Does your organization need more innovation and entrepreneurial activity?
For nearly 50 years Innovation Associates has helped Fortune 500 companies get at the source of achieving extraordinary results and innovating beyond the bounds of their traditional businesses. We pioneered the field of organizational learning and we apply that expertise to help our clients:
Become more entrepreneurial and innovative
Successfully navigate uncertainty
Develop exemplary leaders for turbulent times
Develop teams capable of achieving breakthrough results
Our clients have ambitious goals yet are faced with these all-too-familiar problems:
Early stage projects get stifled or mired in bureaucracy
Rigid financial or market requirements scuttle otherwise promising new products or services
Ideas with great potential seem to get shot down too early
Innovative actions get bogged down in labored and lengthy decision-making
Improvements in system performance require collaborations across organizational boundaries
These problems can be a consequence of treating an uncertain, unpredictable world as if it were predictable. When faced with highly unpredictable situations, you need a different approach, one that enables rapid and effective action.
Growth, innovation, flexibility and agility require a different approach. When driving people to change their strategies and behaviors no longer works, substantial improvement will occur only when people change the thinking that informs their strategies and actions.
Innovation Associates' methods foster the mindsets and skills that lead to extraordinary results. We are experts in how organizations embrace new modes of thinking and put that thinking into action. These methods result in spirited, swift, entrepreneurial action across your entire organization, particularly in the face of uncertainty and volatility. Learning occurs at a deep, permanent level.
Through IA's consulting services and leadership development programs:
Our clients achieved aspirational goals and built lasting capabilities to continually evolve and change.
Their people advanced new ideas, took initiative, became smarter and more creative, and effectively navigated the complexity of thier organization and its business environment.
Their teams aligned around a shared vision and inspired and evoked support from those around them. They operated efficiently with well-honed meeting and decision making skills.
Leaders elicited entrepreneurial activity and created cultures conducive to innovation.
You may also reach former Innovation Associates staff members directly through their LinkedIn accounts:
Charles Kiefer: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charliekiefer/
Joel Yanowitz: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joel-yanowitz-b4711/
Sherry Immediato: https://www.linkedin.com/in/c-sherry-immediato-141993/
Mike Goodman: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-goodman-5a38a13
David Peter Stroh: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-peter-stroh-9bb872b/
Or on the Innovation Associates company page at Linked In.
History of Innovation Associates
IA was founded by Charles Kiefer in 1975 to help large, technology-based companies improve their innovation processes. The firm’s initial clients were Exxon, Digital Equipment and a number of Massachusetts high-technology firms. The company’s work led to dramatic improvements in both the level of innovation and in reducing innovation cycle times.
In 1978, the company determined that the key factor in innovation success is the development of high-performing teams. Over the next two years Kiefer was joined by David Stroh, Michael Goodman, Joel Yanowitz, Sherry Immediato and others. They developed Visionary Planning, a three-day educational program that enabled teams to achieve high performing states and it was in this course that the concept of Shared Vision was first introduced. In 1979 Kiefer and Peter Senge received the George and Cynthia Mitchell Prize for a paper that included the first report of the use of shared vision in business organizations.
Visionary Planning was a great success but the company discovered that high performance could be amplified and sustained through great leadership. As a result, in 1979 Kiefer conceived of a new approach to leadership training. He collaborated with Senge and Robert Fritz to develop Leadership and Mastery (L&M), a three-day, experiential course that grounded leadership as a state of being based on personal vision and understanding systemic structure. L&M met with great market acceptance and over the next 20 years, by word of mouth alone, “graduated” over 8000 alumni from publicly offered versions plus thousands from in-house versions that were offered by companies such as Procter & Gamble, British Petroleum, Coca Cola, Kraft/General Foods, Norwest Bank (now Wells Fargo), WW Grainger, and many others.
Throughout the 1980s, the firm pioneered the body of concepts and methods which Kiefer and Senge initially termed Metanoic Organizations in their Mitchell Prize winning paper. These methods enable large organizations, across all industries, to innovate and change from being driven by circumstance and managed through compliance, to being characterized by aspiration and deep commitment.
In 1990 Senge published his landmark management best seller The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization based, in part, on the work of IA staff, and on which, IA’s consulting and training work continued through the 1990s. Over this period Senge and others published a number of successful sequels to The Fifth Discipline and, in addition to Senge, Fritz and Kiefer, the firm attracted many other thought leaders in organization development, most notably Richard Beckhard, Dave Berlew, Roger Harrison and David Kantor. The IA staff made significant contributions to the post-Fifth Discipline organizational learning literature including the pioneering of systems archetypes and educational programs in systems thinking.
By 1995, IA had a staff of 60 people and offices in the United States and Canada. It was then acquired by the worldwide consulting firm, Arthur D. Little, Inc. and after a couple very successful years operating as a relatively independent subsidiary, it was folded in to ADL’s Global Management Consulting activities. In 2002 Kiefer retrieved the Innovation Associates name from ADL's bankruptcy in 2002.
IA’s classic Learning Organization work continues under the leadership of Michael Goodman & David Peter Stroh and the Society for Organizational Learning founded by Senge. Other IA staff continue consulting and training services in organizational learning while branching out into other areas: