A legacy of helping others explore a more innovative world.
Innovation. Creativity. Transformation.
If a person can make a discovery in just one of these disciplines in a lifetime, that’s noteworthy. But for anyone who can offer new perspectives to others on an ongoing basis in all three, that’s life-changing.
This is the effect left by Dr. George Land, an author, speaker, consultant and general systems scientist. While he offered a broad background in communications, business and government, it was the sharing of his discoveries and theories that left lasting impressions before he passed away recently at age 84.
One such occurrence happened the same day of an event that shook a nation—the April 20, 1999, shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado. Land was in Chicago to speak at the Strategic Leadership Forum and a mixed Kim Kressaty was to attend. She followed through and ultimately reshaped her life. “Here was George Land talking about bringing the creative problem-solving process to strategic planning,” says Kressaty, who was director of strategic and business planning for Johnson Wax Professional at the time. “His concepts around transformational growth combined with creative strategic thinking were brilliant for the time.”
By then, Land’s landmark book “Grow or Die: The Unifying Principle of Transformation” had been published and nominated for a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. His theory of transformation has been called a cornerstone in the strategic planning and organizational transformation of corporations. “He provoked me to think differently and his ideas expanded my world view,” says Doug Reid, who met Land when he was presenting his theories in 1979 at the Creative Problem Solving Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. “He discovered a theory of transformation that puts into perspective why and how individuals and organizations grow, change and sometimes renew themselves.”
At the time, Land was CEO of Innotek Corp., an institute he founded to search for further knowledge about the enhancement of creative performance. His learnings also formed the core of leadership and innovation training he offered as CEO of Leadership 2000, with hundreds of major corporations worldwide using his processes. He gained more followers with the books “Nature’s Hidden Force: Joining Spirituality and Science” and “Breakpoint and Beyond: Mastering the Future Today” written with wife and partner Dr. Beth Jarman.
Land ultimately made his way to Arizona to become Chairman and CEO of FarSight Group, where Kressaty joined him to lead a number of creative thinking initiatives as a senior partner at FarSight Group before she became founder of Future Pull Consulting. Reid also is based here as a partner at New & Improved.
Arizona also gave him the opportunity to impact a new group of leaders, including Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority, and Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. In fact, the Farsight Group was asked to facilitate strategic planning for the Council, Arizona Technology Council Foundation and Arizona SciTech Festival. “He definitely made an impact on my life in the way I think about innovation,” Zylstra says. “I learned a lot from him and am better for it.”
Watson considers herself fortunate for getting the opportunity to work with Land on several initiatives to advance Arizona innovation. “His groundbreaking work significantly impacted the way we think about and approach creativity and innovation,” she says. “He was truly a futurist and a wonderful man.”