Aaron Dignan Profile

Even successful companies are having difficulty dealing with new technologies that are disrupting their traditional processes. Aaron Dignan works with the leadership teams of many Fortune 100 companies to help them adapt and use new technologies to their advantage.

Aaron is co-founder of Undercurrent, a digital strategy firm with a global reputation. This reputation has grown solely by referral, as the company has a strict nondisclosure policy and shuns media publicity. Top end clients have included GE, PepsiCo, JWT/Ford Motor Company, Virgin, AB/InBev, Disney, HBO, LiveNation, Don Q Rum amongst numerous others.

Before founding Undercurrent Aaron was a co-founder of Brandplay, a brand strategy partnership. He began this endeavor while still a psychology student at the University of Colorado, developing early-stage brand planning and naming with many companies across the USA. The experiences of running many meetings and workshops have given him an expert insight into the best ways to build a consensus and to facilitate progress.

Aaron’s speeches are known for their energy, humor and honesty. His views on the implementation of digital technology and his of game theory in the workplace are invigorating and thought provoking. He has been asked to speak or run training sessions at GE’s Leadership Development Center, the CUSP Conference, the TED Conference, Digital Hollywood, Web 2.0, CommunityNext, Columbia College, The University of Colorado, Interesting New York and also at many of America’s most successful corporations. His book Game Frame: Using Games as a Strategy for Success was published in 2011.

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    Aaron Dignan is a well-kept secret in the world of digital strategy, working directly with many Fortune 100 leadership teams to help their organizations succeed in a world where digital forces are disrupting decades of tradition.

    Mr. Dignan co-founded the internationally recognized digital strategy firm Undercurrent with two partners, well-known blogger and World Economic Forum YGL Josh Spear, and Boulder-based entrepreneur Rob Schuham. Undercurrent has established a reputation as a premier digital strategy firm grown by referral alone due to an extreme non-disclosure policy and a resistance to press. Clients past and present include GE, PepsiCo, JWT/Ford Motor Company, Virgin, AB/InBev, Disney, HBO, LiveNation, Don Q Rum, and many others. With 24 consultants and growing fast, Undercurrent represents the largest collection of pure digital strategists in one place. While the firm typically eschews awards of any kind, its work with JWT/Team Detroit and Ford—called the Fiesta Movement—was awarded a Gold Effie. The shared vision for Undercurrent is to build an organization capable of solving the world’s most complex and challenging problems with a digital worldview.

    Prior to Undercurrent, Aaron Dignan co-founded Brandplay while still a psychology student at the University of Colorado at Boulder. As a brand strategy partnership, Brandplay focused on early stage brand planning and naming with clients across the United States. In this role at the helm of literally hundreds of group meetings and workshops, he mastered the art of facilitation and consensus building.

    Mr. Dignan is known as a dynamic, humorous, and strikingly honest presenter. He has been known to invigorate and confound audiences with topics like “Digital as a Force for Cultural Change”, “Lessons From the Fringe of Digital Trends”, “Design Without Intent”, “The Game Of Life”, and “Solving Problems With a Digital Worldview”. He has delivered speeches, presentations, and training at GE’s Leadership Development Center, the CUSP Conference, the TED Conference, Digital Hollywood, Web 2.0, CommunityNext, Columbia College, The University of Colorado, Interesting New York, and dozens of national brands.

    Aaron Dignan is the author of Game Frame: Using Games as a Strategy for Success.

Aaron Dignan Speaking Videos

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Aaron Dignan's Speech Descriptions

Aaron’s speeches and workshops build upon long experience of helping organisations and corporations to adapt to the disruptions of digital technology. Drawing on the lessons learned by his team of digital strategists he explains what we can expect in the digital future and how we can make it work for our success.

Aaron has been researching the new ways in which we play games for a new book, and has discovered not only that we all play more games than we realise but that productivity and creativity can be boosted by making the office, class or home environment more game like. Aaron can introduce you to this fascinating concept with a standard presentation or a longer two day Game Frame Workshop.

Lessons Games Teach Us About Enhanced Performance
Playing games is one of the most popular activities in our culture, generating tens of billions of dollars in revenue and absorbing literally billions of hours per week. Yet we still conceptualize games as frivolous and distinct from the meaningful activities of the real world. The truth is that human beings are built to play. Our brains are wired for the kind of experience that games provide, and play is just another word for learning, under optimal conditions. Looking around our world for signs of play, we begin to see games unfolding on top of everyday life. Boy Scouts earning merit badges and business travelers collecting frequent flier miles are behaving a lot more like gamers than we might expect. And this kind of thing is happening everywhere. So what does it all mean? It means that we’re capable of playing games with the systems that govern our real life activities, and that when we do, we’re more engaged, motivated, and likely to succeed. Aaron Dignan has explored this new breed of games in preparation for the release of his new book on the subject, and has returned with some lessons for anyone who wants to turn their office, classroom, or home into something more like a game.

Tapping Into the Digital Layer
The advent of an ever-present digital connection is like the moon landing of our age. Now anything is possible. Disruptive technology in nearly every industry is challenging assumptions about leverage, scale, and what it takes to be successful. Expectations—from consumers and the c-suite—are sky high. Success for large and complex organizations lies in their ability to adapt to these changes and use their scale to their advantage before it’s too late. Aaron Dignan works with global brands like GE and PepsiCo to help them make sense of a cultural transformation that is moving so fast, it’s a full-time job for the team of digital strategists he leads in New York. In this presentation, he shares and explains examples of innovations occurring at the fringes of the digital space, relates their underlying significance back to mainstream business, and shares a roadmap for succeeding in the digital age.

The Game Frame Workshop
The Game Frame Workshop will take your company through a crash course in tackling challenges at work from the perspective of game design. Participants will workshop existing business challenges and walk away thinking like a game designer—equipped with the seeds and buds of solutions. This two day workshop is broken up into three sections: Play, Learn and Design.

Day 1
Play: Teams get a chance to experience what's great about games first hand. We build a custom game designed to prepare your company for the rest of the workshop. Our custom built games are collaborative and inspire teams to test their skills with a variety of playful and active indoor and outdoor challenges, which culminate in a team-based competition to design a balsa wood structure that can withstand hundreds of pounds of pressure.

Learn: Participates become students in our Game Frame 101 speech and presentation. They'll learn what makes games fun, rewarding and popular, as well as how to apply the principles of gaming to alleviate boredom and other challenges of the workplace.

Day 2
Design: After reiterating our Game Frame methodology, small teams work together to tackle the real problems that face your company's business. By the end of this session, participates walk away with actionable game-like systems to improve their everyday workplace.

This two day curriculum can easily be customized and adjusted for a variety of venues and schedules by request. Rejuvenate your business, by taking it through the game frame. It's game time baby!

What People are Saying about Seeing Aaron Speak

Rating Entries

“The weekend was a great success and Aaron Dignan was wonderful. His presentation was inspiring and the team really found his work inspirational. He helped them crack open some tough challenges.”

“Aaron is one of the smartest thinkers around when it comes to digital technology and how to make it work for you. As a presenter, he’s equally well-versed in translating and communicating his insights in a way that is both entertaining and actionable.”
    General Electric

“Aaron Dignan was a hit! He brought his ‘A’ game and delivered to the attendees a memorable session.”
    Society for Human Resource Management

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Books by Aaron Dignan:

Game Change: Using Games as a Strategy for Success
Ever wonder why teens can spend entire weekends playing video games but struggle with just one hour of homework? Why we’re addicted to certain websites and steal glances at our smartphones under the dinner table? Or why some people are able to find joy in difficult or repetitive jobs while others burn out? It’s not the experiences themselves but the way they’re structured that matters. Illuminated throughout with a series of real-world examples and hypothetical scenarios, Game Frame promises a crash course in game design and behavioral psychology that will leave the reader—and, by extension, the world itself—more productive. Revolutionary, visionary, practical, and time-tested, Game Frame will change the way you approach life.

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