RTM Lunch & Learn: Shift Your Company’s Innovation Culture

Event Type

Managing Innovation and R&D, Knowledge Management, Leading Innovation Organizations

Christian Crews, Andrea Kates and Jim Euchner will discuss their approach to creating and nurturing a Culture of Innovation that uses time-tested lessons from the Hero’s Journey and real-world examples.

In an RTM Lunch & Learn on Friday, December 9 at 12 PM EST, the authors will share why companies need a new style of leadership capable of shaping culture to emergent needs. They will explain why leaders will be best able to tackle volatility and shape culture if they understand the lessons that communities learned about societal change over thousands of years of human history. There are four phases of innovation culture change outlined in The Hero’s Journey: 

  1. The Call to Adventure: Observe Situations and Interactions––Leaders recognize that something in their innovation process is not working, and they must observe situations and interactions to find the problems.
  2. Crossing the Threshold: Excavate Beliefs Driving Resistance––Problems with innovation often stem from beliefs people have about the existing corporate culture. Leaders need to diagnose what beliefs the organizational culture already has that are inhibiting positive change.
  3. Challenge and Change: Design Interventions––Leaders enter a learning phase of piloting different ways of shifting culture through their own actions and behaviors that address organizational barriers. 
  4. The Return: Activate and Reinforce with Small Steps––Leaders need to scale what they have learned and apply it broadly across the organization.


They will present how these lessons embodied in The Hero’s Journey can be applied to intervene in corporate innovation cultures to create an ongoing facility for change, illustrated with corporate examples. They will also answer participants’ questions.

About their paper:

Lunch & Learn registrants will receive a copy of the authors’ paper, “Innovation Culture and The Hero’s Journey.” Their paper was published in RTM Volume 65, Issue 6. 

Andrea Kates

Innovation Thought Leader

Andrea is an expert at corporate strategy, transformation, and innovation. She has led growth initiatives in virtually every sector, including mobility, manufacturing/energy, technology, health care, B2C consumer goods/hospitality, and financial services. She published her original research in cross-industry growth in her book Find Your Next and in her masterclass series, Get to Next. As CEO of the San Francisco SaaS software company, she pioneered the application of Lean Startup with scale-up and large companies. akates@suma.com

Jiim Euchner

Jim Euchner


Outside Insight Consulting, LLC

Jim Euchner is Visiting Professor at Aston Business School (UK) and Editor in Chief of Research-Technology Management, a peer-reviewed journal for practitioners of innovation, technology and research management. He was previously Vice President of Global Innovation at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, where he led the development of new businesses and helped launch four businesses on three continents.  Prior to his work at Goodyear, Jim held positions as Vice President of Growth Strategy and Innovation at Pitney Bowes, Inc. and Vice President, Network Systems Advanced Technology at Bell Atlantic (now Verizon).     Jim has worked in the field of intelligent systems for over 25 years. In his consulting practice, he helps companies to implement businesses enabled by emerging technologies, including AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), automation, and predictive analytics. He helps companies to move quickly and in a disciplined way from concept to cash.  Areas of focus include the use of lean startup approaches in large organizations, business model innovation, and the challenges manufacturers confront in moving to services-led business models.    Jim is industry co-chair of the Aston Advanced Services Partnership and past member of the Scientific Advisory Council for the Nissan Autonomous Vehicle program. He is also a co-founder of the MIT Innovation Laboratory, a consortium to nurture innovation in organizations. Jim has published and spoken extensively on innovation and technology management. His google scholar page can be found at http://tinyurl.com/google-scholar-JimEuchner    Jim received his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in mechanical and aerospace engineering and his Master of Science degree from Princeton University, where he was a Guggenheim Fellow.  He also holds an MBA from Southern Methodist University. He has received several awards for his work in AI, including two selections as Innovative Applications of AI, the Carnegie Mellon University/AMS Award for Managing Information Systems, and the Franz Edelman Award (finalist).  

Christian Crews

Christian Crews



Christian Crews has over 20 years of experience applying foresight to innovation, research and development, and strategy for large corporations and professional membership organizations. He is the Principal of Wavepoint, a foresight services agency based in Washington DC.   Selected clients include Clorox, CVS, PepsiCo, Diageo, Crown Equipment, Hershey, Disney and Goodyear.  Christian also led collaborative foresight projects for Innovation Research Interchange, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Institute of Food Technologists. Prior to his consulting career held foresight, strategy, and growth positions at Toshiba Industrial Corporation, Waitt Institute, Pitney Bowes, and Kalypso, as well as merchandising and management roles at Hechinger Co., a former $2 billion retailer.  He writes the Futures Praxis column for the journal Research-Technology Management and is a founding member and previous board member of the Association of Professional Futurists.  Christian holds an MS in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and a BA in English from the College of William and Mary.  

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