Alan Hoffman

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Researcher • Trainer • Idea Generator, Idea Generation, Perception Difference – Men & Women, Alan HoffmanPublic  Attitudes, Marketing Strategy, Drive Profits and Plug Holes,  Diversity – Latinos, Effective Presentations

Travels From: San Diego, CA
Fee Range:
Language: English, Spanish

 Biography

A graduate of Harvard, MIT, and Cornell, Alan S. Hoffman is an internationally-recognized speaker and expert in “out of the box” solutions to the problems faced by businesses and other organizations. Mr. Hoffman combines broad experience working with new ideas with notable skills as a presenter and humorist. He has keynoted at conferences and workshops in eight countries on four continents.

A pioneer in workshop-focused “rapid survey” techniques, Mr. Hoffman is an expert in understanding markets—how they’re structured and how individuals see, understand, and value their many options—and in helping organizations better understand and respond to their opportunities. Along these lines, he has conducted ground-breaking research into understanding how men and women see their surroundings differently, as well as into cross-cultural differences, particularly with and among Latin Americans.

Background Summary

▪  Graduate degrees from Harvard (Administration, Planning, and Social Policy) and MIT (Urban Studies and Planning) plus an undergraduate from Cornell (Social Sciences) coupled with a solid record of accomplishments.
▪  Demonstrated effectiveness as a cutting-edge researcher, innovative problem-solver, effective writer, and world-class presenter and trainer.
▪  Extensive international work experience in eighteen countries on six continents.
▪  Fully bilingual (English/Spanish), conversational in Portuguese, and knowledge of some French.

Key Skills

▪  Providing leadership in defining and achieving goals.
▪  Synthesizing and crystallizing broad inputs, giving groups focus and a clearer sense of purpose.
▪  Constructing compelling visions and overarching themes.
▪  Creating and delivering masterful PowerPoint presentations that excite, educate, and empower audiences.
▪  Working effectively with grass roots as well as the highest levels of political and business leadership.
▪  Crafting actionable market positioning and branding strategies.
▪  Devising and supervising cutting-edge market research and generating new and useful knowledge.
▪  Planning and conducting elite and specialized interviewing to uncover key frameworks and perceptions.
▪  Highly-motivated, self-directed, and effective on teams and working solo.

Sample Accomplishments

  Made ground-breaking discoveries in cross-cultural and gender differences:
•   Was the first to document that Native American students in western Canada were not just a “special needs” population, but a “gifted” one on a variety of measures;
•   Uncovered major differences in how women and men perceive and respond to their surroundings;
•   Discovered what the lead modeler on an underperforming toll bridge in Puerto Rico claimed was the first credible explanation of why people weren’t using the facility as projected.

   Invited year after year to keynote at conferences and workshops in Asia, Oceania, and all over North and South America.  Named the “Prince of PowerPoint” by nationally-syndicated columnist and author Richard Louv in a column in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

  Developed a compelling visionary concept, “The Arc,” that became the centerpiece of a Rand Corporation study on creating a viable Palestinian State (www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9119/index1.html).

  Published articles and columns in many publications, including an article in Mass Transit magazine, summarizing a major innovation study of mine, which was among the top three most downloaded articles they ever published.

  Discovery of the “AYF Factor” determining the success of new transit projects attracted major media attention in both New Zealand and Minnesota (www.3news.co.nz/Public-transport-good-enough-for-young-attractive-females/tabid/423/articleID/64878/Default.aspx, and www.startribune.com/local/south/27071819.html).

   Bicycled solo across the US (Ithaca, NY to Redding, CA) in 7.5 weeks, on a 12-speed bike, while writing my undergraduate Honors thesis and never paying a cent to spend a single night.

 Education

M.S.    Massachusetts Institute of Technology                                       Urban Studies & Planning (1996)
M.Ed.  Harvard University                                                           Administration, Planning, and Social Policy (1989)
M.s.    Florida State University                              Educational Foundations/International Development (1987)
B.I.S.   SCHOOL FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAINING                                                              International Studies (1985)
B.A.     Cornell University        Social Relations & Sociology, cum laude, with Distinction in All Subjects (1984)
Honors:  Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Quill & Dagger, FSU Fellow, Compton Fellow, and Roothbert Fellow

Work History

THE MISSION GROUP                                   San Diego, California; Across U.S.A.; Oceania; Latin America; Asia
Founder/Principal. Founded strategic planning firm specializing in transportation and urban devel­opment strategies. Conducted numerous projects in support of clients world-wide. Developed several metro-wide alternative rapid transit strategies/plans using state-of-the-art network concepts and market-focused services that were demonstrated to cost less to build and operate and attract more riders than existing plans. For the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (Las Vegas), successfully managed the creation of their adopted long-term plan by building cross-department teams and getting unanimous buy-in throughout the agency. (1996–present)

MIT CENTER FOR TRANSPORTATION STUDIES              Cambridge, Massachusetts; San Juan, Puerto Rico
Transportation Research Lab. Conducted transit market research study and developed positioning strategy to guide development of $1 billion metro rail system and restructuring of bus system in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (1994–1996)

INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK                         Washington, D.C.; Central America; Santo Domingo
Consultant. Conducted Central America strategy study and evaluated programs in the Caribbean. (1995–1996)

WORLD BANK, Latin American Technical Division                                                                Washington, D.C.
Staff Consultant. Conducted major regional study and recommended strategies for bank investments. (1994)

INCAE (CENTRAL AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION)                 Costa Rica; Nicaragua
Assistant Professor. Taught market research, service management, quantitative methods, and management decision-making. Institute specialist in survey design, program evaluation, organizational restructuring, and market research. Co-directed Revista INCAE, a major Latin American business review. (1988–93)

HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL                                                                                                                                                                   Boston, Massachusetts
Research Associate. Developed survey instruments for major Service Sector business study. (1989)

LEARNING SYSTEMS INSTITUTE—USAID/BOSTWANA JSEIP PROJECT      Tallahassee, Florida; Botswana
Acting Coordinator. Managed $6 million program, improved communications and achieved objectives. (1986–87)

Additional Experience

▪  Taught courses for UC Davis Extension (California), the New School of Architecture and Design (San Diego, California), and the Queensland Institute of Technology (Brisbane, Australia). (1992-1997)
▪  Developed university-level training programs in Puebla, Mexico, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. (1995–96)
▪  Conducted regional human resource planning studies for USAID in Nicaragua. (1990 & 1992)
▪  Worked as an independent Macintosh consultant to many firms in the Boston area. (1987-1989)
▪  Conducted training and research with Native American development agency in western Canada. (1984–85)

Associations And Memberships

Associate, CitiStates Group, the preeminent national think tank on issues of regionalism.
Associate, Idea Connection Systems, a leading firm in the field of organizational innovation.
Member, MENSA International.
Alumnus, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity (Beta Theta Chapter).
Past President, C3 (Citizens Coordinate for Century Three), a leading San Diego civic organization.
Assistant Scoutmaster, Boy Scout Troop #5, Bonita, California.

Topics 

Business

The Idea Generator Factory: Where Do Good Ideas Come From?
And How Do We Stop Shooting Them Down?

Businesses and other organizations are always looking for good ideas, big or small…yet so many organizational processes seem to shut down innovative ideas before they can be properly vetted. Smart organizations learn how to create safe places for ideas to germinate and grow, then survive on their own merits or possibly lead to even better ideas.

What Do Women Want?
How Men and Woman See Their Surroundings…Differently

It’s not just that women and men sometimes seem like they’re from different planets… the very way they see their surroundings can be very different. Alan Hoffman has conducted research on some of these differences and can share some surprising findings about how men and women can look at the same thing…and describe it in opposite terms.

The Four Frames:
How to Understand and Shape Public Attitudes Toward Change

Any organization working with the general public on major projects must contend with conflicting attitudes toward change. Alan Hoffman’s research on change has uncovered four frames that people adopt with which to see and understand changes to their environment. Smart organizations learn about these frames and how to work with them to build successful coalitions to get things done.

Marketing Strategy: Getting Smarter about Market Segmentation

Many companies engage in market research, but not all understand how their market is structured and where they can find new customers. In this presentation, Alan Hoffman shares his experience working with major market research efforts and shows how different approaches to market segmentation can yield actionable insights into what it is customers want and how to sell to them.

The Brilliant Service Sector Business:
How to Drive Profits and Plug Holes

Service Sector businesses face unique challenges, yet represent the fastest growing segment of our economy. In this presentation, Alan Hoffman shares a Harvard framework for identifying key issues, opportunities, and weaknesses in service businesses, and shows how these businesses can build their markets and ensure their success.

Cross-Cultural

How to Learn Spanish in Just 1,367 Easy Lessons

Spanish is rapidly becoming a global language of great importance. Yet many who set out to learn Spanish end up stumbling along the way. Alan Hoffman went from a typically monolingual English-speaker to advanced fluency in Spanish not by taking courses but by following some simple steps to internalizing and using Spanish—and having fun along the way. This humorous presentation takes a look at the differences between Spanish and English and highlights how a speaker of English can focus on what is essential in acquiring a working knowledge of Spanish.

They’re Not Just “Hispanics”: Understanding the Diversity of Latinos

Latin Americans are not a monolithic group, but instead come from many different countries with different values and preferences. Alan Hoffman has lived, traveled, and worked in many of the countries in Latin America and has conducted ground-breaking research into how some of these Latins view the world. Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans, Argentineans, Colombians… each country has a unique history and culture. This basic overview helps introduce the diversity of Latin Americans to a North American audience…or to other Latinos!

Presenting

The Effective Presentation, pt. 1:
Going Beyond Bullets in PowerPoint

The Effective Presentation, pt. 2:
Using Animations to Illustrate Ideas in PowerPoint

PowerPoint is, by far, the principle tool used to craft presentations. And while the software makes it easy for almost anyone to produce a graphically competent presentation, it takes a higher order of skill and experience to produce a great presentation. Alan Hoffman, whom nationally-syndicated columnist Richard Louv once dubbed “the prince of PowerPoint,” shares some of his techniques and approaches to creating effective presentations that engage audiences and produce greater degrees of buy-in.

Arts & Culture

Great Moments in Classical Music

As a lifelong lover of classical music, Alan Hoffman has delved deep into the classical repertoire and can share his love of the classics with passion and authority. For any group that would like an orientation to the whole of classical music or to a specific program, Mr. Hoffman can fashion a talk that combines humor with artistic sensibility and makes great works accessible and understandable to broader audiences.

Conference-Specific Services

RapidSurvey

I work with conference organizers to develop a survey of participants on a relevant theme, design the survey instrument, give the survey during the conference, and present back the results, with full charts and graphs, within one hour of receiving the completed survey forms. This service has proven highly useful in conferences and workshops where plumbing the insights, perspectives, knowledge, and thoughts of participants can lead to better focus and more relevance.

The Final Presentation

A celebrated tradition from Latin America, now available to American and Canadian workshops and seminars, the Final Presentation is a humorous look back at a conference or workshop, taking key themes, comments, and other highlights and packaging them into a comic overview of the proceedings. In addition to boosting morale and attention levels, the Final Presentation is also a clever means of emphasizing the key moments of the event and helping participants internalize the contents. Each Final Presentation is custom crafted based on the actual experience of attendees.

 

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