Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change (Hardcover)
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FROM ONE OF TODAY'S FOREMOST INNOVATION LEADERS, AN INSPIRING, PERSONAL APPROACH TO MASTERING CHANGE IN THE FACE OF UNCERTAINTY.
NAMED A 2018 BEST BUSINESS BOOK PICK BY FAST COMPANY AND WIRED UK.
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.
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 Forbes, Fortune and Fast Company, she has been named to the Fortune and Forbes lists of the World's Most Powerful women.
“If there is one skill that more individuals and companies need to hone it's imagination. And if there is one person who can teach us how to do it, it’s Beth Comstock. Woven together through her own journey, Comstock offers us simple and practical steps on things we can all do to prepare ourselves for the future…or even invent it.”
—Simon Sinek, Optimist and New York Times Bestselling Author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last
“Beth Comstock has written a wonderful book, full of excellent insights and lessons from her hugely successful career. She has recently been elected to the advertising all of fame, and after reading this you will know why. This book is of great value to almost virtually any leader and her stories and examples are told in a breezy way that makes it a joy to read.”
—Phil Knight, founder of Nike and New York Times Bestselling Author, Shoe Dog
“Imagine It Forward is like having a coach on your shelf to help you lead forward. Beth shares her lessons on summoning candor, courage and action to make meaningful change happen in any organization.”
—Kim Scott, New York Times Bestselling Author, Radical Candor
“This book is full of wisdom about how to thrive in a bureaucracy—and then transform it into an innovation machine. Beth Comstock is one of the most effective and admired executives of our time, and she tells the engrossing inside story of how she rose to the upper echelons of GE and spearheaded a sea of change.”
—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals, Give and Take, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg
"Beth Comstock is just as creative and bold in her approach to writing a business book as she is in running a business. Unafraid to get candid and personal, unusually generous in sharing her insights, this is a book for anyone who wants to see around corners — and to vanquish the fear that holds them back from acting on what they see."
—Susan Cain, Author, Quiet
“This book is a rare gift... an honest, behind-the-scenes look at power, success and influence, combined with vulnerability and practical advice. A book you won't soon forget.”
—Seth Godin, Author, Linchpin
"Imagine It Forward offers an experienced look at how nonlinear, ever evolving change saved one of America’s oldest, most traditional companies and brought it into the digital, socially conscious, irreverent era we now live in. Beth Comstock’s account of her unconventional career at a very conventional corporation, General Electric, is frank, funny and spot on about the need to abandon the top-down methods of the past in favor of greater collaboration, disruption and prioritizing the needs and wants of customers and consumers over profit."
—Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab & Author, Whiplash
"Beth is a true force of smart, practical, and most of all, inspiring executions in the new business world. There are few people who I think 'get it,' and she’s at the top of that list."
—Gary Vaynerchuck, Entrepreneur & Author, Crushing It
"Imagine It Forward offers good examples of teaching bravery not perfection -- in education and work. Beth offers valuable lessons that should help readers challenge themselves to risk more in pursuit of a better future for themselves and their organizations."
—Reshma Saujani, Founder & CEO, Girls Who Code
“Beth Comstock has a track record of innovating, leading, and being an agent of change. In Imagine It Forward, she proposes thought provoking ways to envision your future and build strategy around it.”
—Sophia Amoruso, New York Times Bestselling Author and Founder, #GIRLBOSS
"If you want easy and comforting answers about how to lead organizational change, this book isn’t for you. Beth Comstock’s masterpiece will make you squirm. She weaves together her rare experience, brilliance, humility, and commonsense to show how leaders can navigate the inevitable messiness and setbacks—and build organizations that are imaginative, resilient, and sane."
—Robert Sutton, Stanford Professor and author of bestsellers including Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less (with Huggy Rao)