Past Learning Themes 

Learning From Global Pioneers

AFIT inspires organizational transformation by fostering mind-opening learning experiences led by the world's most innovative and successful organizations. We partner with world-class thought leaders to expose our members and their teams to trailblazing ideas and strategies. This exposure is not just about gaining knowledge; it's about transforming perspectives, practices, and ultimately, organizations.

Here are some of the topics we've explored and learning partners who have guided our journey:

2023 | Finding the Future First: Building Breakthrough Innovations in Higher Education
Denver, CO
  • Larry Keeley, Innovation Scientist
  • OSF Healthcare
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Caterpillar

2022 | Talent & the Future of Work: Leading With Happiness and Humanity
Nashville, TN
  • Delivering Happiness - Jenn Lim and Sunny Grosso
  • GBMC Healthcare (a 2020 Baldrige Recipient)
  • San Antonio College, Alamo Colleges District (2021 Aspen Prize winner)
  • Great Place to Work®
2021 | Reimagination After Disruption
  • Microsoft
  • The Granger Network
  • IDEAS of Orlando
  • The Society of College and University Planning
  • Northwestern Michigan College

2020 | Embracing Disruption
  • Microsoft
  • United States Air Force Academy
  • Howard Community College (a Baldrige Recipient)
  • Cognizant Center for the Future of Work

2019 | Transformative Leadership & A Culture of Innovation - Creating a New Era
Plano, TX
  • Apple
  • Granger Network
  • Alamo Colleges District
  • Dallas Morning News

2018 | Transforming the Higher Education Business Model
Kansas City, MO
  • Business Innovation Factory
  • Children's Health Systems
  • Christensen Institute
2017 | Developing Talent for Organizational Transformation
Chicago, IL
  • David Horsager, Trust Edge Leadership Institute
  • Dr. JoAnn Sternke, Pewaukee School District
  • Jody Thomas, Texas Health Resources
  • Rob Elliott, Pondera Leadership Consulting
  • Vicki Rosenberg, Vicki Rosenberg & Associates

2016 | Demonstrating Value through Results
Denver, CO
  • United States Golf Association
  • Civitas Learning.
  • Intermark Group
  • National Higher Education Benchmarking Institute
  • Elevations Credit Union (a Baldrige Recipient)

2015 | Leading and Managing Change: New Paths and Opportunities
Dallas, TX
  • Prosci
  • City of Irving, TX (a Baldrige Recipient)
  • Houston Methodist
  • Complete College America

2014 | Creating a Culture of Engagement to Optimize Organizational Systems and Performance
St. Louis, MO
  • The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
  • Nestle Purina PetCare
  • Headwinds Ltd.

2013 | Using Systems Thinking as a Catalyst to Drive Breakthrough Change
Boston, MA
  • Center for Organizational Learning at the MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Northwestern Mutual Insurance
  • Bridgeway Partners
  • Creative Learning Exchange

2012 | Achieving Results Through Greater Accountability
Atlanta, GA
  • Partners in Leadership (PIL)
  • Kimberly-Clark Corporation

2011 | Strengthening and Sustaining Leadership Excellence and Organizational Creativity
Walt Disney World - Orlando, FL
  • Disney Institute/Walt Disney World
  • Montgomery County Public Schools
  • City of Coral Springs, Florida (a 2007 Baldrige Award recipient)
  • NASA

2010 | Achieving Performance Excellence: Accountability, Integration & Alignment
Ft. Collins, CO
  • Poudre Valley Health System (a 2008 Baldrige recipient)
  • Monfort College of Business, University of Northern Colorado (a 2004 Baldrige recipient)

2009 | How to Increase Innovation in Challenging Economic Times: Thinking Like an Innovator, Working like an Innovator, Teaming Like an Innovator & Playing Like an Innovator
Dearborn, MI
  • Sarah Miller Caldicott, Author, Innovate Like Edison
  • Richard Sheridan, Menlo Innovations
  • Paul Israel, Editor, T A Edison Papers at Rutgers
  • The Henry Ford: Greenfield Village & Menlo Park
  • Jai Menon, IBM
  • Mike Hardie, Director of Quality and Product Development, Ford Motor Company

2008 | Legendary Service, Engaged Employees, & Relentless Improvement
Sarasota, FL
  • Ritz-Carlton Hotels (a Baldrige Recipient in 1992 & 1999)

2007 | Organizational Sustainability and Social Responsibility
San Antonio, TX
  • Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker, Author, The Toyota Way
  • US Air Force Strategic Management Division
  • Fortune Magazine’s listing of the “100 Best Companies to Work for”
  • Goodwill Industries, Texas State Quality award winner
  • Northwest Vista College

2006 | Breakthrough Learning -- Creating Dramatic Improvements Through Innovation
Chicago, IL
  • Steelcase
  • IDEO
  • Richland College (Dallas, TX, Community College District)

2005 | 21st Century Student Learning Systems
Kansas City, MO
  • St. Luke's Health System (a 2004 Baldrige recipient)
  • The Boeing Company, Aerospace Group (a 2004 Baldrige recipient)
  • Northwest Missouri State University

2004 | Learning from Within
Tucson, AZ

A showcase of best practices from member organizations.

2003 | Capturing and Institutionalizing Innovations
St. Paul, MN
  • 3M Corporation
  • The Mayo Clinic
  • Sunny Fresh Foods
  • Time/Warner Cable

2001 | Organizational Assessment and Excellence
Dallas, TX
  • Karlee Industries
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Texas Nameplate Company
  • TD Industries

Evolution of Excellence 

Established in 1991, originally as the Continuous Quality Improvement Network (CQIN), our organization was born out of a vision to empower leaders in higher education with the knowledge and practices of continuous quality improvement, drawing insights from a variety of industries beyond academia. Recognizing the evolving landscape and the need for more dynamic, forward-thinking approaches, we rebranded in 2018 as the Alliance for Innovation & Transformation (AFIT). This strategic shift underscored our commitment to fostering rapid improvement and embracing larger, more transformative ideas, specifically tailored to address the increasingly disruptive challenges faced by colleges and universities in the modern era.