Innovation


Coaching for Innovation features in Bilan magazine


On 2 September 2015, the Swiss bi-weekly financial magazine Bilan has published the article “L’innovation est à la portée de tous” (Innovation is for everyone) written by Annick Noirfalisse and based on an interview with Cristina and Maureen as co-authors of Coaching for Innovation. The article highlights the four steps anyone can take to foster innovation: Demystify innovation for yourself and others. Become aware of the fact that innovators have certain behaviours in common that you can practise and strengthen in yourself. Understand what it means to step into a coaching role and the subsequent impact this has on driving innovation. Strengthen your questioning and listening skills and apply them to regular coaching conversations at each step of the innovation process. Maureen and Cristina emphasise that you do not need to be either a born innovator or a professional coach to use coaching to drive innovation. You need the right attitude, behaviours, skill set and a ready supply of tested and practical coaching models. Coaching opens the door to creativity, fosters great work and leads to the kind of bigger thinking that is essential for innovation. During challenging times, fostering a culture of idea generation and going beyond the obvious is not just a choice, it is a must. Coaching can be used as the trigger to tap into the hidden creative potential of people, teams and even yourself because of the multiple options that are generated. The article also covers the co-authors’ opinion on Switzerland and its attitude toward innovation. They say: “We don’t think that Switzerland is resting on its laurels in terms of innovation and creativity. On the contrary, we think this country is more active than ever in its search and drive for innovation. Among our Swiss based clients, we perceive a high level of awareness that Swiss made is not enough anymore. Excellent quality can be easily found outside of Switzerland and at a much cheaper price.  There is no complacency about the success they have had so far, only a sense of purpose in continuing to find new ways to differentiate themselves from the...

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The difference between invention and innovation


At the end of a workshop on innovation which I recently facilitated with my co-author Maureen, I was asked about the difference between invention and innovation. I answered to the best of my knowledge by expressing what I know and think on the subject. Willing to investigate the matter further, I later searched the web to find out if there was a common understanding on these two terms. Well, I found out there is not. As a matter of fact, it seems to me that the difference between invention and innovation is a matter of opinion. So let me share mine with you. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the term invention comes from the Latin verb invenire: to devise, discover, find something new; whereas innovation comes from the Latin verb innovare: to renew, restore, change, meaning make changes in something established. It would therefore appear that invention is the brilliant, stroke of genius that discovers something new that did not exist before; the famous and so much looked for breakthrough. Innovation, on the other hand, would then be the progressive work of improvement to already existing things. Having said this, when you think about how the two terms have evolved in time and how they are used today, innovation has assumed a larger meaning than its etymology implies. Today, it incorporates both the concept of breakthrough and progressive improvement. Conversely, invention has kept its character of a single act of creating something new. That something new does not necessarily or automatically possess any commercial value or stimulate the interest of people who might use it and benefit from it. An invention is often just the first step. You need the far longer term process of innovation to ensure that it changes people’s habits and replaces old behaviours with new ones. This is exactly what you see when you go and visit an exhibition like the 43rd International Exhibition of Inventions which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 15-19 April 2015: an extraordinary, kaleidoscopic and fascinating gathering of industrial and commercial companies, universities, inventors and researchers, associations, private and state institutes that present their inventions, the results of their research and their new products. You will find hundreds of great, odd, funny, serious, and sometimes puzzling ideas and a world of vibrant energy which is bound to stimulate your brain cells and entertain you. Even if you might wonder how many of those inventions are really useful and how many will make a difference, you will still come out of it feeling inspired and in awe of so much...

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Unleash the innovator inside


Have you ever wondered how to tap into your creative potential and unleash the innovator inside? On Thursday 23rd April, Maureen and Cristina co-facilitated an interactive session for the BPW Lake Geneva Club. Focusing on the key behaviors and skills that innovators have in common, the aim was to provide valuable insights into how everyone can become more innovative. Overcoming the barriers to being innovative is crucial to being better prepared for those critical workplace challenges when you have to go beyond the obvious and come up with new ideas, processes, and products. Participants at the evening’s event were encouraged to tackle the myths related to innovation and to assess their own Innovator Behaviours. Why not check your own Innovator Behaviors with our test? BPW Lake Geneva was launched on January 28, 2010. It is the first English speaking Business Professional Women (BPW) Club in Switzerland.In keeping with the tradition of being the leading professional association. BPW is fully committed to promoting & empowering women in business....

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Foster a culture of innovation


We like to be creative about how we communicate with you  – take a few moments to watch our slide show with some food for thought about how you can foster a culture of innovation. If you behave like an innovator, you WILL become a catalyst for bigger thinking in yourself and others.   https://www.coachingforinnovation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Coaching-for-Innovation-SD-480p.m4v You will also find this slideshow on YouTube If you want to find out how good your current innovator behaviors are, then Check your Innovator Behaviors with our quick and easy test....

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Management Book of the Year


The competition is organised by the Chartered Management Institute in association with the British Library and is sponsored by Henley Business School.  The aim is to identify a book that has the potential to transform the effectiveness of working managers or equip students for future management roles. Now in its fifth year, the competition was launched in 2010. Hundreds of books are entered annually in each of the five categories. These are whittled down to a long list and then a short list and then five category winners before an overall winner is recognised as ‘Management Gold’ – the very best in management writing. Coaching for Innovation was entered in the category “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” which looks for work that, in the opinion of the judges, will best inspire innovation, encourage business or product development or support organisational development and adaptability. We are very happy that Coaching for Innovation made the long list – this is quite an achievement considering the number of entries.  Although naturally disappointed that our book was not short-listed, we wish everyone the best of luck and look forward to reading and learning from this great range of books and talented authors. You can find out more and put together a great reading list on the Management Book of the Year...

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Food for thought


A casual Sunday morning read of Vanity Fair has lead me to discover that a new book “The Innovators” has just been published by Walter Isaacson, who previously wrote a biography of Steve Jobs. Reading the early reviews, it could well be that this book will become an indispensable guide to the digital revolution and the dawn of the age of computing. The article in Vanity Fair makes some great points that support very nicely all of the conclusions that Cristina and I came to when writing “Coaching for Innovation”: Innovative thinkers cross thinking boundaries. Isaacson says that it is where disciplines such as art and science cross over that the imagination is stimulated. Creativity is a collaborative process – innovation is more like a team sport than a lonely marathon. There is nothing better for the creative  process than people actually coming together in person in a space that promotes real conversation and idea sharing. Ideas have to be followed up and executed – Isaacson says that “vision without execution is hallucination.” For those of you interested in finding out more about how to make innovation happen, it should be an interesting read. It’s also just been added to my list of books to buy!...

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