We call these power-packed sessions the “glue” that knits together our 2 days at Harvard. Each of these sessions is designed to “set the table” for a very different kind of conversation about igniting innovation in payments – with the innovators whose necks are on the line to deliver paired with “celebrity innovators” who know a thing or two about payments and innovation but work outside of the sector.

We also couldn’t think of a better way to get the juices flowing in preparation for the mental gymnastics required at the ThinkAThon™, or the filter for evaluating the 40 new innovators at the innovators expo, or the context to evaluate the innovation experiences brought to you by innovators already in market, or the appreciation for those who will receive their awards at the Innovator Awards dinner on the evening of March 21st.

So, without further ado, meet our payments innovation thought starters!

DAY ONE | March 20, 2013

I’ve Met The Future and It Was Yesterday

Thought Leader
Warren Buffett | CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett – The Oracle of Omaha — needs no introduction, or an industry counterparty, to impart his pearls of wisdom on what typifies innovation in payments. One big hint, he tends to stick with what he knows and that includes one payments innovator he’s stuck with for over half a century… He’ll tell us what he looks for before plunking his money on payments firms and would-be innovators and how we sees the future of payments and the commerce ecosystem that it supports. Buffet will be joined in this fireside chat via video with Cathy Baron Tamraz, CEO of Business Wire.

The Future | How the Global Mind Will Transform Global Commerce

Thought Leader and CEO Counterparty
Al Gore | Author, Apple Board Member, Former VPOTUS and Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Gary Flood | President of MasterCard Global Products and Solutions

CEO Panel
Roger Hochschild | President of Discover Financial Services
Karl Mehta | Former CEO of Visa PlaySpan and White House Technology Fellow
Gaylon Jowers | Executive Vice President of TSYS
Jeff Jordan | Andreessen Horowitz partner and former CEO of PayPal
Russell Simmons | CEO of UniRush
Lisa Stanton | CEO Monitise NA

Al Gore, Vice President turned entrepreneur, Apple Board member, and Nobel Peace Prize winner has something on his mind. Well, actually on his Global Mind. It’s a concept that he’s been toying with for the last eight years or so, as he contemplated the answer to a simple question: What drives global change?  His new book, “The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change” answers that question and lays out a prescription for how to harness that change to transform just  about every aspect of the global village Gore calls Earth, Inc. And, we should listen because the once VP has been working closely, over the last decade, with some of the most transformative companies in the world.

Six captains of the global payments industry will contribute to the Innovation Project’s Global Mind on payments innovation by sharing their thoughts, insights and ideas on the future of payments around the world – as they see it and are doing it. They’ll share the tradeoffs that they faced as they said “hello” to innovation and “so long” to the status quo.  They’ll tell us why they did what where, and what markets they think have the most to contribute to the notion of the Global Mind and when. They’ll put in context the opportunities made possible by the richness of the technology that is now available to us and the obstacles inherent in this vast global infrastructure that never make that journey as simple or easy as it may have looked at the start.  They’ll respond to Vice President’s Gore challenge to make the Global Mind work for everyone by sharing just how what they are doing will democratize the commerce opportunity for those living in developed and developed economies. Gore will be joining us via satellite from London. Click here for a detailed look at this panel!

Shoponomics | The Hidden Side of Why Consumers Buy and How They Pay

Thought Leader and CEO Counterparty
Steve Levitt | Economist, Author, Freakonomics
Don Kingsborough | VP of Retail Services, former CEO of Blackhawk and Founder and Former CEO of Worlds of Wonder

CEO Panel
Chuck Harris | President of NetSpend
Dwaine  Kimmet | Treasurer and VP Financial Services at Home Depot
Ed McLaughlin | Chief Emerging Payments Officer for MasterCard
Alex Rampell | CEO of TrialPay
Troy Carrothers | Head of Financial Services at Kohl’s

After Steve Levitt’s (Freakonomics’ author) and Don Kingsborough’s (PayPal) CEO panel on consumers and the adoption of new payments and commerce innovations, you’ll never believe anything you hear ever again on what it will take for consumers to break their old habits and make the move to mobile (or whatever else you have up your sleeve).  All of the innovation that sounds so cool has to, then, actually interrupt those habits – and basically get consumers and merchants to invest in creating a whole new routine – and deliver the reward that makes all of that time and effort worthwhile.

This is where, in the words of Steve Levitt, author of Freakonomics notes, “the conventional wisdom is often wrong.” Cool” doesn’t solve any more problems or create a better value for most consumers than implementing a new technology on the merchant side solely because it is cheaper. But finding the hidden clues that can unlock those behaviors is what Levitt and four of the most dynamic (and probably even  a little battle-scared) payments innovators have found as they’ve each turned conventional wisdom on its ear and given consumers something new to use when shopping or paying. Click here for a detailed look at this panel!

Guess Who’s Coming To The Point of Sale? Reconciling The Tension Between Innovators, Merchants, And New Consumer Experiences

Thought Leader and CEO Counterparty
Karen Webster | CEO, Market Platform Dynamics
Seth Priebatsch | Chief Ninja, LevelUp

Merchants And Innovators
David Banks | CTO, Cumberland Farms
Sean Harper | Director Payments, Groupon
Kate Lepow | Senior Director Payments, JCP
Mark Matthews | Senior Director Financial Services, Walmart
Jason Richelson | CEO, Shopkeep

In the right corner, innovators ready and raring to change the world and everything about the “commerce and payments status quo.” And, in the left, merchants, who have heard it all before and are being asked to jump through hoops to get in front of the next big thing. Karen Webster, CEO of Market Platform Dynamics, will keep us entertained over lunch by presiding over an animated discussion of what some of the most innovative merchants have said yes to and why, and what innovators describe as their “pet peeves” when shopping their wares to potential buyers – with perhaps the most interesting and unconventional player in this space – Seth Priebatsch, LevelUp’s Chief Ninja.

Platform Power Plays

We added this panel where everything from breaking news to never before heard updates by platform power players will be made. We can’t tell you who will be joining us – you’ll have to be there to find out!

The Ultimate Entrepreneur’s Challenge | Who’s The Best – East, West Or Middle?

Thought Leader and CEO Counterparty
Russell Simmons | Rap Artist, Music Mogul, Fashion Retailer, Prepaid Pioneer
Rob Rosenblatt | CEO Rush card, Formerly EVP at JPMC and Citi

With 10 hand-picked entrepreneurs:

globalVCard | David Disque, CEO

Swift Exchange | Nancy Gordon, CEO

ActPay | Will Graylin, CEO

Pangea | Rahier Rahman, CEO

Cortex MCP | Shaunt Sharkissian, CEO

Corduro | Robert Ziegler, CEO

Digital Retail App | Wendy MacKinnon Keith, CEO

Leaf | Aron Schwarzkopf, CEO

PaidPiper | Atif Hussein, CEO

LendUp | Sasha Orloff, CEO

Cube | Charlie Pinto, Co-Founder

Russell Simmons, rap artist turned music mogul turned fashion retailer turned prepaid pioneer, knows a thing or two about innovation and entreprenuering in and around payments and commerce. Rob Rosenblatt, his newly ensconced CEO and well-known payments innovator, will take 10 of the 40 innovators in our Innovators Expo and help us all decide – who is the most interesting and innovative payments/commerce up-and-comer? In an American Idol meets VC pitch session format, you’ll hear innovators tell their stories, and Russell and Rob react, in real time, to what they hear. The only guarantee here is that this duo will reinvent the concept of mentoring in a big way. Click here for a detailed look at this panel!

DAY TWO | March 21, 2013

Lessons From Lean Start Ups | How Six Innovators Went From Lean To Mean In Payments

Thought Leader and CEO Counterparty
Eric Ries | Author, The Lean Start up
Mark Lavelle | SVP PayPal and Co-Founder Bill Me Later, a PayPal Company

CEO Panel
Ken Paull | CEO of ROAM
Eric Remer | Founder and CEO of PaySimple
Scott Thompson | CEO of ShopRunner
Henry Helgeson | CEO of Merchant Warehouse
Jacob deGeer | Founder and CEO of iZettle

Would many more payments ventures fail than succeed if they looked more like “lean startups?” That is the core question that Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup and Mark Lavelle, Senior Vice President and co-Founder of BillmeLater, and five of the industry’s most senior and dynamic C-suite executives will address in this 90 minute interactive keynote session. Ries isn’t likely to pull any punches either. His prior is  “The amount of time a company can count on holding on to market leadership to exploit its earlier innovations is shrinking, forcing even the largest and most established players to think very differently about how it innovates and why.” Ries and Lavelle will bring some of the best lean start up case studies in payments to life and uncover the trials and tribulations of 5 well-known innovators, who have each transformed their corner of the payments ecosystem into vibrant and thriving entities. Click here for a detailed look at this panel!

Innovators to the Rescue | Fixing What The Big Guys Broke

Thought Leader and CEO Counterparty
Raj Date | Deputy Director of the CFPB
Tim Attinger
| Strategy & Corporate Development, Blackhawk Network

CEO Panel
Gordon Baird | CEO of Independence Bancshares
BC Krishna | CEO of MineralTree
Peter Gordon | GM of FIS PayNet
Jonathan Lear | President of Earthport Americas
Dan O’Malley | CEO of PerkStreet
Mark Troughton | President of Wonga Americas

When the market’s rockin’, the government comes a knocking – or at least that’s how it seems. Raj Date, Deputy Director of the CFPB (its #2  guy) will preside with Tim Attinger, Head of Strategy and Corporate Development at Blackhawk Network will preside over a panel of innovators who have boldly gone where no innovator has gone before – and sometimes right into the headwinds created by their incumbent counterparts. Date will help us all understand the two critical questions that everyone who’s anyone in payments wants to hear: Why and What Did You Get out of It? The innovators will talk about how they have helped to fix what’s broken in consumer financial services and perhaps even laid a new foundation for the consumer financial services industry.  They’ll also share their thoughts about the role of regulation be in this process and more in a rousing lunchtime session. Click here for a detailed look at this panel!

The Architecture of Innovation | How Big Companies Can Innovate Like Little Companies

Thought Leader and CEO Counterparty
Josh Lerner | HBS Professor and Author of The Architecture of Innovation
Diane Offereins | President, Discover Network

CEO Panel
Mike Kennedy | Founder and Chairman of ClearExchange and EVP of Wells Fargo Strategy and Innovation
Chitra Narasimhan | Managing Director, Citi Ventures and former SVP of Strategy at American Express
Marianne Johnson | Executive Vice President, Global Head of Product & Innovation at Elavon
Chris Gardner | Serial entrepreneur and CEO of Paydiant
Yung Kim | President of Korea Telecom

Think small. Words to live by, if you’re a C-level exec and want to innovate like a start up. So says Josh Lerner, HBS Professor and author of The Architecture of Innovation. Lerner draws his insights from decades of work at the intersection of entrepreneurship, venture investing and private equity. He may spend a lot of his days at the blackboard as an HBS professor, but he is an active and well-respected advisor to the biggest names in the business in these areas. One of Lerner’s most potent observations – and key input to his thesis on innovation – relates to his research into the performance of companies that had been acquired by private equity firms and then ultimately spun off business units. He and his colleagues observed that before the transaction and spin offs, there were few differences in performance between the firms and their category competitors. After the acquisition and spin off, things changed. The acquired firms became more innovative, not because they did more “innovative” things, but because the things they decided to innovate around were more focused, investments in innovation more targeted, and incentives around outcomes more clearly defined. Overall performance in the core business improved as well. Using this work as a backdrop, Lerner and Diane Offereins, President of the Discover Network, will challenge everything you have ever heard or done to create and ignite an innovation agenda in payments – with some of the most successful large-company innovators in this space (who have the battle scars to prove it) and input from 5 innovators who are helping to ignite innovation in these large organizations. Click here for a detailed look at this panel!

Innovating The Cash Economy And Serving The Underserved

Thought Leader and CEO Counterparty
Larry Summers | Former Treasury Secretary, Square Board  Member, and Advisor to Andreessen Horowitz
Hikmet Ersek | CEO of  Western Union

CEO Panel
Lars Blecko | CEO of Loomis
Arlyn Davich | CEO of PayPerks
Jim DeBello | CEO of Mitek
John Moore | COO of The San Francisco Federal Reserve
Steve Rathgaber | CEO of Cardtronics
Danny Shader | CEO of PayNearMe

In an uncertain world, three things are certain:  death, taxes … and cash!  Yes, that seemingly antiquated invention (that has been around for a few thousand years now) has belied the claims of the “cashless” society for the last 60 years and will likely be around for the next 60 and still going strong. Cash, as much as we might hate to admit it, is the world’s largest payments network and the one that every payments innovator wants to displace. Larry Summers, one of the smartest and most influential economists in the world, has run one of the largest cash payment systems as part of his Treasury gig and has advised several Presidential administrations on economic and fiscal policy, including matters related to currency. Now back in the private sector, Summers is an advisor to some of the leading alternative payments and banking startups including Square and LendingClub.  Ersek is pretty clear about its mission, “we are serving the underserved,” he says. By that Ersek means those 2.5 billion people who don’t have access to a bank account today but thanks to mobile phones and access to the internet have the prospect of moving into the emerging middle class. For many of those people, Western Union is their bank. Together Summers and Ersek will preside over a discussion of the importance of cash and what these 6 innovators are doing to keep this 3000 payment method alive and kicking and an important payment method for the un and underserved. Click here for a detailed look at this panel!

And, this is just module one! For more information on the entire two day program, please click here.

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