IMAGINE IT FORWARD by Beth Comstock
Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change
Confronting change is incredibly hard, both organizationally, and personally. People become resistant. They are afraid. Yet the pace of change in our world will never be slower than it is right now, says Beth Comstock, the former Vice Chair and head of marketing and innovation at GE.
IMAGINE IT FORWARD: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change (September 18, 2018, Currency, $30), is an inspiring, fresh, candid, and deeply personal book about how to grapple with the challenges to change we face every day. It is a different kind of narrative, a big picture book that combines Comstock’s personal story in leading change with vital lessons on overcoming the inevitable roadblocks.
One of the most successful women in business, Comstock shares her own transformation story from introverted publicist to GE’s first woman Vice Chair, and her hard-won lessons in shifting GE, a 125 year old American institution, toward a new digital future and a more innovative culture.
In IMAGINE IT FORWARD, Comstock describes her experiences on the front lines of business while offering practical insights and a disciplined approach to change, including:
- The power of discovery—bringing the outside into your organization. It’s about turning the world into a classroom.
- Find a spark—provocateurs who challenge established ways of thinking can be a powerful catalyst for change.
- Give yourself permission—every change-maker must learn to give herself permission to push outside expectations and boundaries.
As the woman who initiated GE’s Ecomagination clean-energy and its (and NBC’s) digital transformations, Comstock challenged a global organization to not wait for perfection, but to seek out emerging trends, embrace smart risks and test ideas boldly, and often. She shows how each one of us can become a “change maker” by leading with imagination.
“Ideas are rarely the problem,” writes Comstock. “What holds all of us back, really—is fear. It’s the attachment to the old, to ‘What We Know.’”
As Comstock makes clear, transforming the mindset and culture of a company is messy. There is no easy checklist. It is fraught with uncertainty, tension and too often failure. It calls for the courage to defy convention, go around corporate gatekeepers when necessary, and reinvent what is possible.
For all those looking to spearhead change in their companies and careers, and reinvent “the way things are done,” Imagine It Forward masterfully points the way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Beth Comstock is a change-maker who has helped companies, big and small, grapple with rapid-fire change and open up to transformation. She is currently navigating forward as an author, instigator, and connector.
She was formerly vice chair of GE. Over nearly two decades at GE, she led efforts to accelerate new growth and innovation. Comstock initiated GE’s digital and clean-energy transformations, developed new businesses, increased GE’s brand value, and partnered to enhance its inventive culture. She led the creation of Current, an intelligent environments business, GE Ventures & Licensing, FastWorks, ecomagination and healthymagination, and oversaw GE Lighting. She was responsible for the sales, marketing, and communications functions, and was the company’s first chief marketing officer in twenty years.
As president of Integrated Media at NBC Universal, Comstock oversaw ad revenue and the company’s digital efforts, including the early development of hulu.com. She held a succession of marketing and communications roles at GE, NBC, CBS, and Turner Broadcasting/CNN.
Comstock is a director at Nike and trustee of the National Geographic Society. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in biology.