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The Push Institute was founded as a non-profit organization in 2002 to track the major forces shaping our future and their implications for business, government, and non-profit sectors over the next 5-10-25-50 years.

PUSH Conference

From 2003-2008, the PUSH conference was the Push Institute's most public project. In a very short time, PUSH earned an international reputation for packaging provocative, inspiring content inside a fun and transformative experience.

Widely regarded as one of the three best executive conferences in the U.S., PUSH was known for its bold look into the future, intellectual rigor and multidisciplinary focus. Together with leading thinkers and artists, PUSH attendees probed "Best Questions" to reveal untapped value for their organizations. (2003-2008)

We're extremely proud of PUSH and pleased to share archives of 2005-2008 (the richest, most mature programs) with you on this site. But first, an overview of the inception and evolution of PUSH.

 
Transient

Mission

To cultivate and spread "Change Literacy," a working knowledge of the constant and predictable forces shaping our future.  We pay close attention to under-the-radar technologies, markets, people, and ideas that are pushing the future in new directions. That research forms the backbone of our highly curated programs, reports, presentations and training, all designed to promote strategic foresight. 


History

The PUSH Conference was originally launched under the name "Trend Agenda" in January 2003 at the Minneapolis Walker Art Center. The success generated in that first year led to the incorporation of a nonprofit organization in October 2003 to support its continuation. The name "PUSH" was also adopted at that time to more truthfully reflect the conference's focus on the future.

The PUSH Conference was originally launched under the name "Trend Agenda" in January 2003 at the Minneapolis Walker Art Center. The success generated in that first year led to the incorporation of a nonprofit organization in October 2003 to support its continuation. The name "PUSH" was also adopted at that time to more truthfully reflect the conference's focus on the future.

In January 2004, undeterred by the coldest temperatures in 5 years, people again filled the Walker Auditorium for PUSH where they were warmed by the charm, intellect and generosity of the conference speakers and performers. Pirate ships, glow-in-the-dark rabbits, fried Twinkies, Andy Warhol, and projected dreams on a ceiling puntuated an intertwined story of human and business evolution, and the anticipated impact of the huge economic, social and cultural shifts that are underway.

Tools for managing and preparing for such shifts were presented in the PUSH Workshop, a half-day program focused on identifying opportunities and challenges on the horizon. It was a powerful way to bring the arc of conversation that had been carried through PUSH 2004 to completion.

Yielding to the construction schedule of the WAC's expansion, PUSH 2005 was moved to June for the conference's third year, much to the delight of a growing national audience that could enjoy Minneapolis at its most beautiful time of year. The last four of the six PUSH conferences are represented here.

  • PUSH 2005: The Geography of Change pushed the conference format (3-days) and focus (global) and featured international luminaries such as Mart Laar, the Prime Minister of Estonia, Iqbal Quadir, founder of Grameen Phone (associated with Nobel Prize-winning Grameen Foundation), and Helen Greiner, founder of iRobot, among others.  
  • Conference sponsors included Target, Fast Company, and Discover magazines.

  • PUSH 2006: A New Life explored new directions in social organization, science & technology, virtual worlds, and design with an impressive roster of speakers including philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, social networking expert Howard Rheingold, alongside innovators such as Cameron Sinclair (Architecture for Humanity), Ze Frank (Designer/performer) and more. Add the opening performance d3 horse, the practical wisdom of productivity guru, David Allen and a very moving presentation by 7-12 year-olds in the Kids Philosophy Slam for an experience that melted hearts and opened minds. 

Conference sponsors: Target, Fast Company, Kendall Jackson, Room & Board, Boston Scientific

  • PUSH 2007: SuperPower examined how power, in its most basic forms, is shifting in energy, geopolitics, demographics, and media. Power was in the room in such heavyweights as Poland's Deputy Prime Minister and architect of its post-Soviet economic recovery, Grezegorz Kolodko, economist Clyde Prestowitz, and Chief Scientific Officer of Khosla Ventures, Doug Cameron. Play showed its power as well with the National Institute for Play's founder, Stuart Brown and cultural media critic Anne Elizabeth Moore. Matthew Sanford's story of recovery after an accident that took the lives of his father and sister, and left him paralyzed from the chest down, was a powerful testament to how listening to truth and the wisdom of the mind-body connection opened a new way of being in the world. Opening night performances by ballerina Sally Rouse and hip-hop poet Desdamona dazzled.

Conference sponsors: Fast Company, Kendall Jackson, Room & Board, General Mills

  • PUSH 2008: The Fertile Delta reflected the forces and effects of polarization, and highlighted the opportunities in 'the space between' in economics, politics, religion, and technology.  With performances from Grammy-Award winning singer/song-writer Dan Wilson, whose "Free Life" captured the spirit of what PUSH is all about, and the first installment of Jenni Wolfson's 4-part play, RASH, opening night of PUSH 2008 kicked off the conference on an incredible high. And it only got better with rich interactions between Chandran Nair, Jonathan Greenblatt, Clyde Prestowitz, Nate Garvis, Eboo Patel, Antoine Bigirimana, Anthea Butler, and Mark Seddon. The boundary-dissolving work of Challenge Day co-founders Rich & Yvonne Dutra-St. John was both potent and personal, as were performances by J.D. Steele and PUSH scholarship students from the Redeemer Center for Life.  

Conference sponsors: Target, Public Radio International, Fast Company
Room & Board, Kendall Jackson, Geek Squad, Clear Channel.