Training & Coaching

Training and Coaching Often forgotten imperative in Robert’s Rules of Innovation is TRAINING AND COACHING. Proper training and coaching in the new product development process is essential and the way to creative, reinforce and enhanced company culture and mindset. Effective training and coaching is one of the pillars of success to any sustainable Innovation program. Robert’s Rules of Innovation, the book, has more tips on training and coaching.

“Inciting Discovery, Inspiring Change” #CINONY

Earlier this month, Innovation Enterprise held a Chief Innovation Officer Summit in New York City. The Summit brings together innovation leaders from a range of industries to “incite discovery, inspire change & facilitate a cross-pollination of ideas”. Panelists from some of the most innovative companies such as Pfizer, Disney, Sony, and NASA discussed innovation best practices, innovation metrics, and breakthrough strategies.

One topic discussed at the summit was The Premature Extinction of the Chief #Innovation Officer. The chief Innovation officer or CINO is the person who is primarily responsible for managing the process of innovation.

Innovation executives are often the facilitator of change, and the leaders responsible for the development of corporate innovation culture.

Although I am a firm believer that the CEO must take the role of Chief Innovation Officer, in large corporations, it pays to have a CINO that works and drives innovation on a daily basis. Due to the fact that innovation is not always immediately tangible, it is important to continually re-evaluate the role and adapt to change in order to stay relevant.

Every successful business leader knows that innovation in business is essential, but the best way to engineer and sustain it is not always clear.

During the summit Luis Solis, President of Imaginatik highlighted four essential steps/measures to fortify the CINO position. These steps not only affirm the 10 imperatives of innovation as outlined in Robert’s rules of Innovation, but strengthen my resolve that successful innovation requires many different elements to cross the finish line ahead of your competition.

According to Mr. Solis, the best way to ensure that the role of the CINO does not follow that of the CKO is by doing the following:

  • Make Innovation Imperative: Language is crucial. Innovation cannot be an option, it must be a priority.
  • Show the Impact of Innovation: Visible Indicators of success need not only be monetary, your return on innovation can be changes in speed to market, patents, shortened cycles, and other measures. Remember that what gets measured gets done. Look for Leading and Lagging indications of Innovations as written about before.
  • Investment in people and time:  Educate your CFO about investing in innovation, so that you can invest in the people and time needed to make innovation happen. Create a culture around innovation. Educate and inspire.
  • Secure Institutional Trust: Stakeholders in your business must understand that innovation is a shared win. Your corporate culture must also take into account that without risk, there can be no innovation. Use Failure as a Learning opportunity.

You can learn more about the 10 imperatives of Robert’s Rules of Innovation here. Robert Brands is the founder of and the author of “Robert’s Rules of Innovation”: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival, with Martin Kleinman, published by Wiley.


Training and coaching for game-changing innovation

Innovate or die. Game changing innovation is hard. It is not simply the outcome of great ideas, but managing a holistic approach to innovate from start to finish.

Every successful business leader knows that innovation in business is essential, but the best way to engineer and sustain it is not always clear. Consider kick-starting your innovation effort with an innovation training workshop such as “Innovate to Thrive” by Brands & Company.  Innovate to Thrive helps leaders deliver profitable growth through sustained innovation by applying Robert’s Rules of Innovation™ to create and sustain “new” in business.


Innovation training will yield a company that collaborates more efficiently, implements new ideas more rigorously, and thinks more creatively. Proper training and coaching in the new product development process is essential and the way to create, reinforce and enhanced company culture and mindset.

It is not without  reason that Whirlpool Corp. considers Innovation Training & Coaching the key imperative to create and sustain innovation and the key to long-term success.

Read more about Training and Coaching for Game Changing Innovation Here:

Innova(T)ion – Wisdom in Training and Coaching

Why do so many companies falter, even while led by innovation champions and ceo’s that are inspirational, hard-working, smart, driven, and expend major time and effort trying to get it right?

One often forgotten imperative in Robert’s Rules of Innovation ® is TRAINING AND COACHING. Proper training and coaching in the new product development process is essential and the way to create, reinforce and enhanced company culture and mindset.

Proper hiring, training and coaching is essential to finding and keeping the right people for the right job – and having them trained in their role and processes on the NPD team in order to perform their personal best. According to Jeffery Pfeffer in “What were they thinking?,” poor business choices arise when leaders:

  • Fail to consider the unintended consequences of their actions.

For example: When companies get into thick water, the first things to go are usually research budgets, benefits, hours, and even staff. In the short run, this helps cash flow. However, in the long run you have a much higher chance of losing top performing employees and even customers when your quality, service, and innovation are sacrificed.

  • Rely on naieve theories of human behavior.

Many of the key reasons for derailed innovation programs tie back to culture, and to people related issues. Many executives fall prey to the idea that if you want employees to do their jobs well, you have to actively manage them and impel them by financial rewards or even threats. In reality, people have more than one motivating force, which is important to understand in order to achieve optimal performance. Financial rewards are always nice, but for some creative folks, recognition may be an even more powerful driver.

  • Ignore obvious answers

As Pfeffer says in his book, “Many principals governing organizational behavior are simple and powerful – but companies fail to capitalize on them”. One such example is managers that over multi-task while engaging in face time with their employees. Executives that arrive late to meetings, read emails during conferences, or looking through papers as they talk to employees, send a strong message that the employee, or the reason for the meeting is simply not as high priority as they next email or phone call.


Here are some Training and Coaching tips to help your product development process:

  • Over-Communicate – One big corporate myth repeated time and time again, is that over-communication is somehow unhelpful, or ineffective. I am convinced that you can almost never over-communicate. Share the good and the bad. Communicate what is working and not working.
  • The One-On-One Touch: Individual coaching provides the privacy and attention that breeds success.  I’ve found that discussions regarding areas for improvement are received and acted upon much better in a private session, away from peers listening in.  This can be especially critical with new employees and/or team members. When you are in a meeting, make that your priority. Treat your employees with courtesy and respect and you will earn their loyalty. Identify and support mentors and champions.
  • Basics First: Persistence Pays. Train for continues improvement and don’t forget to train the new comers. Make certain project management basics are taught, applied and re-taught.

For more information about Training and Coaching for sustainable innovation, see “Robert’s Rules of Innovation” by Wiley, March, 2010.



Innovation Leadership Re-invented.

Innovation is constantly taking place around us, from the mundane and simple, to the abstract and grand. Last night I was watching a video for Samsung’s newest screen prototype, the oled bendable plastic screen under the Youm brand name.

This morning I am sitting in a coffee shop using webbeams – free Wi-Fi provided with coffee drinker’s in mind. I especially love the language used on webbeams website. “Serious Coffee, Serious Wi-Fi. You have things to do and coffee to drink. The last thing you need is sad, sluggish, unresponsive Wi-Fi. Our Wi-Fi is always in a good mood, fast and reliable, so you can enjoy your drink while you do what you need to do.”

Today, reading this, I am reminded of the importance of creatives in business. By “creatives” I am referring to the highly charged creative people, who are often the source of truly momentous innovation breakthroughs.


How does your company foster innovation excellence?

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3 Strategies for Efficient and Effective Teamwork


You’ve just asked your employees to collaborate on an important group project. After taking time to photocopy a stack of handouts about the project, the group waits for a conference room to become available.

Finally seated around the table, the group stares down at their paperwork until the meeting disperses, not to meet again for days or weeks. At its bare essentials, the group project appears to be tedious and inefficient. But, by making a few simple changes, you can promote a creative and results-oriented teamwork process. We say, out with the rickety copiers and cubicles and in with efficient technology for easy and effective collaboration.

Save Time with Scheduling

If multiple groups and projects are using a single conference room or other space, put a room scheduling system in place so that everyone has an equal opportunity to utilize the space. Less time is wasted waiting for the room to become available and more time is devoted to getting work done.

  • If conference rooms are unavailable, consider using portable office partitions to temporarily sequester a part of the office for group work. You don’t have to permanently re-design the entire office; it takes little effort making the setup more flexible and conducive to a group environment.
  • Groups work better when they have a dedicated space to regularly meet. As an added bonus, the freedom to leave meeting notes, work samples, and project ideas in the space can “help teammates maintain a shared project mindset,” according to

Save Money with Technology

With the right technology in your office, you can increase group creativity, cost effectiveness, and productivity. Printing presentations and photocopying enough for the group costs time and money and creates waste. Using a projector to display a power point or presentation saves trees and changes the atmosphere of the meeting.

  • Projectors come in a wide variety of types and prices, from low-end laptop peripherals to high-end ceiling-mounted units. Choose the type that best fits the needs of your office, and it will pay for itself in increased productivity and efficiency.
  • With a projector in use, team members focus together on a single point of attention, emphasizing the collaborative nature of the project.
  • With the entire team focusing on the same information, questions and discussions quickly result. Discussing the presentation as a group “enhances the learning experience,” says one expert from

Promote Sharing with Software

Team members need to keep collaborating after the meeting is over. Tens or hundreds of documents and files can be emailed back and forth amongst members as changes are made, resulting in frustration and confusion over which file is the “right” one. Document sharing software keeps inboxes organized and final products safe.

Many document sharing programs are available for free and can be easily downloaded to your computer.

  • If already using Google, you can take advantage of their free Google Drive. In addition to sharing amongst a large group, Google Drive includes free file editing software. Group members can read and real-time edit files at the same time from different computers with no confusion over finding the “final version.”

When it comes to teamwork, it’s out with the old and in with the new. With the right tools and attitude, you can make employee teamwork more productive, creative, and easier than ever.

Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer for Resource Nation. She writes about small business, focusing on topics such as VoIP providers.




Innovation Myths Debunked

true-or-falseInnovation is key to a company’s survival, regardless of the size or type of organization. But there are many myths and common misconceptions when it comes to how innovation is achieved. Many people think innovation is all about generating ideas, or ideation. While it’s true that every innovation must start with an idea, it is actually the delivery and execution of processes that lead to sustained Innovation. In fact, when it comes to achieving a culture of innovation, execution may be the biggest challenge.

This Forbes articles offers some food for thought regarding other common myths about innovation:

1. A great leader never fails at innovation. This is certainly a myth because without risk, there can be no innovation and that means failures will inevitably come along the way. Innovation is too much for one leader to tackle alone, so in turn leaders should practice a tolerance for failure and an enthusiasm for risk taking throughout the organization. Make failure a learning experience!

2. Real innovation happens bottoms-up. Innovation efforts require a formal commitment of time and resources. Innovation needs ownership – a champion within the organization – to convince others to step up to the plate. Ideally, the innovation champion should be an officer or executive/management member with respect, authority and the time and passion to drive the project forward.

3. Initiating innovation requires wholesale organizational change. Actually, innovation only requires targeted change and it can be effective to use dedicated teams to take on the task. With the proper training and coaching, designated team members can structure innovative efforts.

Now that we’ve debunked some innovation myths, you may have some questions surrounding how to get started.

  • How do you set the policy?
  • How do you build a quality team and an environment that fosters teamwork?
  • How can you make organizational changes needed to facilitate your efforts?

The ten imperatives in Robert’s Rules of Innovation serve as a guide for starting, nurturing and profiting from a culture of sustained innovation in the workplace. Robert’s Rules of Innovation gives easy-to-implement and immediately useful ideas for setting and reaching goals like bringing “at least one new product per year to market.”

Gauging Your Organization’s Innovation Training and Coaching Program

ClassroomFor creating a company culture and mindset focused on innovation, it starts with proper training and coaching from the high ups of an organization. Team members need to be trained and coached to constantly improve their skill set, and this attitude should be continuously reinforced. It’s important for the entire company to be innovative, and not just a designated “Department of Innovation.”

Successful, sustainable innovation depends on a natural curiosity and open-mindedness from all members of an organization. To gauge your company’s training and coaching program, ask yourself:

Do you coach champions and project leaders?

Do you have standardized project management in place?

Do you constantly look for new ways to improve your products and processes – even the successful ones?

Do you share best practices among teams?

Setting these frameworks into place can help motivate your organization as part of an ongoing training program. Here are some tips for developing an effective training and coaching system.

  • Pick the right coaches. Not everyone has the psychological makeup to be the coach. Knowledge is key, obviously, but the coach needs to be able to motivate, create camaraderie, and evoke sense of selflessness.
  • The one-on-one touch. Individual coaching provides the privacy and attention that breeds success. I’ve found that discussions regarding areas of improvement are received and acted upon much better in a private session, away from peers listening in. This can be especially critical for new employees and/or team members.
  • The coach’s creed. The ideal coach has to have self-discipline, superior skill sets, a wide and deep understanding of the innovation program’s goals, and first tier communication skills, in order to address both group and one-on-one situations. A coach with these skills can quickly develop acolytes that, in time, become coaches themselves. And that is the dream scenario: the coach/leader who ultimately cultivates future leaders.

This should all be part of an ongoing process, and don’t forget to train any newcomers to the organization. For more tips on training and coaching, see “Robert’s Rules of Innovation: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival.”

How Coaching Leads to Sustainable Innovation

Successful and sustainable Innovation cannot be achieved without proper training and coaching from the leaders of an organization. Employees should be given the basic tools in the form of knowledge in order to create and improve their skill set. Any business can be optimized with the right Innovation coach to motivate and mediate employees. The ideal coach possesses a superior skill set and experience, a deep understanding of the innovation program’s goals, and they must be self-disciplined and a great communicator in order to reach all members of an organization in both group and one-on-one settings. Complementing and supporting the CEO or Chief Innovation Officer. When all the criteria are met, the ideal innovation coach develops employees into future leaders – and that is what sustains Innovation.

The most important job of the innovation coach is to create a holistic innovative environment, of “total” innovation and a sense of curiosity and open-mindedness among employees. It is their duty to motivate and to create an atmosphere of camaraderie where ideas are welcome. By giving employees just the right amount of support and motivation, an innovation coach can push the team towards their maximum performance.

Think about the amount of time throughout the workday that employees spend on their day to day duties versus how much time they spend on brainstorming new concepts and perspectives. When a team member does think of a new idea, do they follow through, or is it lost in the shuffle? That is why choosing the ideal coach is so important as part of the new product development process. An Innovation coach can implement structured repeatable processes that a team needs to sustain innovation, as well as provide feedback and support to all members of the team. In order to accomplish that, here are some coaching tips.

Share the joy. As well as the frustrations – communicate what is working and not working with your team.

Newbies count. Ensure that newcomers to the team, as well as new managers, are included in all training/coaching programs. Keep everyone on the same page.

The one-on-one touch. Individual coaching provides the privacy and attention that breeds success. Generally, discussions about areas of improvement are much better received when done privately and away from the ears of co-workers. These private coaching sessions can be invaluable in developing future team leaders.

Choosing the right leader is critical for your organization, and will result in a pattern of sustainable Innovation. For more Tips, see Robert’s Rules of InnovationTM by Robert F. Brands with Martin J. Kleinman, published in March 2010 by Wiley.

Continuous Training and Coaching is Essential to Innovation

In order for any company to meet its goals and to achieve sustainable Innovation , proper training and coaching is an essential though often overlooked imperative. But how can a New Product Development (NPD) team represent the philosophy of its organization if the attitude, culture and processes are not continually reinforced? Proper hiring, training and coaching is essential to finding and keeping the right people for the right job – and having them trained in their role and processes on the NPD team in order to perform their personal best.

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Innovation: Training & Coaching, Business Overlooked Imperative

Smart companies often pride themselves on training programs that introduce or enhance employees’ knowledge of corporate business practices. They promote mentoring initiatives that pair seasoned execs with rising talent. They create booklets or PDFs on corporate policy – and implore staff to read them.

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