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Opening General Session


Embracing Change Luke Williamsin a Disruptive Age 
Monday, Sept. 29, 2014
8:30 am – 9:30 am
Great Hall A/B
New Orleans Morial Convention Center


Change happens. And it’s happening more rapidly and unpredictably than ever before. In today’s world of escalating challenges and accelerating innovation, the traditional model of expecting and carefully planning for gradual shifts is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Leaders who innovate rather than mitigate go beyond thinking outside of the box—they rethink it, reinvent it or get rid of it altogether. Success in this disruptive age depends not on what has worked in the past but on new, transformative thinking that embraces change on all levels.

To guide us through this revolutionary approach will be Luke Williams, a sought after commentator on disruptive innovation, entrepreneurship and cultural change. He is the author of Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business; a professor of innovation and executive director of the Berkley Entrepreneurship Center at New York University’s Stern School of Business; and a fellow at frog, one of the world’s most influential innovation companies. During his keynote presentation, Williams will help water professionals learn how to thrive in an era of constant change by encouraging a new approach to innovation leadership that goes against conventional wisdom in favor of counterintuitive ideas and solutions that can more efficiently and sustainably address evolving, and often unpredictable, water management challenges.

WEF President Sandra Ralston will help frame the program theme by highlighting some of WEF’s own efforts to adopt this progressive business model such as seeking out cross-sector collaboration with non-traditional partners and spearheading a cultural shift to recognize wastewater treatment not as waste disposal but as resource recovery that produces clean water, reusable byproducts, and renewable energy.

Also expected at the Opening General Session will be remarks from New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (invited) and recognition of the Water Environment Research Foundation’s 25th anniversary.

Luke Williams Bio  
Luke Williams High-Resolution Photo