The Professional Development Institute
Harvard University Global System
Harvard® Planner Group
Upcoming Seminars
Applying Harvard University Global System™ Tools;
Planned in Boston, New York and Canada
Harvard University Global System™ (HUGS)
in English, French, Spanish
and Mandarin Shipped Worldwide

Hands-on Skills and Techniques Workshop
How to Improve and Accelerate Innovation
from Incubating, Boosting and Capturing Imagination
to Framing Bold Ideas, Reality-Testing and Prototyping

New York
January 29-31, 2018

March 12-14, 2018

Ottawa-Gatineau Campus
April 16-18, 2018


Although boosting innovation quality, capacity, durability and agility is everyone’s business, team leaders and executives play a crucial role in developing innovation talent by leveraging their expertise, power and authority. This seminar is for leaders in science, engineering, policy, finance, health, intellectual property, IT, human resources, intelligence and project management in the private and public sectors.


Both an art and increasingly a science, innovation is developing into a rich knowledge base and competencies, some of which are applicable across professional lines. It is a springboard to agility and solid growth, and an essential underpinning to the competitive advantage of organizations and nations. Yet, most team leaders and professionals find it difficult to innovate in collaborative and effective ways. Much worse, some overlook that innovation is a learned skill. Alas, only a few organizations provide their staff with the cutting-edge competencies in team innovation and synergy.

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on!”
Albert Einstein

Innovation is contagious
The innovation methodology of conventional business – which begins with metrics, short-term tactics and strategic goals – makes truly positive disruptive progress difficult. It’s designed to perform against – and is subsequently constrained by – benchmarks.

When I set out to innovate, on the other hand, I start with my values – I ask myself how this innovation will benefit all the children of all species for all time. Then I overlay the filter of my principles. Finally, I overlay the business goals, strategies, tactics and metrics the innovation should answer. That’s how principled innovation happens.”
William McDonough1

This workshop permits those competent professionals to gain the knowledge, skills and proven best practices to master the complete collaborative and iterative innovation cycle. This cycle spans from incubating, boosting and capturing imagination to framing a portfolio of competing core ideas; then to conceptualization, simulation, reality-testing and prototyping; including prudent iterations of these tasks, before the production of deliverables that clients/users would value and safely adopt. Note that the deliverables can be a product, a service or a combination. It may form a policy or an enabling process to improve safety, traceability, communications, productivity or teamwork. The participants will specifically learn to:

  1. The competencies and practical instruments produce bold “out-of-the-box” practical innovations, with less guesswork, both in technological and non-technological fields. With these skills and Harvard University Global System’s framework and tools, you can spark novel options by seeding, stimulating and exploring a complete panorama of choices in crafting goals, deliverables and strategies, mobilizing and allocating resources, prototyping, securing buy-ins, mitigating risks, executing and delivering excellence.
  2. Step-by-step techniques and behaviors to brainstorm and excel in team synergy; i.e., increase your team’s speed and capacity to seamlessly create superior durable and effective physical and digital products or services, processes, policies, rules, decision mechanisms, strategic alliances, online platforms and intelligence.
  3. Lessons from the successes and failures that led to best practices at small and large firms and governments.

These competencies and tools are vital to compete globally, build and retain clients and high-performing teams. Bring your own innovation case or skunkworks project for consideration during teamwork (one case per group of 4 participants).


1. The Dynamics of Synergistic and Collaborative Innovation

  • What common collaborative-team attribute permitted the sustainable innovative start-up of the following firms: Apple, Aqylon, Argo AI, Biok+, Blackstone, Cisco, Google, HP, Impinj, Instagram, Intel, Microsoft, Snap, Stripe, Yahoo, WeWork and Wikipedia?
  • Definitions: Value-development phases (incubation, creation, extraction); innovation and ideation cycles; sustaining vs disruptive innovation; internal vs open innovation; portfolio vs focused strategy
  • Challenging the Rules of the Game. Crafting the Innovation Goal
    • Questioning assumptions, boundaries and practices. Reinventing the rules. Reframing to innovate
    • Crafting the Corridors of navigation for discovery, learning and creating value
    • How to build quality, capacity, velocity, usability and sustainability in the innovation exercise
  • Team-synergy exercise stretching the participant’s comfort zone

2. Configuring Your Innovator’s Canvas and Checklists

  • Configuring, pruning and updating the canvas to address fundamental questions about:
    • Current and emerging threats and opportunities
    • The future including pathways to get there
  • Innovation activities
    • Visualizing, observing, incubating, strategizing and modeling options
    • Experimenting and reflecting, reality-testing, prototyping, piloting
    • Developing, alpha testing, scaling, beta testing and delivering excellence

3. How to Integrate Innovative Thinking and Strategic Positioning Across the Value Chain:
    Methods, Techniques and Harvard® Tools
    to Seek and Exploit the Best Opportunities

  • Anchoring the innovation: Scope, value chain, uncertainties, iterative milestones and evaluation mechanisms
  • Harvard University Global System: A proven framework addressing the flaws of traditional brainstorming
  • Harvard® Creativity Template and framework to boost innovation capacity and velocity:
    Thinking outside the box with a free flow of ideas, inventing real and fuzzy options, with less guesswork
    • How to stimulate creativity, build, improve upon everyone’s suggestions and have fun
    • How to harness and challenge abductive arguments and open new vistas for potential innovations
    • Rules for healthy and provocative auto-critique and collective critique
    • Open-source intelligence exercises to locate nuggets in a haystack, sketch the forest and build a value proposition from a cluster of choices:
      Illustrations from corporate finance and aerospace
    • Lessons from Dr. Joseph Lister, Louis Pasteur and Procter & Gamble’s 150-year old profitable innovation
    • 20 benchmarking questions on quality, usability and sustainability to test the validity of your harvest?
    • Core of usability and sustainability sciences (reading reference)

4. Teamwork Exercises to Stimulate Critical Thinking, Build Upon Each Other’s Ideas and Co-create

5. Hard Lessons for Collaborative Teams from Exemplary Innovations, Failures and Brilliant Blunders

  • Mission-critical life-and-death cases from NASA, nuclear energy and defense
  • Amazon, Netflix and Malcolm Gladwell’s truth about innovation
  • How to address serious threats stifling innovation
    • Normalization of deviance, groupthink, perfection syndromes, “the valley of death”
    • Risks and opportunities facing champions, underdogs and riders?
    • Practical lessons from failures including the Space-Shuttle’s Challenger
    • Alternatives to reality-testing in unforgiving contexts: From Seasat A to the Hubble Telescope

6. Leadership Issues: Collaborative Environment, Team Structures, Funding and Progress Benchmarks

  • Video: Astronaut Mike Mullane on accountable self-leaders
  • Innovation acceptance: How to address resistance to change and other Achilles’ heels (blind alleys, scaling, branding) and execute flawlessly
  • Strategic and Operational Innovation Policies

7. Practicing Collaborative Innovation: Roleplaying Case from Your Organization

  • Collaborative-team composition: Options for each team
    • Business, government, cooperatives and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)
    • In-house, outsourced, syndicated or crowdsourced innovation (know-how trading)
  • Iterative innovation rounds: Brainstorming and validating creative options
  • Intergroup learning and feedback

Alain Paul Martin works with innovation teams in the policy realm, biotech, software, energy and mining. In this hands-on workshop, he will share the best practices and the lessons he learned from engineering and science team leaders; from teaching Harvard case studies and experiencing successes and failures.

As a 19-year advanced-technology co-op student at a leading European car maker, he delivered his first innovation, a jig to eliminate his mass-production job through intelligent automation. Upon starting his North-American career in aerospace, Alain earned corporate awards in technological innovations. He went on to lead IT and mathematical-simulation teams to optimize transportation at Du Pont and construction materials at Domtar. He also led the development of an operational-research system to assess TV news-delivery quality and impartiality at the CBC.

He subsequently established a track record in digital and physical product innovations as an inventor (Canadian, U.S. and Japanese patents) and a strategic-change agent in banking, insurance and IT. He incubated the Canadian Food Inspection Agency with Dr. Brian Morrissey. He spearheaded the creation Partners in Health Canada (

Alain held graduate faculty posts in leadership and management of change. As an entrepreneur, he created employment for knowledge workers for over 20 years and led teams to receive a Canada Awards for Excellence certificate and the Mercure Gold Award for a client. He led the creation of Harvard University Global System™ (HUGS), the Global Method and the novel software algorithms used by Skanska to manage projects varying from millions to multi-billion dollars in size.

Alain is a current member of Harvard Faculty Club. He is a 2012 Harvard Fellow (Advanced Leadership) and an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s OPM entrepreneurship (1997-99). He is also certified to teach negotiation in the corporation by Harvard Law School where he took formal training negotiation, mediation and alternative-dispute resolution (ADR). Earlier, he studied advanced technology in France and graduated in Commerce at Concordia.


3 days: Regular fees: $1695; Government: $1495; Group fees for 3 or more participants: $1450 per person.

Fees include a workbook, PPT hand-outs, road maps, Martin’s upcoming brainstorming guide, and a daily continental breakfast plus hot and soft drinks during the morning and afternoon pauses, but exclude hotel accommodation.

How to Register: Please register, online, call us weekdays (9 AM - 4:30 PM EDT) at +1 819-772-7777; toll free in the USA and Canada: 1-800-HARVARD and pay in advance by cheque or credit card.

Send your cheque payable to: The Professional Development Institute PDI Inc.

Cancellation Policy: Participants registering as a group must send substitutes in lieu of cancelling. For other clients, cancellations are accepted if made at least 10 working days prior to the course, and are subject to a $150 service charge per person. Full fees are payable by anyone who fails to attend or cancels less than 10 working days prior to the session. One substitution or transfer to a later course of the same duration is accepted.



We deliver in-house versions of this workshop worldwide to business and governments, NGOs and bar associations and other societies. We would be delighted to work together with your team anywhere. Ask us for a proposal based on the number of participants, the seminar duration and a selection of cutting-edge course materials and case studies most applicable to your environment.

Our fees are most reasonable. If required to support your request, we would provide supporting evidence for service fees recently billed to governments and companies.

The travel expenses for seminar leaders are on cost-recovery basis. They include airfare, ground transportation, meals, gratuities, airport taxes and hotel accommodation. There is no travel expense for seminars held in the cities of New York, Boston, Cambridge and Ottawa where we hold regular public workshops. If applicable in your jurisdiction, sales and value-added taxes (HST and PST or VAT) are extra.

The client is responsible for the conference room, audio-visual materials including 2 flip charts, an 8x8 feet projection screen, internet access, a digital projector for PowerPoint presentations and a laptop computer (as a back-up machine). We also recommend round tables, each seating five participants, in a crescent arrangement, to face the workshop leader.


The dress code is business casual at your discretion. Trust your judgment. When unsure, err on the side of caution. If overdressed, you can remove a tie or a jacket and roll up your sleeves. Members of the Canadian Forces and the U.S. defense community can, at their discretion, either dress casually or keep the uniform.

You will be reminded the first day to dress the way you feel most comfortable for a photo session the next morning.

Although every effort will be made to ensure a pleasant learning environment including a suitable temperature, we recommend you bring a sweater or a jacket to the classroom as individual comfort zones differ and sudden variations in the weather can temporarily affect air conditioning.

Also please kindly refrain from using strong fragrances during the session in order to accommodate your fellow participants who suffer from asthma.


1. William McDonough as quoted by Marc Stoiber in “The Power of Principled Innovation”, Huffington Post, Nov. 6, 2013. Back to caption

USA  Cambridge, MA, USA. Call toll free: 1-800-HARVARD
Canada  Ottawa, ON, CANADA. Call toll free:  1-800-HARVARD or +1-819-772-7777
International  Worldwide Order Center & Main Training Campus: 70 Technology Boulevard
Gatineau, QC J8Z 3H8 CANADA, 1-800-HARVARD
International: +1-819-772-7777
Agendas Harvard et instruments de gestion Harvard en France: D´┐Żmarche Harvard University Global System  European Distribution Centre for Harvard Planners: WH Smith, 248, rue de Rivoli, Paris,75001
Dorothée Ben Tahar: +33 1 44 77 88 99 Extension 1 (Stationery). Concorde Métro Station.

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