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50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2019

Training Companies to Eliminate Complexity & Unleash Innovation: FutureThink


FutureThink was born with a clear vision: let’s make innovation simpler and more successful. How? By eliminating unnecessary work that holds people back and giving teams simple ways to solve problems. The firm builds skills and teaches cool techniques that are radically simple, easy to learn, and immediately impactful. The result? FutureThink has evolved from an NYC start-up into a global force against red tape and the status quo.

“We killed 34 of our own stupid rules last year—and say no to the same soul-sucking busywork that we teach our Fortune 500 clients to avoid. Every day, we incrementally improve our products, methods (and our TED talks) with the goal of disrupting the training industry for the better,” Says FutureThink.

Q&A with the Innovative Leader, Lisa Bodell, CEO, FutureThink

Why was the company set up? And how did you expand?

FutureThink was founded based on the clear need for companies looking for ways to escape the mundane tasks they are required to do every day and instead focus on meaningful work. They were stuck in the status quo and unable to move their businesses forward and we wanted to show them how using very simple techniques they would use every day. The success of Lisa’s first book ‘Kill the Company’, re-enforced this concept and led to us adding workshops, accelerated learning sessions and our on-demand learning portal in addition to keynotes.

How do you stay relevant to the consumers’ interests and needs?

The courses we teach and the tools we provide can easily be applied no matter what the situation. They work well in times of a volatile market as they give people the confidence and more importantly the time they need to tackle tough situations. Recently we created 12 new accelerated courses, each focused on 1 skill/1 tool/1 hour which allows today’s time-starved learner the opportunity to take what they have learned and quickly make an impact at their job without spending hours in a classroom.

What are the factors that make your brand most ‘innovative,’ and why?

To start, we’re a business that is focused on innovation and creativity. We take a novel approach to both those topics by being the ONLY ones that offer:

  1. A unique approach to innovation with our Kill the Company model
  2. Our Killing Complexity courses (no one else focuses on eliminating complexity to create the space for innovation to happen)
  3. Our accelerated learning 1 tool/1 hour approach that gives immediate ROI to learners and tackles their business challenges right in the room.

We’ve been recognized for these unique offerings and approaches, because they are on trend with what employees need, and where the future of learning is headed. Just this year we have been awarded numerous honors that speak to why we are the “most innovative” in the innovation space. The common thread in all of these is that we are ahead of our competitors as we don’t just teach, but instead deliver instant ROI that can immediately impact businesses. Our honors are mentioned below:

  • Silver Stevie Award 2019 – Woman of the Year Business Services Industry (The American Business Awards)
  • Most Inspirational Woman in Communications Strategy and Execution 2019 (Acquisitions International)
  • Most Innovative Business Workshop Training Facilitator 2019 (Acquisitions International)
  • Silver Medalist 2018 North American Book Awards - Why Simple Wins
  • Most Innovative Management Consulting Firm 2019 NY (CV Magazine)

Do you have any new products ready to be launched?

We just released our 12 Accelerated Learning sessions that teach teams one skill in just one hour. These hands-on courses tackle real business challenges and drive results and instant ROI. We are also in the process of introducing more than 100 new videos and skill tools on our on-demand portal that are designed to provide learning and teach new techniques in 3 minute or less.

People like when companies are involved in social welfare/CSR activities, what do you say about this?

In this day and age, most companies can’t afford to not be involved with these activities in some way. When we teach companies how to simplify, it is with the hope that this will free up time for employees to not only be more productive at work but also have more time to devote to doing good. We have helped shape the future of learning for young learners with Google’s Education initiative and serve on several D&I (diversity and inclusion) boards to help organizations in the corporate world, military, and non-profit sectors create a more equal workforce and include a diversity of teams and thinking styles for success.

As a question on sustainability, where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

The concept of innovation will never go away. We see the role of FT as a way to help companies navigate the numerous and increasingly complex ways in which innovation can come about. The fact that many businesses are adding the role of Chief Innovation Officer to their ranks speaks to the fact that they are placing more importance than ever on innovation. We believe the successful companies of the future will be those that are focused on innovation and up skilling their people. They will be able to react quickly to compete with start-ups. That is the reason we solely target simplification and innovation as key topic areas for training using the micro-learning format. We will continue to help organizations train their employees and speed towards a successful future.

The Creative and Innovative Leader

Lisa Bodell | CEO

Lisa is the bestselling, award-winning author of Kill the Company and Why Simple Wins. She’s a global leader on simplification and innovation, whose keynotes leave audiences inspired to change and armed with radically simple tools to get to the work that matters. Her transformational message has inspired executives at top-ranked organizations such as Google, Cisco, Citigroup, Merck, and the U.S. Navy War College.

“We believe people deserve to do less busywork and more work that matters. We empower entire companies to operate with simplicity, so leaders and employees can spend more time innovating. Our techniques enable you to eliminate complexity, transform culture and unleash innovation.”