What Is This Newsletter?
Our world needs creative innovators who can do big things, not just pontificate about big ideas. Business innovation, when done well, can improve our lives and create a better world for everyone.
You can be an innovator, starting right where you are. You don’t need a fancy innovation degree. You don’t need to quit your corporate job. You don’t even need to have a big idea.
In this newsletter, I’ll teach you how to begin acting as an innovator and making changes that matter. You’ll learn why failure isn’t a bad thing, why soft skills are essential in the boardroom, why legacy companies are uniquely positioned to innovate, and so much more.
You’ll also understand how to leverage business innovation to create a social impact. Gender equity is a passion of mine, and here you’ll see how we can design better solutions specifically for women. You’ll also learn about other women innovators I admire and how they have affected change through the prisms of design thinking and business strategy.
I’m creating this newsletter because I believe, fiercely, that we must work together to create the world we want to see. My hope is that you’ll learn more about innovation and about yourself, empowering you to become a better leader and change-maker.
Who Am I?
I’m Katie Schlott. I guide Fortune 100 leaders to define and scale impactful innovations through design thinking and business strategy. Global brands I’ve supported include FedEx, Samsung, HP, Bosch, GE, SC Johnson, Herman Miller, Best Buy, and Wrigley. My work has been recognized by Fast Company’s Innovation by Design awards.
It’s important to note that I didn’t come into innovation with a fancy D-school degree or MBA, and in fact graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in Journalism. Yet over the last 14 years, I’ve had the opportunity to experience innovation and design thinking become a reality in businesses and with corporate clients, and scale to positions represented in the C-suite. That experience has empowered me to try and do new things, fail along the way, and teach others what innovation can look, feel, and how it can come to life.
As a result, I’ve created new frameworks and ways of working on things that don’t even exist, like autonomous vehicles and AI technology. There is no playbook for innovation, despite what some people say. You can’t expect to become an expert by reading articles or taking a course. You have to do it, and then do it some more, which is why I hope my newsletter will inspire you to roll up your sleeves and start trying new things.
The intersection of business innovation and gender equity is particularly important to me. As a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry, a mother, and a member of the Sandwich Generation, I understand the complex challenges women face now. I also see how business innovation can address and even solve many of those challenges.
I also co-created IA Collaborative’s Design for Women capability to illuminate topics and situations that are acutely experienced by women and under-addressed by design. Through that initiative, I partner with companies that want to invest in women and take action to have an exponential impact on business, organizations, and society.
What to Expect
Plan to hear from me every week. Twice a month, I publish an actionable essay on business innovation. Other newsletters will be shorter with prompts on business innovation for you to think about and consider discussing here in the comments. If there’s a topic you’d like me to write about, email me.
Finally, I welcome the opportunity to chat about business innovation, gender equity, mentorship, and my latest and greatest publications. Please book a 15-minute slot and please email me the following information at least 12 hours in advance of the meeting:
What outcome are hoping for coming out of our conversation?
How did you find me? What made you want to connect?
Here’s to your continued success! Cheers.