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Executive Coaching Services

Innovation Acceleration Program

Client Review  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This was a very comprehensive course with an excellent consolidation, explanation and emphasis on basically every skill necessary to create high performance teams at all levels, both as a leader and team member. This is quite honestly one of the most useful, interesting, and practical training classes I have attended during my 22 years with NASA. I wish this training were available to every employee, because of the importance of the skills taught and the strong emphasis on enabling successful teams.

The instructor did an excellent job of encouraging interaction at all levels … and shared interesting, invaluable examples and thought-provoking ideas based on experiences at NASA and on a personal level. This class is outstanding!

– Supervisor, NASA

Don’t Become Blockbuster

In 2000, Netflix executive Marc Rudolph and business partner Reed Hastings offered to sell Netflix to the video rental giant for $50 million. Blockbuster nearly laughed them out of the room.

Blockbuster went on to toy with innovating their offerings — starting their own version of online rentals, even dropping late fees; however, in 2007, they went right back to the old way of doing business — putting their online rental project on the back burner and reinstating the unpopular late fees.

At that time, Blockbuster couldn’t imagine what was right around the corner — even as Netflix continued to steadily prove out their new concept.

Fast forward to today — Blockbuster is bankrupt, Netflix is valued at more than $272B,  and there is only one remaining Blockbuster store open in the entire world.

From Blockbuster to Blackberry to the recording industry to many other examples across industries, lack of innovation can cripple or kill organizations.

Has Your Team Lost the Drive to Innovate?

Maybe it’s bureaucratic red tape. Maybe it’s a creeping sense (real or perceived) throughout your organization that new ideas are not welcome. Or maybe your team has simply become comfortable maintaining the status quo … and lost their spark and drive to make meaningful change.

Innovation is not a nice-to-have in today’s modern business environment — it is increasingly becoming table stakes in order to survive and thrive. As technology rapidly advances, business leaders realize they must stir creative thinking and support the innovative mindsets and practices needed to meet market demands. Too many businesses and organizations have gone the way of Blockbuster — ignoring the need to innovate until it’s too late to recover.

This is why innovation is currently a top-three priority for more than 75% of companies surveyed by Boston Consulting Group — up from only 65% in 2020.

It’s Time to Stir Up Innovative Thinking

When is the last time your team rethought how you do business, either to mitigate risk or to simply push the boundaries of what you thought was possible? Our consulting team currently works with NASA and many other leading public and private organizations to assess, diagnose, teach, and train leaders and teams in the practical skills for innovation acceleration.

Accelerating Innovation at NASA

For example, we work with NASA’s project and engineering leaders to instill multidisciplinary techniques and methodologies for infusing advanced technologies and enabling accelerated development. Additive manufacturing, structured light scanning, wireless avionics and advanced analytical tools are re-shaping the entire product life cycle, enabling dramatic reductions in development cost and schedule. However, aerospace industry is particularly susceptible to unintended barriers to innovation created by misinterpreted risk posture.

Barriers such as the proliferation of processes & controls are disguised as mission success protocol, yet drive significant overhead, with little new understanding of risk. An empowering, trusted leadership team is key to navigating the challenges of embracing uncertainty associated with learning, while remaining vigilant with lessons of highly visible experiences like Space Shuttle, Challenger and Columbia tragedies.

Training to Disrupt Old Ways of Thinking with Process-Driven Outcomes

Our training participants develop tactical knowledge through exercises and case studies, while developing deeper understanding of imbedded organizational culture barriers and natural human neurologic drivers for safety and control (why we are motivated to keep things as they are).

Only a culture where learning and openness is valued is capable of encouraging the curiosity and social awareness necessary for infusing innovation with hard-won experiential knowledge. Understanding stakeholder expectations in today’s evolving public private partnerships is a key to successfully driving “decision velocity” through targeted modeling, test and analysis. Leadership social & emotional intelligence skills are critical for tempering data and logic with experiential intuition and enabling mission success.

Innovation Acceleration Course Modules

Our courses are delivered by industry-leading experts with decades of experience leading large organizations. See below for a variety of topics we cover in this training series (available as half day and full day options covered in as short as two days or as long as several weeks):

  • Creating High Performance Environments – Empowerment Situational Leadership Model; Seduction of Success; Hero Culture; Unconscious Mental Drivers; Data vs. Knowledge; Managing Mental Models
  • Development Cycle DNA – Creating innovative environments navigating the dichotomy of development to operations
  • Embracing Risk Conundrum – Challenging defensiveness of status quo; analysis paralysis vs methodical uncertainty decision; inquiry and advocacy
  • Success through Failure – Smart failure approach, managing stakeholder expectations
  • Communication and Language Barriers – Aggressive listening; Inquiry & Advocacy model; Death by meetings; Creative conflict; Neurology of Trust; Defensiveness; Triggers & Traitors
  • “Skunkworks” Effectiveness – Complex systems integration, Empowerment & Engagement; process vs product focus
  • Requirements or “Desirements” – Knowing customer; margin amplification; rigorous flexibility; appropriate schedule pressure
  • Creating Decision Velocity – Mission Focus, Infusing emotional, social intelligence with experiential intuition; Logic and intuition
  • Authentic Leadership Skills – Developing Self and Social Awareness; Coach Approach; Personality & Myths; Radical collaboration; International Value Propositions; Inhibitors; Risk Leadership; Clear Expectations; Crucial “A”ccountability
  • Engine of Possibility – 3 Keys to sustaining success with high reliability systems; How to Embrace Uncertainty; Safety Nets

Client Review ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“We overcame so much doubt, rejection and negativity to build trust, lasting relationships, manage change, and improve our overall culture, and finished with our best year ever.” 

— General Manager, Stryker

Contact Us Today to Launch Your Innovation Acceleration Program!

Take the first step toward making change — get in touch with us so we can learn more about your organization and goals. Call us at (866) 488-9228 or fill out a contact form. HigherEchelon offers a variety of professional development programs and services to help organizations perform at their highest level.

What makes HigherEchelon’s human capital services and training services exceptional? Our people and our approach.


Chris Singer, NASA deputy Chief Engineer (retired), is responsible for creating an integrated, collaborative, engineering capability across 10 agency field centers to encourage an in innovative culture for space exploration systems development. He has distilled 34 years of systems development experience and dozens of leadership development training seminars and personal growth workshops into the HigherEchelon Innovation Acceleration program. As Director of Engineering at Marshall Space Flight Center, he re-engineered an organization of 2500 engineers, scientists and technicians responsible for design, testing, and operation of a diverse portfolio of aerospace systems from advanced rocket engines to space telescopes. He led engineering thru extremely challenging times including Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy/recovery, and the termination of two major programs, ($4B) Constellation and Space Shuttle.


Our team of trainers and executive coaches have extensive experience in leadership development and hold graduate degrees (i.e., Ph.D., M.A., M.S.) in Sport and Performance Psychology, Organizational Behavior, and Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Our trainers are also certified from nationally renowned organizations such as the International Coaching Federation, the Association for Applied Sports Psychology, and the Society of Industrial Organizational Psychology.

We are experienced and trained working with C-Level executives, senior government/military professionals, surgeons, professional sports teams, government civilians, and business professionals to unlock potential, productivity, and overall work performance for the entire organization. Our educational and experiential background allows us to offer a blended approach to coaching that uniquely uncovers core challenges and roadblocks with a foundation in enhanced employee self-awareness.