Vanishing Point

Deb Westphal

As Chairman of the Board for Toffler Associates, Deborah brings skills and insights honed over 30 years working with some of the top minds and leaders of governments and Fortune 100 companies. Deborah has an MBA from Webster University and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico, and has completed extensive continuing education with Harvard Business School and Wharton Business School. She is also a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

Recent Posts

Flipping the Model: The Most Important Question in M&A

Posted by Deb Westphal

Nov 18, 2015 9:30:00 AM

In 2014, global M&A deal volume experienced a massive rebound. The total number of reported M&A transactions reached 31,427 globally, with deal value rising 57% to $2.94 trillion. Particularly as we experience strong macroeconomic conditions, high levels of cash among strategic acquirers and low interest rates, acquisition can look like a favorable way to fill current gaps in the enterprise, access a new customer base, and gain capabilities for accelerated growth.

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The Market for Quiet in a Hyper-Connected World

Posted by Deb Westphal

Nov 4, 2015 12:30:00 PM

It seems we’ve conquered the barriers of time and space.

 

We have just about perfected the ability to be always on, always in a state of information consumption, and always in ‘go’ mode. The Internet of Things (IoT) has given rise to the Internet of People (IoP). Technology constitutes a grid so big and strong, we can honestly say that we are all connected within a very real world wide web.

 

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For Gen C, Technology is the Tool, Not the Need

Posted by Deb Westphal

Oct 14, 2015 9:00:00 AM

A demographic and psychographic shift has occurred, and it’s bigger than categorization or semantics. For the past few decades, organizations and individuals alike have been swept up into a sticky technology web that connects us all, shapes our environment and even – as a web will do – sustains many of our most basic needs.

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Technology and Pace of Innovation Demand a New Leadership Approach

Posted by Deb Westphal

Oct 8, 2015 9:20:00 AM

Desynchronization [n] The relation that exists when things occur at unrelated times.

 

As we move deeper into the election cycle, it is a good time for corporate and political leaders to consider the impact desynchronization has on key issues and how they are managing the implications of these varying rates of change.

 

A look back at the 1996 election cycle shows we were beginning to address issues like the voice of the digital generation, economies shaped by microtrade and microcapital, and social democratization caused by widespread technology access and adoption.

 

If we look at those issues today, they are very much a part of the fiber of our political, economic, educational and enterprise sectors. It’s certainly interesting to look at the amount of change that’s occurred over two decades. For leaders, however, it’s far more important to understand the rates of change, the conflict and opportunities being created from the differences, and how to adapt to resultant shifts.

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H2H: Why the Best Leaders Embrace Vulnerability

Posted by Deb Westphal

Sep 30, 2015 9:00:00 AM

I recently spoke with the CEO of a large, multi-layered global organization. After six decades of building operational strength through a command and control/top-down structure, employee communication has become an area of overwhelming concern. The pace of technological change and ubiquity of social media as a mode of human connection has completely changed the way organizations must disseminate information.

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With Space Commercialization, the Next Frontier is the New Normal

Posted by Deb Westphal

Sep 16, 2015 11:19:48 AM

On March 22, 1946, the first American-built rocket was launched out of the Earth’s atmosphere. This momentous event followed directly on the heels of the official introduction of the U.S. outer space research program in January of that same year. The launch of the NASA Bumper 2 in July 1950 marked the next new chapter in space flight. The 1960’s were punctuated by President Kennedy’s challenge to send a man to the moon. It was a matter of national pride and security. Neil Armstrong’s famous 1969 landing represented some of our first steps into the future we now know.


Since the middle of the Twentieth Century, our eyes have been fixed on the sky. The U.S. first ventured into space because we could, because we had to, and because our government – through military, intelligence, and civil sectors – was driving us in that direction. The combination of human wonderment and the pursuit of opportunity have motivated powerful innovation among government and private sector organizations. As these organizations have pushed each boundary, we have moved deeper into the Information Age and raised the level of discussion about its commercial possibilities.

 

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Redefining Health Through Empowered Individuals

Posted by Deb Westphal

Sep 2, 2015 11:59:00 AM

Lately, we’ve been working to understand the implications of two seemingly disparate advancements.


The first concerns an action taken by the Department of Defense this summer. The DOD let a massive new contract for its Defense Healthcare Management System to the team of Cerner, Leidos and Accenture Federal. The project’s goal is to build a national health information network that will allow health records to follow patients no matter where they are – from a VA hospital, to a tent in a war zone, to a retail clinic, to an app on their smart phones.


The second advancement concerns all the gadgets we’ve started wearing to measure our metabolic functions. We have wristbands to chart our fitness programs, measure our fluid intake, report on our sleep patterns, and assist with our meditation practice. We even have sensors that beep when we need to apply more sunscreen. Diabetics have sensors that monitor their glucose levels continually. Patients can use their smart phones and telemedicine to consult a doctor about injuries and illnesses. Sensors can even measure and report issues like acid reflux levels and irregularities in a heartbeat.


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Unleash the Power of Research and Development

Posted by Deb Westphal

Aug 26, 2015 2:22:00 PM

Google is at it again.

 

Earlier this month, CEO Larry Page announced that Google is reorganizing in order to foster innovation. Not content to be the kings of search, Page and his business partner Sergey Brin are leading disruption in their company to separate its money-making businesses from the ones incubating new ideas.

 

We’re all familiar with Google search, YouTube, and online advertising, which will all remain part of Google. Less familiar are the companies developing contact lenses that read blood sugar levels, self-driving cars, and delivery drones, among other projects, that will be under the Alphabet umbrella but not part of Google.

 

To explain the move, Page wrote in a letter posted on the new Alphabet site, “From the start, we’ve always strived to do more, and to do important and meaningful things with the resources we have. We did a lot of things that seemed crazy at the time. Many of those crazy things now have over a billion users, like Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, and Android. And we haven’t stopped there. We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy but we are super excited about.”

 

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Why H2H Must Be a Critical Aspect of Your Organization’s Growth & Engagement Strategies

Posted by Deb Westphal

Aug 19, 2015 9:30:00 AM

We are all consumers. We buy stuff, and lots of it. Think about the last time you made a large purchase – or for that matter a not-so-large purchase. How did you make your buying decision? For everything from booking a hotel room, to choosing a restaurant, to buying an appliance, car, or pair of shoes, more and more consumers are checking out what others have to say before deciding to buy. Today, technology connects people from all over the world – including remote areas previously thought of as unreachable – in ways we would have never dreamed possible just 20 years ago. 


As consumers, our buying habits have changed – or you could say they’ve been disrupted – because of this phenomenon of human connectivity

 

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The Future is Here. Are You Ready?

Posted by Deb Westphal

Jul 29, 2015 9:10:00 AM

Let’s do a quick exercise – when did your industry last experience major disruption? How about your business?

Here’s the more important question – when did you last disrupt your own business?

If the last disruption to your business or industry came within the last two years, you are probably planning for the present business climate. If your last disruption came before 2013, you need to address the radical change your business faces, and you don’t have time to waste.

Here’s why.

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