Our Impact Across Industries and Around the Globe

 

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Driving growth with a bold new vision for technology

FINANCIAL SERVICES INNOVATION

Merrill Lynch

We partnered with Merrill Lynch to identify the implications and opportunities of emerging digital technologies. We guided their cross-functional global team through our disciplined visioning process. They created and won approval of 3 new pilot projects for retail and institutional customers as well as employees including a 2-year implementation plan for each pilot.

STORY

The core challenge for Merrill Lynch was to create a bold new vision for the implications and opportunities of emerging digital technologies. The company needed to create a plan and build capabilities that would support their business strategy as well as their brand positioning.

SOLUTION

We partnered with the senior strategy team based at Merrill Lynch HQ in NYC and identified a cross-functional brain trust of global experts to be part of the team. We began by guiding this team in identifying facts, trends and projections. Candidate pilot projects were nominated by the core HQ team and later reviewed & ranked using the Boiling Point™ process by the larger global team.

RESULTS

The global team was able to develop and align behind the implementation of 3 new pilot projects to be started immediately. 2-year implementation guidelines were also created and approved for each of the pilot programs.

"A great experience. Very well structured and implemented. The Boiling Point™process created an excellent forum for collecting and sharing ideas efficiently".

John McKinley, EVP Chief Technology Officer, Merrill Lynch

 

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Fueling innovation by keeping the home warm & cozy

retail energy Innovation

North American Power

To help North American Power tackle one of the industry's tough challenges, we guided their team through a mission and brand development journey resulting in accelerated sales and the successful sale of the company.

Story

The core challenge for North American Power was to create a truly new brand in the confusing and crowded retail energy marketplace. Inventive Problem Solving was chosen, over a number of traditional branding and advertising agencies, to help the company develop & activate a powerful new brand that consumers would perceive as believable, compelling and differentiated.

Solution

Recognized by Forbes as one of America's most promising companies, their core brand promise is to help consumers combine low, competitive rates on electricity and natural gas with practical and sensible ways to control energy use. This is based on a customer's individual home and their personal habits.

Results

North American Power has become one of the fastest growing retail energy companies in The United States. Recently acquired by Calpine.

"The discipline and creative coaching that Jerry Shrair provided allowed our own people, who know most about our business, to develop the solutions that we needed. Highly recommended."       

Greg Brietbart, Chief Marketing Officer, North American Power

"The Boiling Point™process engages all of the stakeholders both within the company as well as across key partnerships. I don't believe that their approach works - I know that it works."                   

VP Direct Marketing, North American Power

"Our work together helped shape the future of our organization. I highly recommend Jerry Shrair to any team looking to uncover breakthrough ideas and develop a culture of creative problem solving."  

Joel Berntsen, Director of Marketing, North American Power

 

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Inspiring collaboration to drive new healthcare solutions

Healthcare Innovation

Novartis

We partnered with Novartis to tackle a persistently stubborn branding challenge for an emerging healthcare business. We guided their cross-functional global team through our disciplined 6-week brand development process. The team was able to win management approval of a powerful new brand platform in time for its introduction at an important industry trade event.

 

Story

The core challenge for Novartis was to develop a comprehensive brand platform for a group of existing products and services. Two prominent healthcare consulting companies had been unsuccessful in their attempts to successfully align the team members over the previous two years. An important trade show was looming and the company needed a diverse global team to quickly create a powerful solution.

Solution

We partnered with the product management team based at Novartis HQ in Basil, Switzerland. A cross-functional team of global experts was selected and guided through our alignment and collaboration process. We utilized Boiling Point™ on-site workshops to develop possible solutions and then our online review & ranking methodology to solicit feedback. This approach allowed Novartis to quickly develop a powerful recommendation that was supported by the global team.

Results

The project team was able to successfully construct and win approval of a powerful brand platform. This was accomplished in time to introduce this new platform to the entire industry at an important upcoming trade event.

"An education and exhilarating experience. Encouraging to work with a firm that challenges your thinking. They get it". 

Director of Product Management, Novartis

 

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Creating vision in the world of information

Technology Innovation

IBM

To help IBM understand their customers' view of the future we guided them through an accelerated visioning process. They urgently needed to bring thoughts together from across the company, combine them into a powerful message and deliver a strategic recommendation that would be supported by the entire Global Services team.

Story

The core challenge for IBM was to create a clear strategic picture of their customers' most pressing issues and concerns for the year ahead. This required involving a team of people spread across the globe and achieving a concise recommendation combining many points-of-view that would be supported by the entire team.

Solution

We partnered with the IBM Global Services research and insights group to create a cross-functional team from across the globe. We developed an easy and efficient process to nominate and screen potential customer issues and employed a Boiling Point™online review and ranking exercise that allowed the global team to identify the most pressing customer concerns.

Results

IBM Global Services successfully developed a powerful and comprehensive customer strategy recommendation that was endorsed by the global team.

"The Boiling Point™ process demonstrated that it is possible to quickly and efficiently drive collaboration and recommendations from a team deployed around the world".

Karen Predow, VP Worldwide Market Intelligence, IBM

 

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Inspiring teamwork to fund brand growth

Consumer Goods Innovation

Unilever

To help Unilever find new funds to drive profitable growth we guided cross-functional teams in both North America and across Latin America through a 6-week margin improvement process. Unilever had to focus on identifying short-term savings and each project team had to deliver at least $25MM to fund their team's immediate growth initiatives.

Story

The core challenge for Unilever North America and Latin America was to identify practical, short-term margin improvement initiatives so that the Unilever teams could re-invest those savings immediately back into their marketing efforts to drive business growth. This project required alignment and collaboration across many different functional silos within the company including departments that rarely, if ever, had worked together in the past.

Solution

We partnered with Unilever and created cross-functional teams, including sales and supply chain staff, in Chicago, Buenos Aires and Mexico City. Each of these 3 teams was led through our 6-week Boiling Point™ on-site and online process that first identified high opportunity areas for cost savings and then developed specific saving initiatives in each of the select opportunity areas of Unilever's supply chain.

Results

Each Unilever team fully embraced their challenge and demonstrated their full commitment by delivering short-term cost savings initiatives which exceeded $25MM per team.

"The Boiling Point™ process created real involvement and high commitment. We achieved a strong program with clear, quick wins on the table".

Geert van Iwaarden, Director of Finance, Unilever

 

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Pepsi-Cola

The Pepsi-Cola national marketing team needed to work together to develop powerful and comprehensive brand activation plans around their flagship brands.

Client Quotes:

"We loved the Boiling Point™ Workshop. Great process! Great results! Your very focused yet energetic brainstorming workshop created a strong sense of commitment which generated the free flowing of ideas and very powerful thinking. The online feedback tools also gave our team the ability to quickly make decisions about which ideas could actually happen."

Bill Wyman, Senior Marketing Manager, Pepsi-Cola

"The project was an overwhelming success thanks in great part to the roles you played. Your value throughout the process in pre-meeting planning, meeting facilitation and prompt information re-capping exceeded my expectations.

With a large group of 30 individuals I was concerned about our ability to effectively stimulate and capture ideas. The Boiling Point™ process you executed was the perfect solution. The session participants were equally impressed. Many of the experienced brain stormers expressed their pleasure in participating in the high energy and productive workshop." 

Christopher Cook,
Sr. Marketing Manager
Pepsi-Cola

 

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American Express

• Led new Card Launch Teams in workshops that successfully solved final product-strategy and applications challenges. 

• Led the New Business Development team in the creation of new business and new service tests and launches. 

• Led the Strategic Planning Group in the creation of the new American Express web site concepts. 

• Created a customized "Pipeline" process that consistently develops and tests new business concepts throughout the year.

Other American Express divisions we have worked with: Stored Value Group, Small Business Services

Client Quote:

"Creative thinking that leads to real business solutions flourishes at Inventive Problem Solving."

Whitney Stevens, VP, 
American Express Relationship Services

 

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IAC/InterActiveCorp

Creation of net new business concepts that combined existing competencies from individual companies within IAC/InterActiveCorp.

Client Quote:

"Overall, it was well worth the time spent and a very useful engagement. The Boiling Point™2-step process of identifying / flushing out ideas, then using the web to rank and gather feedback was both effective and efficient. Jerry Shrair was very successful in getting people who are by nature entrepreneurs, used to dealing and leading by themselves, to cooperate and even be eager to find solutions for the greater company."

Anne Busquet
President, Travel Division
IAC/InterActiveCorp

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Avaya

Led a cross-functional team in the creation of the iCosm™ Conferencing positioning statement and marketing plan

Client Quote:

“Inventive Problem Solving delivers results. Your team did two major projects for us that you should be very proud to have accomplished. The focus, the quality time, the intensity that Jerry Shrair and his team puts out to solve a business problem is unique and appreciated by anyone who wants to satisfy their customers and gain a competitive advantage.”

Vincent Deschamps
VP/General Manager
eCommunication Solutions
Avaya

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AT&T

Led the senior marketing team in the creation of a single company-wide positioning statement. 

Led a series of 30 ideation sessions with consumers, business people, and employees across the country to develop the company's strategic Customer Value Proposition. 

Led the senior marketing communications team and the heads of the company's agencies in a day-long workshop in building top-line revenue growth initiatives.

Client Quote:

"Thanks for the truly wonderful workshops and programs. By all measures they were a smashing success. Your Boiling Point™ process did a superb job of keeping us on target and stimulating some terrific thinking from the teams."

Jim Speros,
VP Marketing Communications
AT&T

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YUM Brands

Led a group of 40 senior executives and key agency team members in the development of a variety of new dinner day-part restaurant concepts. These concepts were brought to focus groups the following week and resulted in the development of three new initiatives.

 

Client Quote:

"What energy, what focus! The Boiling Point™process steered our brainstorming to ideas that are on-strategy and were tested and launched as key initiatives."

Cindy Hearn, VP Brand Communications


"Great Job! Jerry Shrair led a cross-functional team through a concept development program that was outstanding. The results were both productive and creative."

Gretchen Hoffman, VP Menu Development

 

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Atlantic Media

Government Executive Media Group, the public sector division of Atlantic Media, wanted to create a web site dedicated to providing news, analysis, and bold ideas to national security leaders and influential members of the national security community.

Jerry Shrair led their brand development team in the creation of Defense One which delivers news, breaking analysis and ideas on the topics and trends that are defining the future of U.S. defense and national security. The site gained 60M subscribers in the first month and currently gives national security professionals, stakeholders and citizens what they need to know, from senior leaders in Washington to commanders abroad and next-generation thinkers far from the political scrum.

Client Quote:

"Jerry Shrair's leadership of our brand development process was truly instrumental in making this important new addition to the Government Executive portfolio an immediate success."

Tim Hartman, CEO, Government Executive Media Group

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Pearson Education

Strategic opportunity assessment for Pearson's The Learning Network.

Client Quote:

"Inventive Problem Solving unleashed many ideas that were fodder for deep discussion about our business. The results are not mere tweaks, but marked changes to approach and alignment. The very inclusive nature of the Boiling Point™experience primed the company for change and prompted action. It's a pleasure to work with Jerry Shrair once again. A trust established five years ago proved to be invaluable at this point in the evolution of this business."

Rubin Pfeffer, 
President, The Learning Network

 

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Hanley Wood

Creation of new real estate media initiatives that would deliver significant top line growth in the next 12-24 months.

Client Quote:

"The Boiling Point™process produced exciting ideas and powerful initiatives. The on-site workshop and the online exercises were an efficient method of tapping into Hanley Wood's brainpower at all levels, gaining feedback from the larger group and eliciting a wealth of tremendous ideas in a very short period of time. Boiling Point™and Jerry Shrair's leadership is incredibly invigorating, very fruitful and has been crucial to Hanley Wood's successful expansion. An excellent investment of time and resources."

Peter Goldstone
CEO
Hanley Wood

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International Paper

Rapid identification and development of specific revenue-generating initiatives.

Client Quote:

"Their turnkey leadership and Web-based collaborative tools allowed the team to immediately cut through to the core issues, create numerous solution,s and rapidly choose specific initiatives for launch. Remarkably, one of the initiatives we identified with Jerry Shrair and his Boiling Point™ process is already a 'quick hit,' that is, currently launched in market and successfully generating profitable growth for IP."

Jim Harris,
Director of Marketing,
International Paper

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Time, Inc.

With a portfolio of more than 125 of the world's most popular, powerful and trusted brands, Time, Inc. needed a compelling and interactive branding workshop to kick-off its Power Lunch program, a monthly series of initiatives sponsored by Time Inc. Human Resources and Consumer Marketing.

Client Quote:

"Jerry Shrair is a consummate professional who knows how to generate excitement and creativity. In just one workshop, Jerry not only helped us hone the "promises" of our brands, he gave us tools for activating them. We came out of the workshop with information that is applicable, inspirational and actionable".

Maria Postell
Senior Professional Development Manager
Time Inc
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Frito Lay

Led a team of 35 marketing, sales, and agency team members in the development of their Fiesta Bowl initiative--Frito-Lay's single largest marketing program of the year.

Client Quote:

"We chose Inventive Problem Solving to help Frito-Lay develop a range of innovative ideas for our Tostitos Fiesta Bowl College Football Championship program. Jerry's dynamic leadership and the high-energy Boiling Point™ process took a diverse group of marketing, television, and college sports professionals and for two days turned us into a hard-charging concept-generation team. It was a success in every way."

Steve Quinn,
VP Marketing

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Echopass (acquired by Genesys)

Asked to lead a cross-functional team in the creation & evaluation of opportunities for innovation in order to differentiate Echopass to its clients and to the market.

Client Quote:

“I have engaged Inventive Problem Solving to help five different companies: VMX, Octel, Lucent, Avaya and now Echopass. If a CEO wants to bring out the creativity of his or her team to move the company to another level bring Jerry Shrair in for a one or two week project – you will never be the same!”

Vincent Deschamps,
CEO/Chairman,
Echopass

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New York Foundation for the Arts (Pro Bono)

Lead the organization’s artists, administrators and funding partners in the re-imagining & development of the NYFA Artists Fellowship Program.

Client Quote

“Jerry Shrair designed and facilitated a tremendously successful Boiling Point™process that brought together a wide-ranging group of stakeholders to align on the future of this critical program for both NYFA and the New York State Council for the Arts. The result was the re-funding of our Artists Fellowship Program for 5 years”.

Whitney Stevens, Board Chair, NYFA