Thoughts from Cristina


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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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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Do you really need to be in trouble to want to change?


In a recent report published by Forbes on “Transformational Change”, the question if you can really drive transformation without the catalyst of facing a crisis is raised. A successful business transformation is defined as more than simply adapting to change: “it means rewriting business models or even reshaping your own industry”. This is what the hardware maker Apple did when you consider the role it played in the birth of the tablet computer industry and the revolution in smartphones; or what IBM did, when it decided to move from manufacturer to service provider. Both transformations were lead by the need to navigate stormy waters and come out of a crisis not only alive but stronger than ever. Why would a company decide to mobilise resources to transform itself and face the unknown when things are going well? We believe that waiting for troubled times before moving towards change might be even riskier. Certainly, getting everyone to engage in a major change can be easier when the survival of the company is at stake and when the alternative to change is a fast and premature death. However, at a time of crisis, the company’s resources are already weakened and the pressure to change might lead to not well-thought through solutions. Indeed, research conducted by Mckinsey shows that what they call “defensive transformations (those undertaken to stem trouble) have lower success rates than progressive ones (launched, for instance, to boost growth or to move from good to great performance)”. Therefore, welcome to the ambition and curiosity to improve the status quo and explore new territory. If you take the time to appreciate what you already have, take stock of your assets and strengths and celebrate your success, it will not do you any harm to capitalise on your strengths and good results to look at what else you could be doing and do even...

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Why is a box of books like a new baby?


When we received  our authors’ copies of Coaching for Innovation earlier this week , shortly after publication on 2nd May, 2104, it was an occasion for celebration. After two years of hard but enjoyable work, our “baby” had finally arrived. All we could think of was the achievement. We savoured the moment and we are now looking forward to bringing up the baby with your support and encouragement. We are grateful to all those who have helped us so far in making this birth...

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