“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”

Arie de Geus

The Illustra Virtual Faculty

Our Vision

We believe the world will be a better place if leaders and managers within global companies can regularly and easily engage in personal constructive dialogues with leading thinkers, researchers and practitioners from around the world to explore new more relevant and effective ways of achieving their business objectives.

The challenge

The greatest challenges being faced by leaders and managers today are the relentless pace of change and the increasingly complexity of the environments in which they work. To succeed they need to be constantly developing and adapting their leadership styles and understandings to keep pace with the world around them. Yet at the same time the relentless pressures they are subjected to make it harder than ever for them to find the time and space they need for their own personal development.

The emergence of a solution

In recent years we have been collaborating with leading business academics and practitioners and some of the worlds most forward thinking organizations to create live virtual workshops that are defining new directions for learning and development in the digital information era. The resulting virtual workshops have taken live virtual training beyond the limitations of the conventional webinar and into a realm where virtual workshops match and often exceed what can be achieved in a traditional face-to-face classroom. Through these workshops we are enabling managers and executives all around the world to engage in rich, productive, collaborative dialogues with the thought leaders who are defining our understanding of what it means to be a leader and manager in the information age.

Increasing breadth and depth

To continue to expand the breadth and depth of the insights and understandings that can become available to our customers we have made it our mission to seek out thought leaders from around the world who have valuable contributions to make to this global leadership conversation. We collaborate with these thought leaders so that they can adapt their work to have maximum impact and provide them with the production and delivery support that will enable them to succeed in this exciting new medium.

Design Philosophy

Our design philosophy is based on an approach to learning where the focus is on the crafting of artful questions that create space for learning, exploration, experimentation and plans for practical application. Typically an Illustra workshop will consist of 20% learning content and 80% practice and reflection on the challenges of practical application. Experience has shown that in the virtual environment this style of learning provokes maximum engagement and participation.

Recent successes

Strategic Innovation – Dr Jules Goddard

This workshop provokes executives into exploring radical new possibilities that could result
in the creation of new growth strategies, new product categories and services, game
changing business models and the generation of significant new value for consumers,
customers and the corporation. The program is designed to achieve the following
objectives: Inspire imaginative managers to look beyond the obvious. Explore a broad range of possibilities within a given business condition. Identify significant opportunities within the existing market environment. Make informed decisions about the most promising paths to pursue to increase growth.

  • The practical difference between "thinking" and "thoughting"
  • Competitive Strategy – the courage to be different
  • 5 levels of Innovation
  • Breakthrough Thinking
  • Uncommon Sense and Common Nonsense
  • Leadership by "Nudging"
Dr Jules Goddard is a teacher, writer and consultant in the areas of business creativity, strategic thinking, and corporate transformation. He is currently Research Fellow of the Management Innovation Lab (MLab) at London Business School. He is also a guest lecturer at INSEAD. Jules co-authored with Tony Eccles the acclaimed book "Uncommon Sense, Common Nonsense" which looks at why some organizations consistently out perform others. Many of the ideas and questions raised in this fascinating book form the basis for exercises and discussion that take place during this workshop

Effective Strategy Execution – Dr Rebecca Homkes

While strategic planning remains a top concern, in our experience many organizations spend much less time understanding the organizational machine – the people and the processes – necessary to drive that strategy to results and how to ensure these are aligned, coordinated and agile. This becomes increasingly critical within complex matrix organizations.
This workshop is typically preceded by a survey of the companies execution capabilities based on the main drivers of strategy execution. The results from this survey become a focus for discussion and exercises at different stages within the workshop.
The key drivers of strategy execution explored during this workshop are:

Shared context: A common understanding of what matters (current priorities), why they matter (link to strategy), how the pieces fit together, and how the organization is doing right now (real-time measures of progress)

Hydraulics: Processes for managing performance commitments up and down the organization, across units, and outside the firm; and renegotiating these when circumstances change

Resource allocation: Processes to ensure financial and human resources are deployed to their best use

Culture: Corporate values support performance, collaboration, and adaptation

Distributed leaders: Managers in key positions throughout the organization who ensure alignment,
coordination, and adaption at the local level

Top leaders: Senior leaders ensure alignment, coordination and adaption for the company as a whole

Dr. Rebecca Homkes is currently faculty at the London Business School (LBS) and its Executive Education program, where she is also co-directing a major research initiative on executing strategy for results in turbulent markets. Rebecca has also directed the joint McKinsey & Co/ CEP Global Management Matters project since 2007. Rebecca recently co-authored an article on strategy execution that was published in the Harvard Business Review and included in HBR's 10 Must Reads for 2016.

The Trusted Executive – John Blakey

John Blakey
- The Trusted Executive workshop helps leaders create a strategy for building trust in a globalized, technology-enabled, diverse and increasingly skeptical world.
Through innovative coaching exercises, self-assessment exercises, inspirational interviews with international CEOs and underpinned by rigorous academic research, The Trusted Executive based on John's recently published book gives leaders the tools to build trust through three key pillars: ability, integrity and benevolence. Underpinning these pillars lie nine habits of trustworthiness; habits that will
enable executives to deliver outstanding results, inspiring relationships and a positive contribution to society. With tools for measuring and developing leadership trust and focused strategies for handling trust violations, The Trusted Executive takes account of the ever-changing, increasingly diverse and multi-generational work environment. This workshop provides leaders with essential tools for creating a positive long-term legacy.

John Blakey is an executive coach and chair of the 'Tomorrow's CEO' private advisory board with Vistage International. In his business career he was a Fast Track 100 entrepreneur and international managing director of a FTSE100 organization. John has coached board level leaders around the globe as well as having worked with Olympic athletes and their coaches. He is regular conference speaker on the topics of coaching and leadership and is the co-author, with Ian Day, of the book 'Challenging Coaching'.

Leading Virtual Teams – Dr Valerio Pascotto

Closing the gap between the "what" and the "how" of engagement, ownership and motivation.
An emotionally engaged and motivated team is a critical competitive advantage in a virtual world. The pathway to high performance teams requires bringing the heart to work and feeling excited about coming to work, excited about what the organization stands for and excited about working with the leaders, managers and team members.

Distance, time zones, multiple reporting lines, organizational differences, cultural diversity and complex matrix structures are all part of the virtual leadership challenge.
During this workshop leaders explore how to establish a clear pathway to promoting and supporting a high performance virtual team by:

  • Setting courageous goals and reflecting on the power of going beyond SMART and PRISM to connect with the heart and creativity of team members
  • Increasing awareness of a high performance them mind-set and practicing a mind-set tool
  • Recognizing the impact self-interferences (saboteurs) have on effectiveness
  • Leveraging a trust formula to build strong virtual relationships
  • Using the ladder of interpretation tool to address behaviors and attitudes critical for high performance teams
  • Building an environment supportive of intrinsic motivators
  • Differentiating and practicing between an inquiry based communication style and an advocacy based communication style
  • Using the clarity formula to promote team commitment
  • Working with the three attributes of a high performance virtual team
  • Using intuition and the art of questioning
  • Moving away from telling, directing and lecturing to an influencing style that generates gratitude and appreciation

Through working in teams, individual reflections and role-play simulations participants are able to practice and develop attitudes, communication skills and behaviors critical to virtual leadership. This workshop is normally tailored to enable participants to take specific and concrete steps to apply the learning to support the organizations vision and objectives and address its current challenges and opportunities

Dr Valerio Pascotto is a leading innovator in the field of live virtual coaching and virtual experiential learning. He has a Doctoral Degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University and has taught at graduate and doctoral level. Together with noted author Tim Gallwey "The Inner Game of Work" he is the founder of IGEOS®. Valerio has over twenty years experience helping individuals and corporations reach their potential and maximize their productivity. He conducts seminars and develops programs for industry in the areas of technology driven rapid change, group integration, team building, leadership, goal setting, and work effectiveness.

Leading in a Matrix – Nick Obolensky

In today's increasingly complex organizations the traditional command-and control styles of leadership are no longer appropriate. As inter-linked networks that often extend beyond the organization itself replace rigid hierarchical structures there is a need for new leadership models, skills and behaviors. This workshop enables participants to explore some of the latest breakthrough thinking in the science of leadership and learn how these can be combined with traditional models to enable more effective leadership in today's complex organizations.

Leading in times of volatility uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity

  • The context within which leadership is practiced has changed far faster than we have been able to change our fundamental assumptions about what leadership is.
  • The world is more connected and complex and followers more sophisticated than ever before
  • The discontinuity between the unchanged assumptions of leadership and the radically changed context has many consequences not least the need to have a new and modern approach to deal with VUCA times.

Ⓒ Complex Adaptive Leadership

Complex Adaptive Leadership This workshop draws on the groundbreaking work done by Nick Obolensky in the area of Complex Adaptive Leadership; it enables leaders to gain a better understanding of the complex nature of the world in which they lead; to become comfortable with this new reality and to enhance their ability to seize the new opportunities it presents. During this workshop participants learn about the strategies and eight simple organizational principles that can be employed to help plan powerful actions that can have a disproportionate impact on the performance of complex organizations.

These principles and strategies are not designed to replace the more traditional models for leadership, but to supplement and complement them. In fact, two much older models – the Situational Leadership model and the Skill/Will model, have helped to inspire the newly researched, improved, updated and combined approach that makes up the individual component of the Complex Adaptive Leadership model. This helps participants see personal opportunities to get better results, faster for less effort.

This highly interactive workshop is designed to enable participants to work together to develop the skills and behaviors that will enable them to succeed in leading in a complex matrix environment. Through in a variety of individual and team exercises and demanding role-plays they discover how to address challenges like the conflicts that can occur within a matrix organization.

Nick Obolensky has practiced leadership in the public, private and voluntary sectors. He has also researched it, and taught it over many years in leading business schools including Nyenrode in Holland, INSEAD in France, IMD in Switzerland and LBS in the UK. In his recently widely acclaimed best-selling book "Complex Adaptive Leadership" he examines the new models of leadership that are needed in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business environment.

Re-Imagining the Boundaries of your Business – George Gabor Burt

At a time when constant innovation is so vital to the success of every enterprise, Gabor George Burt offers leaders powerful, new insights on how to shape the future of their market space. As the creator of the Slingshot Framework, Gabor enables organizations to:

Re-imagine the boundaries of their current business.
Re-imagine the boundaries of the broader market space they occupy.

The Slingshot process empowers senior executives and their entire organization to continuously rethink and reinvent what they do. It provides the link between systematic creativity, high-impact strategic thinking and the critical imperative of staying relevant in a world driven by fiercely competitive innovation.

During this highly interactive workshop, Gabor engages participants in a provocative exploration of how to overstep self-imposed boundaries that limit the growth, impact, and relevance of their business. In this live virtual workshop, he distills the complexity of strategy formation into simple, intuitive steps that enable organizations to:

  • Shape the future of their market space
  • Achieve strong customer loyalty, expanded relevance and sustained growth
  • Enable the systematic application of a key, underutilized resource: the collective creativity of leadership and staff

The Slingshot Framework makes use of intuitive, easy to apply concepts and tools centered around three core action drivers:

  • Identifying customer 'Pain Points' and turning them into 'Points of Infatuation', thereby transforming the weakest points of their experience into the strongest.
  • Continuously stretching the definition of what you do in order to discover new market spaces of expanded relevance and impact.
  • Embracing the 'Innovation Shortcut': Instead of outright invention, you can simply unlock powerful combinations of already existing components.

Gabor George Burt is widely recognized as the global authority on re-imagining boundaries and is the creator of the Slingshot Platform which enables organizations to overstep perceived limitations and to carve out successful new growth strategies. He is actively involved in running workshops and shaping strategy for a diverse group of international clients ranging from top multinationals & governments to start-ups & NGOs. Among numerous high profile appearances, Gabor gave the opening presentation at the World Marketing Forum, and was the architect and host of the Forum for Partnership in the Americas — a gathering of business and government leaders. In media, he hosted a national radio series in the U.S., writes articles for leading business publications, and is interviewed on major television, radio and newspaper networks.

The Innovation Collider

Creative collisions to drive change and innovation

So often senior-level 'innovation training' focuses on a single layer of management (often just below board level). It challenges these people to shoulder the responsibility of changing the culture of the business with an "entrepreneurial mindset" while the board, and the rest of the business look on expectantly. Not surprisingly, this often fails. But why? Because:

  • Managers reporting into board are some of the most-time poor in the business
  • They are asked to take risks in aan (often) risk-averse environment which persists in valuing business-as-usual over new ideas
  • They are mostly long-serving veterans who, not surprisingly, struggle to see the businesses world with a fresh perspective

Dr Jules Goddard and Greg Orme two globally renowned leadership thinkers have taken a very different approach to the challenge of fostering business innovation. Working with Illustra they have designed a unique virtual program to bring about cross-generation, cross-function, cross-silo collaboration that leads to sustainable innovation.


The program enables cohorts of 12 – 60 people from across the organization to come together in a virtual environment where they are divided into 6-person innovation teams. These virtual teams are guided by Jules and Greg along an action learning innovation journey that last from 3 – 6 months. During that time, they explore different aspects of innovation and the development of innovation cultures at the same time as they conduct experiments on real life issues thatlead to significant innovations for their organization. During the program, Jules and Greg leverage two elements that are critical to promoting innovative and creative thinking; diversity and experimentation.

Diversity

The program brings together participants from diverse locations across the organization: from board level to the newest intake. Jules and Greg recommend including a minimum of two 'layers' of the management structure along with front line and support functions, and people from multiple departments and business units. Research proves diversity promotes creativity and innovation. And the opposite, leads to 'Group Think' which impairs the ability to adapt.

A diverse group brings the real business issues "into the room": both obstacles and unconverted opportunities. The group is given the support, the insights and the tools to experiment. In the long run these multidiscipline cross generational teams form innovation 'hotspots' for the business which continue long after the program is complete.

Experimentation

Entrepreneurs think big, start small, and learn quickly. The process of experimentation that forms the backbone of the "Innovation Collider" introduces that 'start-up' culture and mindset into your business. A business experiment is a rigorous process to discover the way forward, to test a hypothesis, and to learn. Experiments allow people and businesses to keep pace with an accelerating world. They allow powerful learning with minimum risk. The experimentation process used during this program has its intellectual roots in Design Thinking and the Lean Start-Up approaches pioneered in Silicon Valley.

A catalyst for change and innovation

The "Innovation Collider" provides three levels of learning – emotional, cognitive and experiential:

1. Emotional: The program is astrong signal of intent from the organisation. Participants areinspired, energised and connected to the organisational purpose – and the importance of their catalyst role.

2. Cognitive: Participants will become skilled collaborators able to creatively empathise with the needs of colleagues and customers. They will better understand and counteract the distorting effects of cognitive bias. They will work within arigorous innovation framework built around a 5-step process. This process has been extensively road-tested by Greg and Jules and has its intellectual roots in Design Thinking and the Lean Start-Up approaches pioneered in Silicon Valley.

3. Experiential: Participants willwork in a creative, self-lead team. A key deliverable for each team will be to present an innovative solution for a real-life challenge/opportunity. This programme literally "makes innovation happen". It models entrepreneurial behaviour – and encouragescultural contagion across the business.

An action learningjourney

The Innovation Collider utilizes the flexibilities of scheduling made possible by live virtual technologies to take teams of participants on powerful action learning journeys that can have a profound impact on the organization.

"What separates us is not our aims – they all come to the same thing – but our methods which are the fruit of our varied reasoning."

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Key features that distinguish this approach to innovation training

  • FOCUS: Not time take away from the business, but time invested more productively in the business
  • DIVERSITY: Not a thin horizontal layer of participating executives but a diagonal slice through the business
  • MINDSET: Not expensive projects, but fast experiments
  • PRAGMATISM: Not intentions, but insights
  • ACTION: Not "this is what the company should do …" but "this is what we tried out, this is what we found"
  • METHOD: Not focussing on visions and goals, but on methods and assumptions
  • INTERACTION: Not instruction, but creative conversations to develop behaviour

The Innovation Collider can be fully adapted to each client's specific business needs. A 'standard' intervention would be based on a minimum of four virtual modules, combined with team-based, action learning. It facilitates of 12 to 24 people (in 6-person Experiment Teams) over 3 to 6 months. Larger interventions can be facilitated with cohorts of up to 60 participants in any one program.

Dr Jules Goddard

MA (Oxford) MBA (Wharton) PhD (London)
Fellow of London Business School; Member of the Academic Committee of CEDEP at INSEAD.

Formerly, Gresham Professor of Commerce at the City University;
Visiting Professor, École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Paris;
Unilever Distinguished Scholar, AGSM, University of New South Wales.
Author of "Uncommon Sense, Common Nonsense" (Profile), shortlisted for "Best Management Book of the Year 2012", by the Chartered Management Institute;

Author of "The Fatal Bias", winner of "Best Management Article of the Year 2013";
Winner of the EFMD Award for Excellence for Designing, Delivering and Directing the "Leading Edge Programme" for Danone (2004-2014).
Creator of Strategy, Innovation and Leadership Programmes for a wide variety of global companies, including Rolls- Royce, Roche, Rio Tinto, Vinci, Prudential, Microsoft, BG Group and Hewlett-Packard.

Greg Orme

MBA (London Business School)

Globally-renown leadership and innovation specialist, author, speaker and management coach.

Associate Executive Education Program Director at London Business School. Formerly Chief Executive of the Centre for Creative Business at London Business School.
Author of the critically-acclaimed "The Spark - How to Ignite and Lead Business Creativity" (FT Publishing, 2014)

Creator of Organizational Change, Innovation and Leadership Programmes for a wide variety of global companies, including Sky, Ogilvy & Mather, eBay, the International Olympic Committee , The World Economic Forum, Kantar Group, Aardman Animation, Arcadia Group, Randstad Group, Virgin Media, Faurecia Group, the Young Presidents'

Becoming An Effective Mentor

Mentoring is a powerful practice. It can be learned; and, through discipline and practice, Leaders, Managers and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) can learn to become truly effective mentors. The fact that 71% of the Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs is a testament to its power. Mentoring success, however, is not automatic: mentoring relationships can and do fail. Our virtual mentoring programs are designed to increase the success rate and build up the number of accomplished mentoring Leaders and Subject Matter Experts at every level in the organization. These programs can take the form of individual workshops or a series of workshops designed to reinforce mentoring practice and behaviour within the organization. During these highly interactive virtual workshops participants learn the different steps of the mentoring process and through a variety of team exercises, individual exercises, simulations and role plays develop the skills and behaviours that will enable them to become effective mentors.

Learning Objectives

Terminal Objective

By the end of these workshops, participants will be able to apply the mentoring framework and power mentoring techniques when facing various mentoring challenges at the workplace.

Enabling Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Define mentoring – what it is and what it is not
  • Differentiate between coaching and mentoring
  • State the objectives and benefits of mentoring
  • Understand the roles and qualities of effective mentors
  • Provide examples of mentoring formats and identify their advantages and pitfalls
  • Describe the mentoring framework, and apply key Power MentoringTechniques
  • Apply best practices of great mentors
  • Create power goals in collaboration with mentee, and design action plans aimed at achieving them
  • Describe the 4-stage modelling framework, and apply the active modelling techniques to facilitate mentee's learning
  • Practice reflection and draw key learning points from their own experiences, including their prior education/training
  • Use stories in mentoring situations to teach and inspire
  • Use reframing to empower the thinking of mentees
  • Practice power networking methods to enhance mentoring results

These workshops have been developed as a result of extensive research and real world experience in training and equipping mentors for over 30 years from over 80 countries. They draw on the ideas and methodologies that can be found in "Becoming an Effective Mentoring Leader" published by McGraw Hill, written by the course leader, Dr. Peter Chee in partnership with award winning author Dr. William Rothwell.

Dr. Peter Chee

Dr Peter Chee is the President and CEO of ITD World, a leading multinational corporation for Human Resource Development. He is the inventor of the Coaching for Breakthrough Success Meta Model and the Situational Coaching Model and co-author of a number of successful books including "Coaching for Breakthrough Success" with Jack Canfield and "The Leader's Daily Role in Talent Management with William J. Rothwell. Peter was the chief developer of the Certified Coaching and Mentoring Professional (CCMP) program which is fully recognized and approved by ICF (International Coaching Federation). He was the first Asian in the world to be ranked #6 among the top global Coaching Gurus for 2016.

“Good teaching is one - fourth preparation and three- fourths theatre”

Gail Godwin - American author

The Learning Experience

Many people in the world of learning and development have been looking towards a future where advances in technology would enable live virtual delivery to play a more significant role in their training strategies. With its televisual approach and support for more tightly orchestrated forms of presentation and interaction the Illustra environment takes us into that brave new world. For the first time live virtual classes can provide engaging learning experiences that often go beyond what can be achieved in the traditional classroom

The Evolution Of A New Medium

Early movies were simply stage performances that took place in front of a camera. Only later did moviemakers developed methods of storytelling which exploited the full potential of the new medium. Today we are still in the early stages of understanding the potential of live virtual technologies. To explore and develop this potential Illustra has put together a powerful team of people from the world of computing, television, and business training. We have also formed close alliances with leading subject matter experts and training providers from around the world. This multidisciplinary approach has resulted in an environment that enables fast paced tightly orchestrated workshops that attract extremely high levels of participation and engagement.

A focused learning environment

From the outset the Illustra design team wanted to minimize the distraction that working in a technological environment can have on the learning experience for both students and the coaches. The result is an environment that is probably one of the most sophisticated of its kind in terms of individual and team activities, role plays and simulations yet is definitely the simplest when it comes to ongoing operation from the point of view of both the participants and the coaches. In the Illustra environment coaches and trainers are discovering that the ability they have to move participants in and out of teams in an instant and to monitor individual and team inputs into exercises and activities in real time is empowering them in ways that were never possible in the traditional classroom.

Design Philosophy

Our design philosophy is based on a coaching approach to learning where the focus is on the crafting of artful questions that create space for learning, exploration, experimentation and plans for practical application. Typically an Illustra workshop will consist of 20% learning content and 80% practice and reflection on the challenges of practical application. Experience has shown that in the virtual environment this style of learning provokes maximum engagement and participation. The Illustra environment has been designed from the outset to support this approach to learning. Illustra is unique in being a company that designs and delivers training and at the same time designs and develops the environment and tools that enable that training to take place. This are resulting in virtual learning experiences that are helping to define the future of this new medium.

More than a software platform

We believe in providing complete production support for all aspects of the learning experience. Feedback provided over thousands of hours from both users and coaches clearly shows that this the best way to provide rich engaging learning experiences in the virtual environment. An Illustra session producer and at least one technical support specialist are integral to the success of every illustra workshop. The session producer supports the coach to ensure smooth operation and tight orchestration of all aspects of the workshop; enabling coaches and trainers to concentrate on what they do best, without having to be concerned about the technology. The support specialists ensure that any technical problems encountered by individual participants are dealt with quickly and in a manner that has minimum impact on the workshop as a whole. All participants inputs into workshops and programs are captured and immediately made available as an extension of the learning experience

About Illustra

Maximise your investment in manager training

Effective training for executive, sales and front-line managers is about more than providing a curriculum and materials. It’s about practical implementation – implementing new ideas quickly across the organisation and reaping the benefits of training spend in the shortest possible time. Illustra works with a proven methodology based on the dynamics of virtual teams, designed to enhance engagement and practical deployment of new skills, enabling our customers to increase the effectiveness of their training investment.

The best virtual training workshops in the world for business managers

It’s a big claim, but many of our customers would agree. Running effective virtual training sessions – live, face-to-face events of ten to seventy people, across several hours and even days – requires highly engaging and motivating content, and behind-the-scenes management that runs like clockwork. We’ve been delivering programmes of virtual events for ten years to some of the greatest companies in the world in a purpose-built environment which keeps participants engaged, and allows subject matter experts to focus entirely on their audience. Our goal, which we achieve in most of our programmes, is to exceed the satisfaction scores of ‘in person’ versions of the same events, enhancing the effectiveness and dramatically decreasing the cost of top-quality training.

The best in business thinking

Illustra’s coaching team includes top business academics from around the world. We work with over thirty coaches, specialising in an immense range of business disciplines and expert in working with virtual technologies. Together we work with our customers to design and deliver programmes to meet the training needs of their individual organisation or business unit – programmes that really make a difference.

Find out more

To find out more about how we can help your organization increase the effectiveness of its manager training, please contact us today.

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