Thursday, April 20, 2006

SolutionPeople Helps Top Innovators

This week's issue of BusinessWeek magazine is all about innovation, a subject that is near and dear to my heart.

I've been blessed to work with SolutionPeople, an innovation and creativity company in Chicago, over the past couple of years and of the top 30 companies on BusinessWeek's list of the top innovators, SolutionPeople has worked with 15, and 8 of the top 10!

While SolutionPeople's effect is difficult to dispute, Own Your Brand points out a huge disparity in the numbers from the surveys. According to the report, 72% of senior executives say “innovation” is one of their top three priorities, while only 4% of North American business leaders rank “creativity and innovation” as the most respected leadership qualities within their organization.

What's wrong with this picture? As an innovation coach for SolutionPeople, it was my opportunity to work with people who had attended the training in order to support them, through ongoing coaching, in keeping their new ideas and new techniques alive in their workplaces where their co-workers - and sometimes even their leaders - didn't know how to support them in their new way of thinking.

I think this is true of any transformational opportunity - everything in our human nature wants to pull us back to the familiar and it's darn tough to stay in new mindsets over time.

This a perfect example of why coaching is so essential for any kind of change initiative, whether personal or within a business. By failing to plan, we really do plan to fail.

I'd love to tell you more about my experience with SolutionPeople and the successes - and challenges - of being an innovative thinker. It's so liberating to discover your own creative genius ... but so tough to have to sell it within an organization or even a culture that doesn't know how to support it. Tough, but certainly not impossible.


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