(There, we said it.)

You may have seen our program founders, Kip Creel & Dr. Charlie Hall, speaking in other venues throughout the years. The EAGL program is radically different. Kip & Charlie share some of their insights about why they have spent 2 years developing this Executive level program, and what makes it different:

kipcasualthumbKip Creel: As you know, I’ve been a regular industry presenter for 10+ years on the topics of consumer trends, marketing, strategic planning, horticultural branding, and product innovation. There has always been a thirst for what we do, but I always had the sinking feeling that people in the audience were hearing…but not absorbing.

Hall_casualCharlie Hall: Well said Kip. I too have experienced the frustration of having such limited time, being unable to instill enough knowledge to actually make difference for the businesses in the audience. Even personalized consulting engagements aren’t the answer (those are more about having the right silver bullet to solve a particular issue biting the business in the rear at that moment).

kipcasualthumbKip: Exactly. I know education has become a big component of the trade show experience, but to drive the perception of value the schedules have to be crammed full of speakers and info-tainment. I’ve been studying adult learning styles and working with educational consultants: we know that the traditional 40-minute presentation and 20-minute Q&A doesn’t create knowledge transference that will drive real business profitability in a meaningful way.

Charlie: But it’s been the only format we’ve had. And for a long time, it was okay – because as an industry generally we were still growing and profitable. But the world is changing more rapidly than ever, and there are driving forces (e.g. changing demographics, water-related policy issues, new energy dynamics) that are game-changers. Add the fact that the green industry is now a mature market – selling products and services to a consumer that vastly undervalues [and underpays for] them – and you need a major mindshift to capitalize on the opportunities that arise. Mindshifts don’t happen in 45 minute segments. But when enlightened, progressive executives are fully engaged in a different style of learning (case studies, open debate, simulations, etc.), lights of innovation come on. You’ve seen this in the explosive growth of ‘mini’ and ‘executive MBA’ programs in the last decade.

kipcasualthumbKip: And that’s exactly what we set out to do here – to create a one-year, “mini-MBA style” program that takes into account the peculiarities and the realities of a highly seasonal, perishable, labor intensive business like commercial horticulture. We know that by combining MBA-level educators and respected practitioners from major consumer brands with interactive business simulations and reality-based case studies, EAGL participants will truly have the opportunity to meaningfully change and grow their businesses.