Lina Echeverría, PhD Unleashing creativity
Transforming cultures
Spurring innovation
twenty-five years inspiring creativity and delivering breakthroughs at a Fortune 500 powerhouse of innovation understanding of the creative human drive pulling strong -minded, visionary individuals together to solve incredibly complex problems creating cultures where experts are both creative and productive and teams push the edges and deliver on time ability to teach these skills to other leaders helping create cultures of innovation inside companies and organizations Work with Lina to harness the transforming creativity of your organization and deliver breakthrough results.
TEDx Chemung 2011 Talk Lina Echeverria – Creative Talent
  TEDx video
Learn more about Lina

Résumé | Short bio

“Lina understands the delicate balance — the ‘creative tension’ — between unleashing creative researchers and harnessing their work to actual products and revenue. Too little freedom and you get predictable, marginal progress that doesn’t create competitive leaps; too much freedom, and you don’t get anything that customers can use or will pay for.

Lina knows how to balance risk against reward, technical innovation and practical applicability; she knows how to get out of the way of R&D talent, knows how to mentor young scientists and how to support and unleash mature creative researchers, knows how to pull together independent scientists and business people into effective teams working together to create something new.

But more than that, she knows how to teach those skills to other managers. Lina has spent her career not just surviving but thriving in the results-oriented world of science R&D. She knows first hand the withering demands of budgets, deadlines, and competitive pressure.”

Charles Fishman
Editor at Large, Fast Company

“Lina’s experience in leading innovation teams to deliver establishes her with unassailable credibility—she has done it, she knows what it was like, and she was extremely successful using any corporate/organizational criteria imaginable. Her upcoming book Idea Agent establishes her as an intellectual powerhouse, and a gifted writer.”

Kenton Hyatt
Principal, The Kairios Group
Co-author, Values Perspective

“Few citizens of the corporate world can claim the ground held by Lina Echeverria in leading creative talent to produce breakthrough innovation. Her remarkable track record of success at Corning Inc. is a product of her paradoxical blends of courage and compassion, brilliance and street-smarts, and being both a corporate manager and a creative maverick herself. With boundless energy, a fierce drive, and a mischievous smile, Lina has proven herself a role model for leading the charge to liberate creativity.”

Rob Kaiser
President, Kaiser Leadership Solutions
Senior Partner, Kaplan DeVries Inc.

“My collaboration with Dr. Lina Echeverria was among the most extraordinary of my career in Corning in at least two dimensions.  First, our collaborative output was the delivery of high value glass products for the most explosive era of the LCD industry, which continue to evolve today as the state of the art. And, equally importantly, our work together with me on the customer side and Lina leading the creative & technology delivery side serves as an exemplar for the sheer joy of converting ideas into impactful innovations.  As a practitioner of Research and New Business management, Lina has no equal in stimulating creative and practical output from a high performance Research team. 

I am pleased to see that Lina has taken the step of articulating and systematizing her magic for managing ‘creative tension’ in an Innovation culture.  Her insights engendered in ‘The Seven Passions of Innovation’ are accessible, achieveable, versatile and, above all, TRUE.  Lina's original thinking combined with her energetic and engaging collaborative style can have a catalytic effect on the creativity and effectiveness of an organization that recognizes they must Innovate to survive.”

Dr. Peter Bocko
CTO - Glass Technologies Group, Corning Incorporated

Why You Hate Work – And What Can Leaders Do About It Jun 20, 2014 Excessive demands are leading to burnout everywhere. Not news, these days, unfortunately for many. Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath have much to teach us, as recently discussed in their Opinion piece on The New York Times. Read More +
Toxic Or Authentic Leadership? The Choice Is Yours. The Impact, To The Bottom Line Jan 29, 2014 By focusing on the US Army, a piece on NPR’s All Things Considered earlier this month turned our awareness to the issue of toxic leadership. By acknowledging that they have too many "toxic leaders" —the kind of bosses who make their employees miserable—top commanders in the army have taken the lead over corporate upper management, who share the situation but who may not be quite so ready to acknowledge it and, thus, address it. By contrast, the military—for whom it has been a matter of life and death—has been proactive, starting with a clear definition of the problem. Read More +
Should leaders care more? Oct 09, 2013 There is a common temptation to view leadership as pushing really, really hard and wanting to go really, really fast. We feel at times that change can’t ever be fast enough. But when the pursuit is for transformative change and the effort requires that each person put in the best of self day after day, the goal is achieved instead by creating meaningful, satisfying work for all involved, and conscious, healthy organizations; it is best realized by focusing on one person at a time, meeting unique needs with unique styles; and it can best be achieved by motivating people to take charge—of their happiness, satisfaction, and high performance at work. Transformation—of organizations, of cultures, of results—is only as swift as the sense of empowerment of an organization. The empowering stand of leading to bring out the best in others is about believing in people and being committed to their success and well-being. It is about seeing their potential—even before they do—and developing it, creating opportunities for them to walk into and grow, raising the bar and challenging people to stretch and expand. Read More +
< See previous entries

Categories Context Seven Passions of Innovation Embrace Creative Conflict Create a Culture Let the Best Take Flight Provide Authentic Leadership Values that Liberate Creativity
Blog Archive 2014 2013 2012
Presentations For a journey into creating a culture that delivers, Lina's understanding and experience in managing creative talent come to life in a presentation on some of the aspects discussed in her book Idea Agent: Leadership that liberates creativity and accelerates innovation. For her perspective on building technology careers in corporate America, she dovetails learnings from her own career with the perspective and understanding gained over 25 years. Her presentations, tailored to the needs and interests of your group, are educational as much as inspirational. To inquire about availability and book an event click here >
Evaluations Harnessing transforming creativity
An analysis and evaluation of the needs of a specific organization—such as the dynamics of a given team; the vitality of the culture of creativity within a group; the desire to establish or strengthen a culture of innovation—through a series of exchanges and interviews to yield a series of recommendations for your organization on unleashing creativity and delivering productivity to transform and sustain leadership growth and organizational learning.
To learn more and inquire about availability click here >
Workshops Leading to create cultures where innovation thrives
A customizable program for developing innovation leaders and creating cultures of innovation, based on real-life innovation success
Addressing the needs of the group in an individualized way, and providing guidance to the participants on unleashing creativity and delivering productivity, this workshop is an effective tool for leadership development and the creation of cultures that innovate and deliver. The experience helps leaders recognize and develop individual talent and style and apply them to the creation of cultures of innovation. But it also helps groups to develop the trust, collaboration and synergy that breakthroughs demand. The scope and scale of the workshop is tailored to your organization, as are the members of the training team.
To inquire about availability and to book an event click here >
Coaching Keeping the fire alive
Leading fast-paced innovation teams puts the most seasoned of leaders to the test. To hold together the responsibilities of the role, a successful leaders needs backbone, moral fiber, and spiritual fortitude—and the support of the organization and upper management. In select cases, to guide and support leaders, Lina can provide coaching in staying centered while providing the motivation to deliver cultures that bring out creativity and deliver innovation.
To explore possibilities and availability click here >
The Significance of Culture on Innovation More than simple processes July 4, 2012

The world of innovation is competitive and fast moving. Winning in today’s world requires not only unique insight and real creativity, but demands multidisciplinary teams delivering together. With complexity and high pace, normal innovation processes—strategic analysis, idea identification and opportunity selection, portfolio management practices, project management and stage gate processes—are necessary but not sufficient to generate real breakthroughs.

Strategy and processes only take you so far if the human the drive of innovation is not addressed, employees are not empowered and a solid culture of innovation is absent. When embedded in organizations, culture is the transforming force of companies. We all know global corporations with excellent fundamental capabilities who also understand what they need to do to become competitive, but where the basic behaviors are not being addressed, and they are staying on the sidelines, far from their goal as innovator leaders.

The secret successful enterprises know is that harnessing creativity requires researchers, developers, manufacturers, and marketers working together, rather than constantly battling over goals and priorities. Creativity needs to thrive every day at the front lines of organizations between groups with contrasting cultures and goals that clash—researchers and business leaders. The key to drive innovation is to bring organizations and teams to perform in symphony. It is imperative to balance freedom and rigor by giving the creatives the space to find path-breaking new ideas while imposing the kind of rigor that business and competition, budgets, and product cycles require. You need to have both—and you can.

Creating a culture for successful innovation is more than the implementation of standard processes and techniques. It relies on innovative leadership that develops a culture that inspire sand empowers others to explore and take risks—and deliver. A culture that unleashes creativity and spurs innovation, where the leader balances liberating the creative spirit and providing clear organizational structure, uses flexibility as much as rigor. This kind of leadership takes commitment and passion.

There are important elements that provide the vibrancy and the rigor essential to create the culture of success and delivering innovation. I call them “Seven Passions of Innovation”. Some of these elements are:

  1. Understanding that conflict is an essential element of creativity and innovation and learning to manage, resolve and benefit from it. Fear of managing the passions of creative scientists will only lead to missed opportunities.
  2. Bringing together teams of diverse, highly intelligent people and leading them in a way that engages their deepest personal motivations and drives results
  3. Demanding excellence, instilling a spirit of high performance and focusing on commitment to meet objectives and deliver results
  4. Defining a clear structure that informs the interactions, the roles and the responsibilities of every person and eliminates barriers and inefficiencies

Training, knowledge and daily practice in these skills that can turn managers into leaders of highly motivated and creative teams that deliver innovation daily, that transform organizations from acceptable but lackluster to dynamic and innovative. And, in my experience, these are skills that can be learned. Failure to do so leaves the dream of becoming innovation leaders untouched.

Articles The Significance of Culture on Innovation
July 5 , 2012
Profiles in Diversity Journal Women Worth Watching staff 2009 Creative Tension, Fast Company “How can we possibly expect innovation to happen without the growth and development of the people delivering it?” Click to open publication +
Idea Woman, MBA Jungle Denis Wilson 2008 Creative Tension, Fast Company “Echeverría foster[s] a free exchange of viewpoints. It’s an approach that fits Corning’s culture, where innovation is paramount” Click to open publication +
Here's Sand In Your Eyes Larry Bernardinis 2002 Creative Tension, Fast Company “… we need an advocate in government to help keep creativity—the American spirit—alive”…”I do have someone in mind for this position… She’s the director of technology at one of America’s top laboratories”…”Her name is Lina Echeverria, scientist turned manager with the impossible task of keeping almost 50 high-level researchers focused, creative, and happy” Click to open publication +
Putting quirks to work Red Herring Staff 2002 Creative Tension, Fast Company “… a passion of Ms. Echeverria’s… is to help inspire new ideas and sustain innovation…she matches up researchers to projects in which they can be passionately engaged and willing to take risks.” Click to open publication +
Outgoing Corning Manager
Fosters Innovation in Employees
Carol Hymowitz 2001 Creative Tension, Fast Company “Scientists, like artists, are quirky and rebellious thinkers,” Lina Echeverria “says. ‘Their job it to be skeptical and challenge the system”…”they don’t have much use for managers like me—and often they are right! he same time, Ms. Echeverria must pay attention to the bottom line”. Click to open publication +
Crafty and Creative:
How Lina Echeverría manages geniuses
Working Smart 2001 Business Management Daily “If you rely on brainpower to get ahead, you'd better have a boss like Lina Echeverria. ” Click to open publication +
Creative Tension Charles Fishman 2001 Creative Tension, Fast Company “Lina guardian of one of the great scientific traditions of America… an energetic…woman…(who) brings an unlikely management style to Corning” Click to open publication +
Book references Frans Johansson, 2004, The Medici Effect, Harvard Business School Press, Boston p. 184 - 186
Bill Jensen, 2001, Work 2.0, Rewriting the Contract, Perseus Publishing, Cambridge p. 86-87, 149-150
Susan M. Cantrell and David Smith, 2010, Workforce of One: Revolutionizing Talent Management Through Customization, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, p. 120, 138
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