About Us

Charles Kiefer

Charles KieferCharles Kiefer is President of Innovation Associates, Inc. He founded the firm in 1976, and along with Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline, helped pioneer the body of concepts and methods now called organizational learning that enable large organizations to innovate, and to change from being driven by circumstance and managed through compliance, to being characterized by aspiration and deep commitment. Most recently, Kiefer and Len Schlesinger, President of Babson College, developed a complementary set of ideas based on the logic and methods that serial entrepreneurs employ to create the future in the face of extreme uncertainty.

Today, he helps global companies leverage the human side of their enterprise primarily by working with executives and their teams to improve the quality of their thought. He possesses a broad range of experience with major multi-national corporations and because of his success in founding and managing his own businesses, brings an unusual business-oriented perspective to human resource issues. Throughout all his consulting engagements, Mr. Kiefer has helped clients manage both the “hard” technical and “soft” human sides of change. As a result, people in these firms are able to operate in more flexible, open ways, and collaborate across traditional hierarchical boundaries to discover new business opportunities.

Mr. Kiefer grew up in Washington, DC and then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received degrees in Physics and Management. He worked on the staff of the United States Senate and the Administrative staff of MIT. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.


Joel Yanowitz

Mr. Yanowitz is a co-founder and vice president of Innovation Associates. With over 30 years experience helping organizations address pressing business and organizational challenges, he is known for his ability to help leaders achieve their desired results while building new skills and capabilities. Mr. Yanowitz is also an expert at facilitating executive team alignment. His clients have included Nissan, Clorox, EMC, Current TV, The Coca Cola Company, Travelocity.com, Daimler Chrysler, British Petroleum, Cendant, The United Methodist Church, as well as numerous small and mid-sized organizations.

In addition to his coaching and consulting expertise, he has held leadership roles in running companies, managing sales, and launching start-ups. From 1995-2000, Mr. Yanowitz was a Vice President of Arthur D. Little, a global management consulting and technology development company, where he led the Organization Practice and co-led the Strategy Practice in North America. He also serves on a number of corporate and non-profit Boards.

He graduated from Columbia University’s Advanced Program in Organizational Development and Human Resources Management, and lives in Mill Valley, California, where he enjoys tennis and mountain biking and holds a second-degree black belt in Aikido.


Heidi Sparkes Guber

Heidi Sparkes GuberHeidi has over 25 years of experience bringing learning-based performance and strategic leadership to a wide variety of private, public and governmental organizations, including Ford Motor Company, Nissan, UCB Pharma, Merck, Cisco, DTE, NSA, ICF/World Bank, IDA and more. She has served as program designer, leader and coach for numerous senior executives and managers in innovative business initiatives and systemic change.

Heidi has been learning and practicing Just Start principles since her first ET&A course in August 2009, and has since participated in the program’s evolution through designing and facilitating the 2-day course, the practical action monthly series and the online pilots. She has seen many friends and colleagues benefit from applying CreAction principles in their businesses and personal lives.


Paul B. Brown

A long-time writer for The New York Times, Paul, is also a contributing editor to both The Conference Board Review (where he also writes a column) and M.I.T.’s Sloan Management Review.

A former writer and editor for Business Week, Financial World, Forbes and Inc. Paul is a graduate of Rutgers College and Rutgers University Law School and is a member of both the New Jersey and Massachusetts bar, but he asked that you don’t hold that against him.


Leonard A. Schlesinger

Leonard A. Schlesinger, the 12th president of Babson College, came to the College from Limited Brands where he was vice chairman and chief operating officer.

His academic career includes 20 years at Harvard Business School where he served as the George Fisher Baker Jr. Professor of Business Administration. Len is the author or co-author of nine books, including The Value Profit Chain (Free Press), The Service Profit Chain (Free Press) and The Real Heroes of Business . . . and Not a CEO among Them (Doubleday).

He earned his DBA from Harvard Business School, an MBA from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University.