Julie Grass

Take Your Imagination Out For Lunch: Try a Little Innovation


By Julie Grass


Management Consulting + Training



Here are some of your inventive responses from last month’s creative exercise

(make a list of tools you need to plant a vegetable garden.  Eliminate 3 tools and replace them with 3 unlikely things to use as tools)

bagpipes instead of a watering can
plastic vegetables to identify what is growing instead of signs
vintage men’s ties instead of string
a hall tree to support tomatoes instead of wooden stakes
clothes pins to hold the vegetables upright instead of stakes
kites to provide shade

a sturdy backscratcher to replace a hoe

replace garden scissors with a scythe
swap garden knee pads for hockey goalie pads


There is never just one tool or solution and what you’ve always relied on is not your only option.  It’s just your most familiar one.




Julie Grass, Principal

Julie is a breath of fresh air for a stale company.  She is an organizational troubleshooter, a business coach, and a dynamic retreat facilitator.  Her expertise in strategic thinking, navigating the people dynamics in an organization, and building a sense of "team" helps her clients obtain clarity, improve communication and take action.

She works with small businesses, nonprofits and sole practitioners.

Julie teaches classes in communications, presentation skills, and project management at UCLA Extension.


When you’ve lost your spark, Julie can relight it.


(Read Full Bio)


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Picture yourself sitting in a booth at a restaurant.  The waitperson comes over and asks, “Would you like a plate of meatloaf or a bowl of innovation?”  True, it’s a slightly bizarre question and an even weirder menu item.  But wouldn’t it be kind of delicious to slurp innovation off a spoon and then order a second helping?


I’ve never met anyone who says they don’t want to be innovative, to be a trailblazer and to grow their bottom line.  The big question is, HOW DO I DO THAT?


Innovation is about refreshing and improving your business in a novel and compelling way.  It requires

changing the way you make decisions

considering choices that are outside the norm

a willingness to take risks

huge curiosity


It is also exciting and energizing, and usually results in fresher, more successful organizations with enthusiastic, imaginative employees


Innovation starts at the top and thrives in a culture that encourages communication and brainstorming, believes we learn from failure, welcomes different perspectives and puts a high value on creativity.  Companies that innovate view change as an opportunity to do things better and to be ahead of the curve.  These are the trendsetters.


If you want to kill innovation, be sure to do some of the things on this list:

Publicly humiliate employees for trying something new that doesn’t succeed

Be wedded to status quo; why change?  We’re doing fine

Keep employees tied to their desks and discourage cross-functional communication

Get defensive and take it personally when employees suggest new ways of approaching the work

When you do make changes, be sure not to communicate them to others whom the changes will impact

Refuse to allow time for groups to do idea generation, unleash their imaginations and brainstorm



Innovation is served up in a couple of ways.  Sometimes it happens in small, continuous improvement steps.  This is called Kaizen which is Japanese for “change for the better”, and it is a philosophical business approach.  And sometimes major innovation happens when there are breakthroughs in technology or a flood of financial resources are dropped at your feet. 


So here is your “creativity” exercise:

Look for a bottleneck in your business; a place where work gets jammed up or mistakes get made regularly

Call together employees from different departments, pose the problem and ask them to brainstorm solutions with you; how else might we do this?

Choose a solution to try after discussion and weighing the risk if it fails and the potential success if it succeeds

Communicate the change to everyone in the organization that it will impact
Give it a try and email me – whether it’s a failure or a wild success
Then reward yourself with chocolate for having the guts to try something new



Release your imagination and enjoy your creativity.  The most exciting part is that once you unleash your creativity, it will start to impact the way you move through the world.  You'll see it in your business and you'll see it in the rest of your life.  And you’ll like it!


Please share your stories of innovation with me so I can pass them along for others to learn from.  Successes are fabulous, but don't forget that some of our best lessons come from measured failures.  You can email me at: Julie@TheMomentumGroup.biz


Okay, Go Innovate!