The Incentive Research Foundation is pleased to announce the creation of an on-going education series targeted at professionals involved or interested in incentives, recognition, engagement, and motivational meetings. The sessions will take place on the Third Thursday of every month beginning June 20th, 2013 and will run though May of 2014.

"We are very excited to offer industry education that targets professionals in the HR, Sales, Marketing and Meetings world to provide a solid information stream on using incentives, recognition, and motivational meetings to engage their employees and channel partners," says Melissa Van Dyke President of the Incentive Research Foundation.

All events will be released at 11 am PST/ 12 pm MST/ 1 pm CST / 2 pm EST on the Third Thursday of each month.
If you are not already signed up for IRF Communications, CLICK HERE to join.


2013/2014 Schedule

Jun 2013  

**LISTEN NOW** Release the Power of Research: Hot Topics & Trends in Incentives and Recognition  (47 min.)

Jul 2013 

**LISTEN NOW** R&R Means Business:  A "How To" on Building the Business Case and Maintaining Program Funding  (45 min.)

Aug 2013 

**LISTEN NOW** The Power of Experience:  Success Stories from the Trenches (34 min.)

Sep 2013 

**LISTEN NOW** Expanding Strategic Impact: Using Rewards and Recognition to Meet Cross-Organizational Needs (25 min.)

Oct 2013 

** LISTEN NOW** The Power of Integration:  How to Integrate Business Meetings and Incentive Travel 

Nov 2013 

** LISTEN NOW** A Tale of Two Cities:  Balancing Program Owner and Participant Needs in Award Funding and Selection 

Dec 2013 

** LISTEN NOW** 2014 Trends in Engagement, Incentives and Recognition

Jan 2014 

** LISTEN NOW** Say That Again?: Designing Communications Strategies that Get Results

Feb 2014 

** LISTEN NOW** Wrestling the Digital Lion:  Taming Business Challenges with Digital Solutions

Mar 2014

** LISTEN NOW** Power of Connections:  Optimizing Social Media in Incentives and Meetings

Apr 2014

** LISTEN NOW** The Power of Innovation:  IncenTED presentations on Social, Mobile, Digital Innovations

May 2014

** LISTEN NOW**  Release Your Brilliance:   How to Show Up, Be Accountable, Drive Results.

July 2014 ** LISTEN NOW**  Emerging Trends:  A Fresh Look!
Aug 2014 ** LISTEN NOW**  The Next Reasons to Buy
Sep 2014 ** LISTEN NOW**  Unlocking Your Brain's Hidden App
Oct 2014 ** LISTEN NOW**  Solving the Wellness Engagement Challenge Using Mobile Apps 
Nov 2014 ** LISTEN NOW**  Designing the Ultimate Attendee Journey
Dec 2014 Building Tomorrow:  Crucial Data & Insights for 2015 Program Planning
Jan 2015 Bold Innovation: Maintaining Relevance through Reinvention
Feb 2015 Delectable Data: More than Food for Thought
Mar 2015  
Apr 2015 Big Data Thinking: The Next Evolution to Transform Events and Communities
May 2015 Gamification Using Mobile Apps


June 2013: Release the Power of Research: Hot Topics and Trends in Employee Engagement, Incentives and Recognition


Back by popular demand, Rodger Stotz and Mike Ryan will once again break down the most important research available in the industry today on engagement and incentives and will show how this actionable, usable information can bolster your program business case and redirect your program design. (47 minutes)

Speakers:   Rodger Stotz    Mike Ryan


Sponsored by: 

July 2013: R&R Means Business: A “How To” on Building the Business Case and Maintaining Program Funding


Climb into the mind of a Business Executive.  This 45-minute event will teach you how to think like a business executive to deliver a results-driven story that gets your program funded.  You’ll walk away with a simple template and sources for data to build the Business Case argument in favor of your Incentive and Recognition program.

Speakers:  Mike Ryan, VP Marketing and Client Strategy at Madison Performance Group and Rodger Stotz, CRO of the IRF

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn what elements to include in your argument (or business case)
  2. Use data (external and internal) to strengthen your case
  3. Understand the elements of thinking and talking like a business executive

August 2013: Release the Power of Experience:  Success Stories from the Trenches


Join the biggest players in executing Incentive and Recognition events as they explore key trends in meetings and motivation today in this 34-minute session.  Themes include practical application of gamification in incentives and meetings, best practices with the participant experience, innovation in incentives and meetings, and further group exploration of hot trends.

Speakers:  Lynn Randall,  Tahira Endean, Director Creative and Production, Cantrav,  Scott Siewert, VP Sales, US Motivation

September 2013: Expanding Strategic Impact: Using Reward and Recognition to Meet Cross-Organizational Needs


The mandate to do more with less doesn't just apply to incentive and recognition planners. Executive leaders across a wide variety of business disciplines are looking to improve outcomes.  In an economy that is people-driven, this represents a golden opportunity for you to add value across the enterprise. But how do you get started? Who should you approach?  What questions should you ask and what points should you make? This 25-minute session will explore how incentives and recognition programs can support the strategic initiatives of Marketing, Operations, and Finance and will feature the voices of each. Attendees will come away better prepared to; serve multiple business agendas, integrate interrelated business needs into a stronger program structure and strengthen their evolving business case.

Speakers: Mike Ryan, Melissa Van Dyke, Brian DunneLynn Randall

Primary Learning Objectives

1.    Understand the connection between human behavior and brand promise and values

2.    Understand how to use reward and recognition programs to facilitate change adoption

3.    Apply changing workforce dynamics to your reward and recognition efforts

4.    Understand why virtual workforces have grown in numbers and how the technology that enables them can actually stymie productivity and engagement.

Sponsored by:   

October 2013:  The Power of Integration:  How to Integrate Business Meetings and Incentive Travel


Be one of the first to experience the results of the IRF's research into integrating business meetings and incentive travel.  This session will not only release the most current study’s results, but will include an interactive discussion with a corporate end-user who does integrate meetings with their group incentive travel and a corporate end-user who does not.  Attendees will also be the first to put the IRF’s new integration benchmarking tool to use, by actively walking through benchmarking a fictional program and then their own programs.

Speakers:  Lynn Randall,  Michael Berger, Insperity   Dahlton Bennington, Bennington Meetings and Motivation, LLC

Sponsored By: 


November 2013:  A Tale of Two Cities: Balancing Program Owner and Participant Needs in Award Funding and Selection

**Click Here to Listen Now **

In this 30-minute session we’ll attack the issue of choosing and funding the right awards from multiple angles.  The practitioner’s view takes into consideration limited budgets, expected business results and the decision criteria to help walk the tightrope between those two things.  The participant’s view explores the psychological aspects of participation in a reward or incentive program and what it takes to motivate specific behaviors.  T

Speakers:  Melissa Van DykeFran Schuster

Primary Learning Objectives

1.    Understanding your specific corporate and individual audience is key (for both budgeting and selection)

2.    Delivering an emotional connection and how to meet the four fundamental human drives

3.    The four standards that all non cash awards must meet to be effective

4.    Industry benchmarks for award usage

What To Expect as an Attendee:

  • A primer on the latest research
  • Decision Criteria/Practical Considerations

Sponsored By:  

December 2013:  2014 Trends in Engagement, Incentives and Recognition

**Click Here to Listen Now **

Join Melissa Van Dyke for 20 minutes as she provides the latest data on business and societal trends impacting the world of employee engagement, incentives and recognition.  This discussion will canvass not only the latest IRF pulse studies, but also the major research available from leading consultancies, academics and business thought leaders.

Speakers:  Melissa Van Dyke

Primary Learning Objectives

1.    The major business and societal trends impacting the design and business case for engagement, incentive travel, rewards and recognition

2.    Primary data around how organizations are updating their programs in 2014, from budgets to locations 

Sponsored By:  

January 2014: Say That Again?:  Designing Communication Strategies that Get Results

**Click Here to Listen Now **

How do notions get into our heads?  How do we capture a larger share of people’s minds? This session starts by digging into the neuroscience of communication.  By gaining a complete understanding of how the human brain absorbs and applies new information, we can do a better job with Incentive and Recognition program communications.  We’ll also discuss personalizing to the individual level – micro-targeting to individual motivational triggers.  This session also takes digital, social, and mobile trends and makes sense of how people use each of these tools to process information as well.

Speaker:  Lynn Randall


Primary Learning Objectives

  • Understanding why more than one communications medium is now necessary (virtual, mobile, video, print).  Communication mediums must be varied to hit all participants.
  • Uncover what these might mean to your audience
  • How to truly create a two-way dialogue
  • Understand the Implications of trends in communication exchange and their relevance for rewards and incentive program communications

o   Digital (virtual, webstreaming, etc)

o   Mobile

o   Social Media

February 2014: Wresting the Digital Lion:  How to Tame Business Challenges using Digital Solutions

**Click Here to Listen Now**

The digital landscape has never been scarier and more critical to success at the same time.  Our impulse is often to bury our heads under the covers and hope this digital tidal wave washes over us.  This session flips the digital discussion from “technology’s terms” to business terms.  We look at business challenges and plug in digital solutions that solve our business problems (instead of creating more headaches).

Speakers:  Lynn Randall    Cindy Mielke

Primary Learning Objectives

1.    Social Media Strategies must be integrated with reward and recognition programs

2.    Business goals and objectives enabled through technology or digital solutions

3.    Extending the recognition impact of your rewards and group incentive travel programs with digital solutions

4.    Leveraging data to improve program and demonstrate how program is achieving and supporting business objectives

Sponsored By:   

March 2014: Release the Power of Connections:  Optimizing Social Media in Incentives and Meetings

**Click Here to Listen Now**

Speakers:  Dr. Michael WuLynn Randall

Social Media holds the key to releasing the value of your relationships.  This session connects a deep understanding of interpersonal relationships and social media to incentives and meetings. Dr. Michael Wu of Lithium Technologies will help peel back the psychology and anthropology of building interpersonal relationships while Lynn Randall applies industry examples and connects the practical relevance of Dr. Wu's work for meetings, incentives, and recognition programs. 

Sponsored By:   

April 2014: Release the Power of Innovation:  IncenTED presentations on Social, Mobile, Digital Innovations

**Click Here to Listen Now**

Speakers:  Sam Stanton, RedButton TV    Donny Neufuss, Sonic Foundry     Trevor Roald, QuickMobile

Three industry innovators and mavericks will share quick-hit TED-style presentations alongside Q&A and discussions on the following topics:

  • Extending your impact with digital solutions for remote recognition (Donny Neufuss from Sonic Foundry)
  • Using Mobile Apps to pump the power of Group Incentive Travel Programs (Trevor Roald from QuickMobile)
  • The Facts and Fiction of integrating Social Media Strategies with reward and recognition programs (Sam Stanton from RedButton TV)

May 2014:  Release Brilliance:   Show Up, Be Accountable, Drive Results.

**Click Here to Listen Now**

Speaker:  Simon T. Bailey    

Intelligence researchers at Harvard found that virtually all of the children they tested were at the genius level through the age of four. However, by age twenty, only 10 percent of the same children were  at  the  genius  level,  and over  age twenty, the number dropped to 2 percent!   . . .  What happened to the children’s genius? Where did it go?  [RELEASE YOUR BRILLIANCE]

This event will showcase the venerable Simon T. Bailey as he walks through examples of how to release brilliance within yourself, your team, and your organization, giving you actionable steps to bring back to your daily life.   Join us to learn why this session received a standing ovation.

July 2014:  Emerging Trends:  A Fresh Look!

Speaker:  Rodger Stotz

**Click Here to Listen Now**

In today’s challenging environment, top performing organizations continually examine trends through the lens of innovation.  They exploit these trends to their advantage, gaining a leg up as others either ignore or under appreciate the trend’s implication.  Rodger will identify current and emerging trends and share examples of how the trends are (or could be) supporting new business opportunities. You will learn how trends in hospitality are driving the development of new experiences and merchandise awards, and how changing demographics will reward those who adjust to our constantly changing business environment.  

August 2014:  The Next Reasons to Buy

Speaker: Mike Ryan

**Click Here to Listen Now**

Innovations. They are not just about things. They also include thoughts. Or more specifically, the strategic manner in which you frame buying rationale to potential buyers.  The IRF’s latest trends report indicated that there is a new opportunity for providers of non-cash reward and incentive travel  programs to position their solutions in a more strategic and compelling manner. Join IRF Research Committee Chair Mike Ryan as he lays out 3 of the top people-related challenges facing companies today; 1) an emerging leadership shortage, 2) collaboration challenges across workgroups, and 3) change management deficiencies within organizations and discusses how a properly positioned rewards and recognition pitch can address each.

September 2014:  Unlocking Your Brain's Hidden App

Speaker:  Bill Donius

**Click Here to Listen Now**

Everyone tells you to think differently or think outside of the box but no one ever tells you how -- they just expect you to know.   Bill's New York Times best-seller, Thought Revolution:  How to Unlock Your Inner Genius offers a simple method for readers to literally tap into their right brain and make better life decisions.   Bill will walk us through his approach and then we'll apply that approach during facilitated lunchtime Innovation Suite breakouts.

October 2014:  Solving the Wellness Engagement Challenge Using Mobile Apps

Speaker: Tyler Knight

**Click Here to Listen Now**

Huge momentum is building behind wellness incentives, and companies who get them right stand to reap significant benefits. Nearly 90% of employers offer wellness incentives, up from 57% in 2009, according to a 2013 survey from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health.  Tyler explores enhancements to the traditional view of wellness incentives.  Specifically, he makes the case for rewarding incremental change and infusing mobile technology to help track and reward behaviors in a way that returns value to employees, clients, customers, partners, and companies.

November 2014:  Designing the Ultimate Attendee Journey

**Click Here to Listen Now**

Speaker: Angie Smith

What does it take to turn audiences into true believers? To turn them into advocates and evangelists who will spread the word about your brand or pump up participation in your program or event? Do you know what it takes to create an industry lighthouse event? It’s all about the attendee journey…..the interactions, the conversation, the beliefs…..all of which inform every touch point. A strong brand is about continuity, clarity and impact, which is true of your incentive program brand as well as your corporate brand. 


December 2014:  Building Tomorrow: Crucial Data & Insights for 2015 Program Planning

Speakers:  Melissa Van Dyke

The Incentive Research Foundation has been compiling research and trends on the incentive and recognition industry for over two decades. Join Melissa Van Dyke, President of the Incentive Research foundation in a fast-paced, information-packed session that provides the results of the IRF’s latest Fall 2014 Pulse Study and leaves you with the critical data you need to elevate your 2015 program planning. The session emphasizes how to address executive’s top-of-mind concerns with recent, relevant data that reinforces your program's organizational importance.   Gain an understanding of whether program budgets are trending towards growth or decline and learn how to defend or capitalize on these trends.  You'll walk away with a view of the industry through the fascinating historical lens compiled by the IRF's Pulse studies, and armed with the data needed to make your 2015 programs a success.  

January 2015:  Bold Innovation: Maintaining Relevance Through Reinvention

Speakers:  Lynn Randall

The IRF brings you thought-provoking concepts for innovations you should be considering for 2015 and beyond.  This session explores solid data to support your program's relevance and crucial insights in to upcoming areas of program innovation – from digital to mobile to wellness and wearable technologies.  The IRF will present new, relevant, and insightful trends garnered from both recent Pulse Survey’s as well as industry insights.

February 2015:  Delectable Data - More Than Food For Thought

Speakers:  Melissa Van Dyke

**Click Here to Listen Now**

Got data? Join Melissa Van Dyke, President of the Incentive Research Foundation as she shares the most recent, relevant data on the state of our industry. From merchandise trends, to the incentive travel quality push and human capital drivers, this session will go beyond sample data points for consideration and focus on what this data means to the future of incentive and recognition programs. Twenty years of exploring data in the incentive and recognition industry gives the IRF an important viewpoint into upcoming industry shifts. Come hungry for information and leave happy with an action plan for your organization's place in the incentive industry of 2015.

April 2015:  Big Data Thinking: The Next Evolution to Transform Events and Communities

Speaker: Stephen Nold

Technology expert Stephen Nold sings the praises of “big data thinking,” the hottest trend in technology.  Stephen brings a revelatory exploration of the dramatic impact big data thinking likely to have on the incentive industry.  Big data thinking refers to the ability to crunch vast collections of information, analyze the results instantly and drive decisions based on them. This emerging science can translate myriad phenomena – from the price of airline tickets to the text of millions of books – into searchable form, and uses the increase of computing power to unearth epiphanies that we never could have seen before.  Stephen will explain what incentive travel professionals should understand and do to benefit from this emerging solution, which may become essential to success. 

May 2015:  Gamification Using Mobil Apps

Speaker:  Trevor Roald

Learn the gamification best practices that make learning, networking, and participating more fun for incentive and recognition participants.  When you know the rules, cheats, and backdoors for event app gamification, you can drive your travel incentive attendees and recognition program participants towards behaviors that help you meet your business objectives, increase engagement, and make your events more innovative, happy, positive experiences.