams, departments and divisions. John advises Agile Boston, the conference organizer,  in the use of sociocracy and circle governance. He travels the world consulting to businesses and non-profits on the use of sociocracy, the collaborative framework for group governance.






Dan LeFebvre is the founder of DCL Agility, LLC, a provider of agile and Scrum coaching, training, and transition services. He is a Certified Scrum Coach with over twenty years in software product development as a developer, manager, director, and coach. He has been applying agile practices to successfully deliver products since 2003.

Dan helps software engineering organizations improve quality and productivity. After successfully delivering software products in diverse industries, he has developed a strong passion for helping organizations create great products and teams.

Dan has experience coaching Agile in Massachusetts, Atlanta, Chicago, Oregon, Montreal, British Columbia, Belgium and India. Dan holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Boston University, is a Certified Scrum Master, Certified Scrum Professional, and the first Certified Scrum Coach in New England.

John Buck & Dan LeFebvre’s AM Breakout Session:


Behind the “Agile Manifesto” is a set of principles. One of them states, “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.” This works great with small, focused teams on small projects. So why is it when you need to deliver a medium to large sized program we tend to build structures and processes that are more directive? We have architecture teams that tell teams how to build software. We have managers, team leads, and technical leads driving the work. There is little guidance on scaling agile. There are books and ideas out there (“Scrum of Scrums”, Scaled Agile Framework, Integration Scrum teams) but none have delivered reliable results. These techniques often reduce the sense of collaboration and agility as the programs get larger. Decisions feel more autocratic; teams have a lower sense of control and happiness. This session will describe an organizational method that uniquely combines good business practices with the principles of cybernetics and systems thinking to deliver a decision-making mechanism that maintains self-organization at scale. This leads to better decisions that are biased toward action and stick.


Robert Richman
Robert Richman is a culture architect and author of The Culture Blueprint. Previously he launched and built Zappos Insights, the Zappos Family company dedicated to helping businesses with their cultures. As an intrapreneur within, Robert built the business model from a proof of a concept web site, to a thriving multi-million dollar business helping over 1000 people every month.  Business leaders, managers and entrepreneurs now take the Zappos Insights training to discover how a workplace can help people grow, inspire amazing service, and ultimately drive revenue. Previous to joining Zappos, Robert developed digital marketing strategies for brands including Tony Robbins, Sony, Billboard, and best-selling business authors. Robert co-founded the Affinity Lab, a collaborative workspace for entrepreneurs that continues to graduate over 150 businesses in Washington, DC. He is also a Georgetown-trained leadership coach, delivers keynote speeches on company culture, and advises leaders how to create self-sustaining cultures in their own organizations.


Robert Richman’s AM Breakout Session: The Culture Blueprint
Everyone talks about “engagement” in the workplace. But what is it? And how does it work?  After spending three years studying and working with hundreds of companies looking to replicate their model, Robert developed the Culture Blueprint to explain how the best cultures in the world retain top talent, even when they pay less than competitors.  Come learn how the model works, as well as specific techniques you can use immediately.




Michael MargolisMichael Margolis teaches change-makers how to tell a bigger story. As the founder of Get Storied, he leads a global education platform with 11,000 members who care about transformational storytelling and game-changing innovation. The son of an inventor and artist, Michael is obsessed with culture, communications, and human behavior. Michael began his career as a social entrepreneur, co-founding two nonprofits before the age 23. He works with a range of clients including Audubon, NASA, Ernst & Young, and Zappos. His work and ideas have also been featured in Fast Company, Brandweek, and Storytelling Magazine. A frequent writer, Michael’s latest book Believe Me: a Storytelling Manifesto for Change-Makers and Innovators, has been read by 10,000 people. Michael is left handed, color-blind, and eats more chocolate than the average human. His TV guilty pleasures are Celebrity Rehab, Millionaire Matchmaker, and Ancient Aliens. You can learn more at or follow him @getstoried.


Michael Margolis’ AM Breakout Session: Storytelling as an Organizational Capability

What are the key story-telling skills to drive innovation? You have a lot at stake inside your organization. If you’re a change-agent, you need to communicate your ideas and initiatives with greater effectiveness. Especially since culture is predisposed to resist any change. The role of culture is to ensure stability and order. Which is why storytelling provides such transformational portal. If you want to learn about a culture, you listen to the stories. If you want to change a culture, you change the stories.  In this session, we’ll explore storytelling principles for change-makers and how to work at the DNA-level of culture design and co-creation.



Doug KirkpatrickDoug Kirkpatrick is a leader of the Self Management Institute sponsored by MorningStarCo. Morning Star was recently the subject of a study on self-organization that appeared in the HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW. Doug is a management consultant and delivers coaching, training, and business consulting services.  He lives in Northern California with his family, where he also educates, writes, interviews, speaks and blogs with the Morning Star Self-Management Institute.  He is the author of Beyond Empowerment: The Age of the Self-Managed Organization, published in 2011 and available on Amazon at





Paul GreenPaul Green Jr. as colleague at MorningStarCo, a company that implements freedom at work through implementing self-management practices. Paul also directs research, training, program development and  strategy at the Self-Management Institute of Sacramento, CA.

Paul developed a deep interest in management and organizations while building a business that he founded with a partner in Central California.  He realized that a few subtle tweaks to the rules of organizing can bring about unbelievable benefits within a business, and he set out to build a business that epitomized the effective organization.

Doug and Paul’s AM Breakout Session:

Self-Management: Rocket Fuel for an Organizational Learning; Part 1

An industrial manufacturing company rises to the top of its industry with no human bosses, no designated managers, no titles, no hierarchy, no visible structure, and no unilateral right to fire anyone.  What’s its secret?  The Morning Star Company of Sacramento, California became the world’s largest tomato processor by employing a philosophy of radical self-management.  In an organizational ecosystem devoid of positional authority, self-management demands engagement around a mission, vision and set of principles.  Individuals who become a part of this peer-based network organization step into a world where they must rigorously balance freedom with responsibility, leadership with teamwork, and innovation with execution.  Focused and sustained organizational learning is not optional: the demands of fast-evolving technology require it.  In this session, learn how self-management catalyzes natural leadership, actionable feedback, and distributed learning to drive excellence.

Doug and Paul’s Afternoon Open Space sessions:

Self-Management: Rocket Fuel for an Organizational Learning; Part 2

An organization is merely a concept—a way of thinking about a set of individual human beings who have voluntarily associated with one another around a common purpose.  Organizations are also vehicles that allow people to accomplish far more together than they possibly could on their own.  When people voluntarily associate around a mission, it is imperative that they declare their individual contribution to that mission and set expectations for others regarding that contribution.  The Morning Star Colleague Letter of Understanding (CLOU) defines those expectations while creating a network through which organization learning freely flows.  This session builds on the foundation established in Self-Management Part 1 and explores the territory of the CLOU itself: its purpose, elements and profound benefits for both the enterprise and the people in it.

Self-Management: Accountability, Not Discipline

What does the workplace look like when no one has any command authority—where no one has the power to trigger a process of progressive discipline or a termination?  In a truly self-managed enterprise, no one has any authority to discipline anyone—force is not an option.  In this session, learn how The Morning Star Company created and maintains a system of self-management accountability





Stanley grew up in New Jersey and received his B.A. from Rider University in Trenton. His youth work career began in the early 1970’s at a residential facility for delinquent boys in that city. He then worked for the Youth Services Department in Somerville, MA, for eight years, becoming the director of the department in 1978. During this time, he developed innovative methods for engaging youth in a process of changing their communities for the better–the basis for the current Teen Empowerment Model(R). From 1982 to 1991, Stanley provided consultation in the model to over 35 youth-serving organizations throughout Massachusetts and in Louisville, KY, and Houston, TX. In 1992, he established The Center for Teen Empowerment, Inc. as a nonprofit organization in Boston’s South End/Lower Roxbury.




(NOTE: This book is based on the work of www.TEENEMPOWERMENT.ORG in the inner city of Boston. The book’s “interactives” are social and cultural technology that is proven to bring transformational results to teams, organizations and communities.)

Click here to order the book MOVING BEYOND ICEBREAKERS from TEENEMPOWERMENT.ORG (Ordering here helps!! PLEASE ORDER here, instead of AMAZON !!) This book is arguably one of the greatest resources for culture hackers looking to develop intention cultural designs in teams, organizations and communities.






Heang Ly on Beyond IcebreakersHeang Ly has over Thirteen years of experience leading both youth and adult groups in a variety of settings. She has organized and led teams in schools, non-profits, community groups, and universities. As Director of Consulting and Training at The Center for Teen Empowerment, Heang provides trainings as well as short term and long term technical support to any organization or company interested in using Teen Empowerment’s Moving Beyond Icebreakers interactive approach to leading meetings, facilitating, and managing groups. For more information about the organization’s powerful work in the community, visit Ms. Ly has been with the Center for Teen Empowerment for seven years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, in Psychology and Education as well as a Master’s degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy.




Stanley & Heang’s AM Breakout Session:


To change you culture, you have to get your people learning and interacting.

In this breakout session you’ll experience a few interactives from the book “Moving Beyond Icebreakers” which includes over 300 interactives and how to use them effectively LEVERAGE THEM to achieve group goals, build teams, address difficult issues, and engage communities. Learn how seemingly simple activities can have the power to transform your meetings and your teams. Visit to learn more about the book and the model that we have used for over 25 years in our work to effectively change communities.

NOTE: Stanley & Heang are planning to extend the breakout session into the Open Space in the afternoon, convening sessions that extend your learning of their proven transformational  techniques.



Open Space is a meeting format. It starts with a large circle, where the meeting agenda is created with the help of an expert Facilitator. The Facilitator is authorized by the event  organizer (in this case, Agile Boston) and is a servant of the entire group. This person is responsible for creating an atmosphere of freedom and responsibility. During the opening circle, the agenda for the meeting is formed dynamically by everyone present, with guidance from the Facilitator. (See the picture below).

From there, the sessions are executed by session conveners in small groups. During this conference, you will “meet your tribe”  in small sessions throughout the afternoon. The meeting ends with the Closing Circle and a “soft-landing” in the form of an after-event reception follows!

The presenters listed below are planning to convene Open Space sessions in the afternoon. These sessions are ‘unplugged’, and consist of small groups of less than 30 people for about 1 hour. The convener is responsible for facilitating the conversation, instead of being the only one teaching. Open Space is about collaboration, freedom, responsibility, and inclusion.

Agile Day in Boston Open Space; Open Space Session Dan LeFebvre

Conveners are responsible for seeing to it that proceeding-notes are collected and added to the conference PDF. When you arrive home after the event, s a participant, your email may contain a link to download the Open Space proceedings in PDF format. Your proceedings contain all the notes from all the sessions conducted during the Open Space.

You can learn more about Open Space sessions via this link. Here is a set of links to get you ready for Open Space !




Here is an actual picture of what an Opening Circle of an Open Space looks like: This is the Agile Boston Agile Day in September of 2011:







John E SmithJohn Smith has started several different technology-focused companies, ranging from a consulting services company, which created the world’s first international credit reporting system, to Internet development companies, serving major corporations. John is currently the CTO and Chief Evangelist at SPARC, LLC in Charleston, SC, where he helps guide the company’s technology direction and corporate culture. SPARC won the Best Place to Work in SC in 2011. In June of 2006, John received the honor of being chosen as one of the nation’s top 25 CTO’s by InfoWorld magazine.


Over the last century, the United States has made a switch. Our major competitive advantage is now innovation. This innovation starts with a bet. Companies must be willing to place a bet on culture, and the belief that shifting time, resources, and money into team member happiness and engagement will, ultimately, deliver higher revenue and increase overall profitability. Employee engagement can be the biggest competitive advantage for company success. This session focuses on how culture and engagement can drive the success of your organization. This Engagement Effect can amount to a 20% or more gain in all facets of a business. The presentations demonstrates:

  • How this Engagement Effect can unleash an unprecedented potential for growth,
  • What differentiates the top 100 companies from the others on the Forbes list, and
  • What the return on cultural investment can do for the bottom-line.




Paul-IngallsPaul Ingalls is recently the founder and CEO of FANZO, Inc. where he is building a company of people with intention, who together will change the way people connect around sports. Prior to FANZO, Paul helped found and was CTO of Smilebox, spreading love through photos. At Smilebox, Paul conceived and raised a culture, which grew a team from disparate individuals, which then built a product people love. Prior to Smilebox, Paul built and ran the Extreme Programming team at RealNetworks that created the casual games market with RealArcade. Paul graduated top of his class in Computer Science from the University of Notre Dame. Paul lives in Kirkland, WA with his wife and 3 daughters, whom he serenades to sleep with the Notre Dame fight song.





The Agile Manifesto changed the course of software history. It forced a lot of people to take a look at how they were doing their jobs, and change team culture for the better. Yet, most agile implementations and rollouts fail. The success rates of agile projects may be better than those before, but they are still dismal. What is missing? This talk will cover the elements that are missing from the Agile Manifesto, and will provide real protocols you can use to fill in the gaps missing from agile processes. These protocols can be used regardless of which process you use, because they are about “Individuals & Interactions” not “Processes & Tools”.

Kathryn-AlexanderKathryn Alexander is a culture coach / futurist who shows business leaders how to develop and sustain authentic, creative cultures. Kathryn designed the Birds of a Feather and Strategic Values assessments to help executives better understand the hidden dynamics in culture. Kathryn is: a relationship wizard, seminar leader and, Living from the Heart of Nature: Why Sustainable Values Matter author, is on a quest to guide values-driven leaders to release the wisdom of nature into their organizations. Whether they seek to enter the first stage of sustainability through a wise use of resources, or are moving up and down the value chain in the second stage, or have progressed to the third stage of actually healing the Earth, Kathryn’s insight and expertise helps them create the resilience they need. Selected as Organization of the Year in 2012 by the Boulder Business Women and seen as a Woman to Watch in Sustainable Business by the Boulder Weekly, she works with Fortune 50 and start ups.


OPEN SPACE SESSION from Kathryn Alexander:

CULTURE DESIGN: How hidden beliefs and values impact culture

In this experiential session participants will explore: their own belief and value systems and, in discussion, examine the impact these have on their underlying preferences for order, the kinds of ethics preferred, and leadership style they find most comfortable. Then we will explore how to work with various types of leaders to create a flexible and authentic culture.

The proprietary assessments used in this session have been used for over 15 years, with a new addition recently added to address the shifting needs of companies moving into sustainable business practices. The Birds of a Feather assessment provides insight into world-views that impact leadership and the Strategic Values assessment opens a window into three systems of values that impact leadership style and culture.

Some time is needed to take these assessments and score them using paper and pen or they can be done beforehand (by arrangement) online.



Stephen Shapiro

Stephen Shapiro is one of the foremost authorities on innovation culture and collaboration. Over the past twenty years, his message to hundreds of thousands of people in 43 countries has focused on how to enable innovation by bringing together divergent points of view in an efficient manner.  During a 15-year tenure with the consulting Accenture, he led a 20,000-person innovation practice.  Since branching out on his own in 2001, he has authored five books.  His latest, “Best Practices Are Stupid: 40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition,” was named the best innovation and creativity book of 2011 and was the #1 best selling business book in all of Canada. He is the creator of “Personality Poker,” a card-based system that has been used by tens of thousands of individuals in organizations around the world to create high-performing innovation teams.  He has been featured in Newsweek, Entrepreneur Magazine, O-The Oprah Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and on ABC News.


OPEN SPACE SESSION from Stephen Shapiro:


Creating a culture of innovation requires us to go against everything our brain is wired to do.  We will discuss how to embrace change even when it goes against our biological and neurological survival instincts (hint: change is bad from a survival perspective).

How do we work with people who are different ? (contrary to conventional wisdom, opposites actually repel)

How do we overcome the “expertise is the enemy of innovation” syndrome ? (we are wired to find already known solutions)

How do we slow down to speed up ? (paradoxically, the more we focus on our goals the less likely we are to achieve them)

How do we ask better questions ? (we are wired to quickly jump to solutions)

In this enlightening conversation we will explore how your organization can make innovation a reality by making what is biologically unnatural a natural act.




Eric Steven Raymond, often referred to as ESR, is an American computer programmr, author and open source software advocate. After the 1997 publication of The Cathedral and the Bazaar, Raymond was for a number of years frequently quoted as an unofficial spokesman for the open source movement. In the Fall 1998 he received and published a Microsoft-internal document expressing worry about the quality of rival open-source software. This along with other documents became known as the “Halloween documents”. He became a prominent voice in the Open Source movement and co-founded the Open Source Initiative in 1998.




OPEN SPACE SESSION from Eric Raymond:


The open-source movement is what Dan Mezick calls a “good game”. And didn’t get that way by accident. Eric Raymond, one of its founders, will convene a session about the culture-hacking he had to do and the materials he had to work from to do this.

There may be lessons for would-be culture hackers in other contexts.



This conference is held in the two cities most associated with freedom and democracy in the United States: Philadelphia and Boston. These are tightly coupled events. Both cities share the same theme and many of the same speakers.


The main reason is the tremendous pace of change in business. This change is mandating more agile, more open and more democratic ways of working. People in organizations need new tools to navigate the ever-changing world of work. Centrally planned work structures are giving way to more open and adaptive ways of working. This is the place to pick up the concepts, tools and techniques you can put to work immediately to create a more adaptive, productive, engaged and humane workplace.  This is the conference to attend if you are looking to learn and network with employees of all kinds that are seeking new ways to address change and more deeply engage with others at work in pursuit of profits, passion and purpose.

Morning Keynote and Sessions from Noted Authorities!

We have a fantastic line-up of speakers. You enjoy wonderful keynotes and breakout sessions from noted authorities on self-management, teamwork, and employee engagement. You can expect excellent sessions and deep learning from excellent, authoritative speakers. From them you will learn new ways of thinking and working as you learn more about how culture works.


Lunch is included. But not just any lunch. This is a first-class buffet. Expect to be surprised!

Afternoon Open Space

The afternoon features the OPEN SPACE event. This event is the place to connect with your peers and colleagues around the subjects of deepest interest to you. The Open Space event is both a learning event and a sampler of a wonderful meeting format you can use at work to engage people, ignite passion, and develop entirely new relationships at work.

After-Event Reception !

Stay and socialize with friends and colleagues upon conclusion of the event !

Food, fun and games after the Open Space close. The Agile tribe in Boston is a curious, fun-loving people
after the Open Space close. The Agile tribe in Boston are a curious, fun-loving people











The AGILE CULTURE CONFERENCE is your one stop for identifying tools and techniques you can use today to raise levels of engagement, generate innovation, and develop more productivity and FREEDOM AT WORK. You exit this conference with everything you need to know and understand the forces shaping the next century of leadership, management and work.


Please consider the generous sponsors of the [agile CULTURE Conference]:


   Culture Blueprint