11:16 AM

Jack Porter's "Big Think" Salon And The Future Of Work

I was pleased to be invited to Jack Porter's monthly salon "Big Think" on Thursday evening. It attracts a fascinating group of people.

Mr. Porter is CEO of Forward Innovations, a consultancy that helps large companies innovate. He is extremely well connected and his salons are designed for great conversation.

Also joining us: Fred Davis, co-founder of Wired Magazine; Jeetu Patel, CTO of EMC; Reese Jones, VC; Jim Marggraff, CEO of LiveScribe and inventor of LeapFrog; Tom Niehaus, Pivotal Capital; Ted Vucurevich, Enconcert; Tania Motlagh, and many others.

During dinner Mr Marggraff showed a demo of LiveScribe, which is a digital pen that captures written text but can also perform a wide range of other tasks. Users can also record a conversation as they take notes, and play it back as a "Pencast" and even embed it in a web page; users can also create applications such as a keyboard by drawing it and then playing the keys. It's a very versatile platform.

Sidney Minassian, the founder of Liaise, demonstrated a smart email client based on Outlook that can automatically set dates; remind team members when projects are due; and perform many management action tasks in one or two steps instead of more than a dozen.

We discussed the "future of work" and how the skill sets are changing; how people need to be good at being able to work in virtual companies with teams separated by thousands of miles; and how the educational system needs to change to reflect the new realities of work.

Mr. Porter said he is working on a very interesting project with Accenture, which has said that it will close its offices in 2012. Its staff will have to figure out a way of getting their work done without an office to go to.

I really like these types of gatherings because they aren't too large and everyone can speak and contribute to the discussion. It's one of my favorite ways to spend an evening, in a room full of smart people, and ones that have successfully accomplished a great deal yet are still working on that next project or venture.

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Jack Porter (hightechexec) on Twitter