Reflecting and Refreshing

16 December 10

The New Year is just around the corner. While we at futurethink tend to look towards the exciting opportunities that lie ahead, in December it’s always nice to stop and reflect. Now is the perfect time to look back on the past year and think about what we’ve accomplished, what we’ve learned, and what we’ll change the next time around.

It’s been a busy year at futurethink, from releasing new courses and proprietary research to earning recognition from trainingindustry.com as one of the ‘2010 Leadership Training Companies to Watch’. We launched our blended learning curricula to provide top-notch innovation training with maximum flexibility and increased interactivity. The feedback has been fantastic. Many of you have experienced these engaging programs, which tackle a range of innovation topics through eLearning, webinars, and workshops. Look for more programs that address specific innovation needs next year. Read the rest of this entry »

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Climate Control: Netflix on Corporate Culture & Innovation

27 August 10

“Our model is to increase employee freedom as we grow, rather than limit it, to continue to attract and nourish innovative people, so we have a better chance of long-term continued success.”

— Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

To become more innovative, companies need to cultivate the key elements necessary for innovation— one of which is an innovation-friendly culture. To build a corporate climate that truly fosters innovation, you must be able to encourage smart risks and energize your workforce. Netflix, one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 fastest growing companies of 2010, does exactly this by promoting a culture of freedom and responsibility from the top down. The company’s commitment to these principles goes far beyond just a values statement chiseled in marble.

• Freedom — Netflix does not have a vacation policy and doesn’t track vacation time. Employees may take as many vacation days as they feel they need. When it comes to expenses and business travel, the only rule is to “act in Netflix’s best interests.”

• You Have to Believe — Netflix also requires that all employees take responsibility for contributing to the company’s success. High performers are substantially rewarded and the merely adequate are quickly let go.

Sound harsh? According to Hastings, “We need a culture that supports rapid innovation and excellent execution. Both are required for continuous growth. There is tension between these two goals: between creativity and discipline.”

How has balancing creativity and discipline paid off for Netflix? Read the rest of this entry »


Think Small For Big Ideas

30 July 10

Is your company too big to innovate? For some organizations, size and structure can stifle employees’ creative spirits. That’s why many large organizations are turning to start-ups for training in innovation, agility, and how to think like an entrepreneur.

Here are a few lessons that the Fortune 500 can learn from the little guys:

1. Stay Close to Your Customers – Most great business stories start with an entrepreneur who passionately wants to solve a problem. Often, it’s a problem that the entrepreneur shares, so he knows his target customers intimately. As a company scales, senior managers interact with customers less frequently and often lose touch with their day-to-day needs. Read the rest of this entry »


Do You Need an Innovation Coach?

7 July 10
innovation coach

Photo Credit: Penn State Department of Public Information

The world’s greatest athletes and business leaders rely on coaches to maximize their performance, so imagine how much more creative and productive you could be with a little outside support, motivation, and accountability.

The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

Beyond that, coaching can take many forms. Coaches help their clients set and achieve goals — any goals. You can find a coach to help you improve your work performance, find a new career, get in shape, take control of your finances, finish your novel, rev up your dating life, or kick a bad habit.

But can a coach make you more innovative? Absolutely. A coach can provide the structure and accountability you need to tap into your true creative potential.

  • In your typical hectic workday, how often do you find time to venture outside your comfort zone, brainstorm with new contacts with new perspectives, or just take a few quiet  minutes to think? A coach can help you build time and space for innovation into your schedule.
  • When you do identify a new idea with potential, are you able to follow through? Are you missing opportunities? A coach can be an accountability partner to assist you with prioritizing your goals and taking the right action steps.
  • Do employees at your company truly understand how to put the principles of innovation into practice in the real world? A coach can provide structured processes, feedback, and support for those new to innovation techniques.

So You Want to Hire an Innovation Coach

How do you find the right coach to help you achieve your goals? Here are three important factors to consider when selecting your coach: Read the rest of this entry »