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Beth Comstock with Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change
September 12, 2018
Beth Comstock is the former Vice Chair of GE, where for twenty-five years she led GE’s efforts to accelerate new growth. She built GE’s Business Innovations and GE Ventures, which develops new businesses, and oversaw the reinvention of GE Lighting. She was named GE’s Chief Marketing Officer in 2003. She served as President of Integrated Media at NBC Universal, from 2006-08, overseeing the company’s digital efforts, including the early formation of Hulu. She is a corporate director of Nike. Written about and profiled extensively in the media, from the New York Times to Forbes, Fortune and Fast Company, she has been named to the Fortune and Forbes lists of the World’s Most Powerful women.
About Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change
From one of today’s foremost innovation leaders, an inspiring and practical guide to mastering change in the face of uncertainty.
The world will never be slower than it is right now, says Beth Comstock, the former Vice Chair and head of marketing and innovation at GE. But confronting relentless change is hard. Companies get disrupted as challengers steal away customers; employees have to move ahead without knowing the answers. To thrive in today’s world, every one of us has to make change part of our job.
In Imagine It Forward, Comstock, in a candid and deeply personal narrative, shares lessons from a thirty year career as the change-maker in chief, navigating the space between the established and the unproven. As the woman who initiated GE’s digital and clean-energy transformations, and its FastWorks methodology, she challenged a global organization to not wait for perfection but to spot trends, take smart risks and test new ideas more often. She shows how each one of us can—in fact, must — become a “change maker.”
“Ideas are rarely the problem,” writes Comstock. “What holds all of us back, really—is fear. It’s the attachment to the old, to ‘What We Know.’”
Change is messy and fraught with tension, uncertainty and failure. Being “change ready” calls for the courage to defy convention, the resilience to overcome doubts, and the savvy to know when to go around corporate gatekeepers to reinvent what is possible.
Among the practical takeaways Comstock offers:
• The power of discovery—bringing the outside into your organization. It’is about turning the world into a classroom.
• Find a spark—provocateurs who challenge established ways of thinking can be a powerful catalyst for change.
• Give yourself permission—every change maker must learn to give herself permission to push outside expectations and boundaries.
Confronting today’s accelerating change requires an extraordinary degree of problem-solving, collaboration, and forward-thinking leadership to unlock every person’s potential. Imagine It Forward masterfully points the way.
(Written with Tahl Raz, an award-winning journalist and best-selling author).