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Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change

Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change

by Beth Comstock, Tahl Raz
Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change

Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change

by Beth Comstock, Tahl Raz


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Confronting change is incredibly hard, both organizationally and personally. People become resistant. They are afraid. Yet the pace of change in our 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.
Imagine It Forward is an inspiring, fresh, candid, and deeply personal book about how to grapple with the challenges to change we face every day. It is a different kind of narrative, a big picture book that combines Comstock’s personal story in leading change with vital lessons on overcoming the inevitable roadblocks. One of the most successful women in business, Comstock shares her own transformation story from introverted publicist to GE’s first woman Vice Chair, and her hard-won lessons in shifting GE, a 125 year old American institution, toward a new digital future and a more innovative culture. 
As the woman who initiated GE's Ecomagination clean-energy and its (and NBC’s) digital transformations, Comstock challenged a global organization to not wait for perfection, but to seek out emerging trends, embrace smart risks and test ideas boldly, and often. She shows how each one of us can become a “change maker” by leading with imagination.   

“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.’”
As Comstock makes clear, transforming the mindset and culture of a company is messy. There is no easy checklist. It is fraught with uncertainty, tension and too often failure. It calls for the courage to defy convention, go around corporate gatekeepers when necessary, and reinvent what is possible. 

For all those looking to spearhead change in their companies and careers, and reinvent “the way things are done,” Imagine It Forward masterfully points the way.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451498298
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/18/2018
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 698,822
Product dimensions: 6.41(w) x 9.41(h) x 1.43(d)

About the Author

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 ForbesFortune and Fast Company, she has been named to the Fortune and Forbes lists of the World's Most Powerful women.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Excerpted from "Imagine It Forward"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Beth Comstock.
Excerpted by permission of The Crown Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

The future is not in our stars but in our imaginations, and our actions.

Introduction Closing the Imagination Gap We can no longer afford to fail to imagine xiii

Section I Self-Permission

Shift mind-set. Every change-maker learns to give herself permission to push outside expectations and limitations.

Chapter 1 Reinvention 3

Permission Granted

Ignore the Gatekeepers

Develop Social Courage

No = Not Yet

Chapter 2 The Outsider Inside 32

Build Bridges, Not Walls

Take the Job No One Wants

Make the Work Great

Challenge: Grab Agency 55

Section II Discovery

Discovery is about infusing yourself with a spirit of inquiry and curiosity, turning the world into a classroom for learning and for unearthing ideas that can make change possible.

Chapter 3 Edison's Marines 61

Go Boldly into the Unknown

Optimize Today and Build Tomorrow

Spark New Perspectives

Chapter 4 A Breakthrough of Imagination: A New Way of Marketing 86

Live in the Market

Protect a Class of Ideas

Get Outside the Jar

Get Weird

Chapter 5 Ecomagination 104

Pattern Recognition

Meet Change Early

The Change-maker's Dilemma

Challenge: Make Room for Discovery 122

Section III Agitated Inquiry

Innovation is the result of seeking out tension, not avoiding it. It's not about reassurance or consensus-it often encourages confrontation.

Chapter 6 Naysayers and the Digital Onslaught 129

Acknowledge Reality

Conflict as an Engine of Creativity

Analog Dollars for Digital Pennies?

Chapter 7 Failing Forward: It Takes a Village 147

Tension Is the Price of Admission

The Grinf'ck

Psychological Safety

Chapter 8 Getting It Right 160

Challenge Status Quo

Authority's Edge

Constraints Are Necessary

Challenge: Getting Good at Conflict 182

Section IV Storycraft

You have to adapt your narrative to help the people in an organization understand their world. That, in turn, will change how they act in order to create a different, better future.

Chapter 9 Rewriting Your Story 189

Strategy Is Story


Make the Invisible Visible

Shout Louder Than We Spend

Chapter 10 Minds, Machines, and Market Share 224

Getting Over Functional Fixedness

Go See for Yourself

Rolling Thunder

Platform Power

Challenge: Storytelling's Unexpected Power 267

Section V Creating a New OS

Share a new mind-set, spreading ideas bottom-up and out side-in, finding dedicated agents of change within the company to make the story their own.

Chapter 11 Opening Up 271

Who's in Charge?


Premature Scaling

Return on Failure

Partner Power

Chapter 12 Illuminating the Darkness: A Faint and Flickering Light 303


Test & Learn

New to Big

Success Theater


Challenge: Be an Emergent Leader 363


We can't give up on imagination and possibility. Tomorrow always comes.

Acknowledgments 373

Index 377

If you see a better way, you have an obligation to pursue it. That's the change-maker's rallying cry.

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