Former Tesla Motors, Apple Computer, and GAP Inc. executive George Blankenship received the Alltech Medal of Excellence at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference (ONE 17), an event dedicated to inspiring innovation in Lexington, Kentucky, May 21-24.
Now in its 33rd year, the annual international conference is expected to draw approximately 4,000 attendees from nearly 80 countries to network and discuss disruptive ideas in business, technology, food, and agriculture.
Blankenship received the Alltech Medal of Excellence from Dr. Pearse Lyons on the main plenary stage in Rupp Arena at ONE17. Alltech’s highest accolade, the medal is awarded annually to someone of great accomplishment and leadership. Previous honorees include former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Norman Borlaug, the father of “the Green Revolution.” Blankenship received the medal in recognition of his ability to create unrivaled customer experiences with two of the most disruptive brands of our time: Apple and Tesla.
“George Blankenship is the epitome of disruption, and I pay homage to his strategies in leadership and breaking the norm,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech. “Businesses that think they can thrive by doing the same things again and again will not thrive and survive in this era of disruption. Our ONE conference this year is all about celebrating those who take risks and disrupt the norm.”
Blankenship pioneered Apple, Tesla, and GAP’s retail philosophies, transforming the customer experience. At Apple, he crafted one of the most dominant retail growth strategies in recent history, growing brand loyalty, and exponential profit. Then, at Tesla, Blankenship redefined the car buying experience, moving the Tesla brand into shopping malls, something never done before by a car manufacturer.
“I am thrilled to be here today,” said Blankenship. “Never ever let anyone get in the way of what you know is the right thing to do deep down inside. This conference is about the ONE thing that makes a difference.”
Blankenship shared his disruptive advice with the record crowd at ONE17:
• Pick ONE thing to focus on. That ONE thing could turn into something magical.
• Sometimes you have to think about doing the impossible.
• Have a simple message.
• Celebrate your successes and your failures.
• To change the world sometimes you have to do the impossible. It is not impossible; it just has not been done yet.
Follow highlights from ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference and join the conversation online with #ONE17.