Our Impact Across Industries and Around the Globe
North American Power
Because of energy deregulation, consumers in the U.S. can choose the company that supplies their home's electricity or natural gas. Founded in 2009, North American Power was determined to offer consumers something more than just rates that are competitive with the big utilities.
The urgent need for invention
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.
The branding solution
North American Power has become one of the fastest growing retail energy companies in the United States. 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 based on a customer's individual home and their personal habits.
" Inventive Problem Solving was chosen over a number of traditional branding and advertising agencies to help our company develop & activate a powerful new brand that consumers would perceive as believable, compelling and differentiated. We are really happy with the outcome of our engagement. Our business is unique and the learning curve is steep. The discipline and creative coaching that Jerry provided allowed our own people, who know most about our business, to develop the solutions we needed. Highly recommended when you are willing to be challenged and you want your team to come away with a much stronger competency in the branding process."
Greg Breitbart, Chief Marketing Officer, North American Power
"Their unique process and Jerry's effective coaching allowed us to quickly understand and define our brand challenges, our short and long-term ambition and what success should look like. The Inventive Problem Solving 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."
Craig D. Wilson, VP Direct Marketing, North American Power
"Jerry is easily one of the best thought leadership consultants and facilitators you'll ever find. Exceptionally gifted at drawing out contributions from the entire group, his coaching helped us to synthesize concepts into actionable plans. Our work together helped shape the future of our organization. I highly recommend Jerry to any team looking to uncover breakthrough ideas and develop a culture of creative problem solving."
Joel Bertsen, Director of Marketing, North American Power
The Pepsi-Cola national marketing team needed to work together to develop powerful and comprehensive brand activation plans around their flagship brands.
"We loved the Inventive Problem Solving 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 structure 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."
Sr. Marketing Manager
Unilever Home & Personal Care (North America, LatAm)
Unilever needed to drive profitable growth by improving margins and re-investing these funds in their business.
"In Deodorants NA, we have successfully worked together with Jerry Shrair, CEO of Inventive Problem Solving, to create and go through a highly interactive process that has created real involvement and high commitment for gross margin delivery in our Business Team and, as a result, we believe that we have a strong program with clear quick wins on the table. As an important side effect, many people have volunteered to put gross margin projects in their Personal Development Plan (including sales and supply chain)."
Geert van Iwaarden,
Director of Finance (Deodorants)
Unilever Home & Personal Care North America
"Your experience and work is highly appreciated by Unilever de Mexico. Thank you very much for your support as well as your positive mindset."
Fernando Alonso, Director of Supply Chain
Jose Manuel Bas, Director of HR, Unilever de Mexico
"Inventive Problem Solving has helped our business quickly deliver very impressive results. Our margin improvement challenge required that a large and diverse group of people, spread across the organization, collaborate as a single powerful team. Jerry Shrair's unique approach proved to be highly effective. In fact, it is one of the most efficient methods of idea generation and idea paring that we have participated in."
Director of Finance, Skin Care
• 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
"Creative thinking that leads to real business solutions flourishes at Inventive Problem Solving."
Whitney Stevens, VP,
American Express Relationship Services
Novartis (Basil Switzerland)
Novartis selected Inventive Problem Solving to lead a diverse global team in their development of a global branding strategy for an emerging healthcare business. This included the design and moderation of a series of focus groups with MDs to gather customer data and generate new insights.
"Working with Jerry Shrair and the Inventive Problem Solving team has been an education and an exhilarating experience. It was encouraging to work with a firm that challenges your thinking and pushes you to strive for excellence, and they get it!”.
Project Team Leader & Global Brand Manager
IBM (Global Engagement)
The engagement assisted the Global Services Team in determining the most urgent business issues IBM's customers believe they are facing in the next 12-18 months.
"The Inventive Problem Solving process demonstrated that it is possible to drive collaboration and recommendations from a team deployed around the world in an accelerated manner. Your web-based methodology and format was very efficient and easy to use. It allowed us to time our participation, based on our schedules, and provide appropriate input with supporting rationale without persuasion from other's opinions. This is a great method of bringing thoughts from many people, combining them into a powerful message and delivering a recommendation that is supported by our global team."
Director, Worldwide Market Intelligence
IBM Global Services
Creation of net new business concepts that combined existing competencies from individual companies within IAC/InterActiveCorp.
"Overall, it was well worth the time spent and a very useful engagement. The Inventive Problem Solving 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."
President, Travel Division
Led a cross-functional team in the creation of the iCosm™ Conferencing positioning statement and marketing plan
“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.”
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.
"Thanks for the truly wonderful workshops and programs. By all measures they were a smashing success. You did a superb job of keeping us on target and stimulating some terrific thinking from the teams."
VP Marketing Communications
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.
"What energy, what focus! Inventive Problem Solving 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
Merrill Lynch (Global)
Global visioning project to determine the company's strategy for utilizing emerging technologies.
"A great experience.Very well structured and implemented. The process and the voting provoked outstanding thinking. Overall, Jerry Shrair and the Inventive Problem Solving team created an excellent forum for collecting and sharing ideas efficiently."
Executive Vice President,
Chief Technology Officer,
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.
"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."
Government Executive Media Group
Strategic opportunity assessment for Pearson's The Learning Network.
"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 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."
President, The Learning Network
Travelers Personal Insurance realized that it needed to make it easier for its independent agents to understand the breadth of its various sales and marketing tools & resources as well as make it easier for agents to identify & access just the right ones for their particular business needs.
“We launched our new proprietary Sales & Marketing Toolkit web portal and our agents immediately found it to be both powerful and simple to use. Without question, our choice Inventive Problem Solving's systematic process of alignment and collaboration was at the heart of making this vital initiative an unqualified success.”
Craig D. Wilson, VP Marketing
Creation of new initiatives that would deliver significant top line growth in the next 12-24 months.
"The Inventive Problem Solving Workshop 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. The Inventive Problem Solving process 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."
Rapid identification and development of specific revenue-generating initiatives.
"Inventive Problem Solving's 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 team is already a 'quick hit,' that is, currently launched in market and successfully generating profitable growth for IP."
Director of Marketing,
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.
"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".
Senior Professional Development Manager
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.
"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 Inventive Problem Solving 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."
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.
“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!”
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.
“Jerry Shrair designed and facilitated a tremendously successful 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