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American Management Association to Offer New Curriculum on Fostering Innovation; Inaugural Seminar Developed with Futurethink.

NEW YORK -- Curriculum Focuses on Leadership Role in Effective Workplace Innovation; AMA and Futurethink Research Identified "Corporate Climate" as Key to Innovation Success

American Management Association (AMA), a world leader in professional development and performance-based learning solutions, announces a new series of programs to help companies manage innovation and creativity at every level of the organization. The innovation curriculum will include seminars, Web-based programming and other resources and development materials. The inaugural course, "Leading Innovation: Creating and Sustaining a Climate for Growth," will be based on research and tools by Futurethink, an innovation research and consulting firm.

"In order to remain competitive in a global marketplace, U.S. companies must look at innovation as a business process that influences every aspect and segment of their organization," said Edward T. Reilly, president and CEO of American Management Association. "Through our use of Futurethink's practical, hands-on tools, AMA members and other interested organizations will understand the importance of taking 'intelligent' risks, develop the climate necessary to sustain innovation, and have the resources to put that into practice," Reilly said.

The two-day seminar will focus on dealing with the challenges of making innovation a part of everyday business. Designed for executives, directors and senior managers, attendees will learn from the best practices of leading innovators as they analyze their organization's current culture, prioritize strategic efforts and learn specific methodologies to create a climate for measurable and performance-oriented innovation. The first session will be offered at AMA's Executive Conference Center in New York City in November 2006 and will be expanded to other sites nationwide in 2007.

"To be effective, innovation needs to be given more leadership and less lip service," states Lisa Bodell, chief executive officer of Futurethink. The firm's Innovation Tracker(R) survey of more than 100 senior level professionals in the innovation field identified one common business practice among a list of 50 seemingly diverse firms. "These firms approach innovation as an overall business strategy with direct impact on financial stability and growth. Their leaders have created an environment that stresses calculated risk taking as standard procedure," emphasizes Bodell.

The program will help participants understand the real obstacles to innovation within their organizations, how to stimulate new ideas through an effective combination of recognition and reward, metrics to determine a "good" risk within a balanced innovation portfolio and the leadership competencies to make innovation organic and repeatable. Participants will learn the skills to help breed a work environment that results in increased profits, drives organizational growth and builds a more successful organization.

A recent study on innovation, commissioned by AMA and conducted by the Human Resource Institute, found that most of the focus on innovation in companies takes place in the area of research and development, suggesting that innovation is compartmentalized from the rest of the organization. To be effective, innovation must move beyond a series of creative pet projects and be a core function of the organization.

"This study identified that leaders can make or break innovation," advises Reilly. "They can either pigeonhole innovation or set the framework for it to occur at every level of their organization. Our responsibility at AMA, and the focus of the first program in our innovation curriculum, is to teach them how to effectively integrate innovation companywide into their everyday activities," he adds.

According to Futurethink, companies must focus their innovation efforts to include four things: ideas, strategy, process and climate. The right blend of these interdependent elements drives a company's overall innovation effectiveness. "The greatest idea in the world will remain merely an unarticulated thought if the corporate atmosphere does not support and actually invite intelligent risk-taking," emphasizes Bodell.

For more information about AMA's seminar on "Leading Innovation: Creating and Sustaining a Climate for Growth," visit http://www.amanet.org/go/innovation.

About AMA

American Management Association is a world leader in professional development and performance-based learning solutions. AMA provides individuals and organizations worldwide with the knowledge, skills and tools to achieve performance excellence, adapt to changing realities and prosper in a complex and competitive world. Each year, thousands of customers learn new skills and behaviors, gain more confidence, advance their careers and contribute to the success of their organizations. AMA offers a range of unique seminars, workshops, conferences, customized corporate programs, online learning, newsletters, journals and AMA books. AMA has earned its trusted reputation as a successful partner in worldwide professional education and development that improve the immediate performance and long-term results for both individuals and organizations. For more information, visit http://www.amanet.org.

About Futurethink

Futurethink was founded by 20-year corporate marketing and strategy veteran Lisa Bodell. Its clients include industry leaders such as Citigroup, MasterCard, Merrill Lynch and Westin Hotels and Resorts. Futurethink's diagnostic tools help companies identify weak aspects in four core innovation areas: ideas, strategy, process and climate. A wide array of research, tools, and services that make innovation both accessible and manageable are available directly on their Website at http://www.getfuturethink.com.

Futurethink also stresses that while having a strong internal foundation for innovation is critical, effective innovation should not occur in a vacuum. To help, Futurethink fieldtrips are a unique program that let clients think 'out of the box' by getting 'out of the office,' with hands-on exploration of the most current, real-world innovations, both in major cities and in their own backyards. Fuel for these fieldtrips comes from Futurethink's Snapshots, a sister website that is updated monthly with photographic tours of today's most innovative products and services.

Futurethink publishes the Innovation Tracker, an annual listing of the most innovative companies as determined by professionals in the innovation and allied fields of marketing and product development. The complete 2006 Innovation Tracker is available on the Futurethink site.
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