Why Innovation Leadership?
“If you dig into the challenges facing innovation you'll discover there is a leadership problem. Because companies don't innovate, people innovate. If we're going to drive innovation & transformation we have to empower our people."
IlA Program - Richard Banfield
Richard Banfield
VP of Design Transformation
ILA Program - Program Pillars
The Program Pillars

Becoming an innovation leader is as challenging as it is transformative.

The ILA Program is designed to help you practice and hone key skills in your leadership journey.

Facilitation MasteryCreated with Sketch.
Facilitation Mastery
Design and lead collaborative experiences across diverse groups.
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Applied Design Thinking
Solve complex problems to create business impact & user value.
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Empowered Leadership
Know, trust, and value your personal brand of leadership.
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Coaching Mindset
Coach and be coached to unlock team potential and your own.

Who Attends and Why?

Innovation is a collaborative, cross-functional team sport. Not only was the ILA Program designed with this principle in mind, but it thrives from its diversity of attendee experiences and backgrounds.

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Creative Leads
The most explosive leadership growth is happening within Product, Design, & Research. Exciting and also a critical moment in time for you to learn to lead and demonstrate organizational value.
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Sales & Marketing Directors
Sales, Marketing, and CX serve as voice of the customer. Join ILA to develop your leadership model and help drive customer-empowering innovation initiatives.
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Business Operations
R&D projects get implemented & adopted because of the support of HR, Finance, Legal, Ops. Now it's time to cultivate innovation wins within your own organization.
ILA Program - Technologists
Where would modern innovation be without technologists? It's time for you to elevate your team's seat at the table by leading business agility throughout your organization.
Your Coaches

Jay Melone is the founder of New Haircut, a former product design & development studio that transformed itself by immersing in the mindset and methods of applied design thinking. Today, New Haircut is a global innovation consultancy and leader in design sprints.

Jay has 20 years of deep product expertise. He supports product, design, & innovation teams within Google, Home Depot, and Pearson. He considers the success of his work to be measured less in the new products & services his client teams create, and more in their learned ability to trust, create, and win together.

Daniel Stillman

Daniel Stillman designs conversations for a living. An independent design facilitator and coach, he works with teams and organizations to frame and sustain productive and collaborative conversations. He’s worked with clients of all shapes and sizes on product, service and organizational innovation.

He hosts The Conversation Factory podcast and is the author of the upcoming book, “Good Talk: How to Design Conversations That Matter” a handbook for changemakers and innovators.

Guest Mentors
Become inspired by and learn from ILA's community of coaches and mentors
Meeta Patel

Meeta Patel is the founder of Design Catalyst. She brings combined design thinking & business thinking expertise to deliver deeply impactful corporate innovation. Meeta was previously the Global VP of Design Thinking at SAP.

Bree Groff

Bree Groff is a transformation expert and Principal at SYPartners. She’s on a mission to help companies and people not just embrace change, but get good at it. Bree holds an MS in Organizational Learning and Change from Northwestern University, and is a visiting lecturer at Northwestern and Parsons.

Helge Hellberg

Helge Hellberg coaches people in leadership positions or people who desire to get there – women and men who realize their self-responsibility to create exactly the professional and personal fulfillment they want.

ILA Program - Emily Levada

Emily Levada is a Director of Product Management and Design at Wayfair. She has a passion for organizational behavior – frequently writing and speaking about the role trust and psychological safety play in organizational creativity, risk-tolerance, and resilience.

Current innovation leaders share why this work matters, so much
Kai Haley
As one of the founders of our Google Sprint Master Academy my role is to develop curriculum and programs that build leaders inside of Google. The pillars of the ILA program represent the core skills that I look for in our leaders. Developing a strong sense of values, combined with the ability to facilitate Design Thinking is the foundation for unlocking the true potential of an organization. The format of this training provides an opportunity to develop a deep practice over time with other leaders, which I have found to be particularly effective in the training programs I run.
Kai Haley
Design Relations Lead & Sprint Master Academy at Google
ILA Program - Jason Cyr
"Jay and Daniel are trusted advisors to our design transformation programs. So it’s not surprising that they've developed a program that addresses a challenge I (and others) face - providing continued growth and learning opportunities to our future leaders. The ILA program develops real personal & professional growth, which leads to big impact and sustained change."
Jason Cyr
Design Leadership at Cisco
ILA Program - Stephanie Allen
"The ILA program helps outstanding doers become outstanding leaders. As someone who leads a product management organization, I love that this program focuses on not just the regular soft skills of management, but also facilitating collaboration, creation of a shared vision, and unlocking the power of the team through coaching. Participants in the program seem to learn things that would take me months if not years to recreate with individuals on my team."
Stephanie Allen
VP, Digital Product Management at Pearson
Program Overview
What you need to know about joining

Major Milestones

The high-level components of the program.

Continue further below for a Calendar view and Detailed Syllabus.

Inhouse Training
Opening Intensive
You’ll be initiated into the program with an intensive, deeply practical 2-day learning experience. We’ll explore and practice facilitative leadership, team trust building, innovation frameworks, and more.
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Group Coaching | 90-min Video Calls
Following the opening workshops, we'll meet bi-weekly as a group, over video calls. These sessions will be highly interactive to allow you the opportunity to explore new topics and lean further into areas particular to your journey.
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Expert Mentorship | 1-on-1 Coaching Calls
Meet 1-on-1 with the program coaches to receive completely individualized support and coaching. These sessions are meant to provide you with a safe space to go deep on your challenges, as well as ensure you're fulfilling your innovation leadership intentions and dreams.
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Peer Coaching | Weekly Video Calls
In between the Group Coaching and 1-on-1 sessions, you'll learn and practice the art of peer coaching. We'll place you in triads that we design intentionally, to help assure you're being supported and providing support in a mutually beneficial way.
Meetup Events
Closing Retreat & Capstone Project
To celebrate and share your learnings, and help you design your road ahead, the program will close with another highly immersive 2 days together. You'll be expected to lead the group through an immersive learning experience, as well as present your innovation capstone project.

Program Timeline

A visual overview of your activity within the program

ILA Program - Program Timeline

Program Particulars

Opening and Closing Instensives

The arc of the program is anchored by an opening and a closing 2-day intensive. Our past cohorts have been in-person. Future cohorts will offer remote options.

Coaching Calls

Over the course of the 12-week program, there are 3 types of additional coaching calls you’ll join:

  • Group Coaching: These are held bi-weekly with the entire group over Zoom video calls. These are facilitated, interactive sessions led by the program coaches and other guest mentors.
  • 1-on-1 Coaching: These are private, 1-on-1 Zoom video calls with the program coaches. You’ll be invited to schedule 1 or 2 sessions over the 12 weeks.
  • Peer Coaching: Every week you’ll meet with your assigned triad. We’ll coach you on coaching, mindfulness, and feedback so that you and the whole triad get the most from these sessions.
Assignments & Resources

To keep you organized and hold you accountable, you’ll have access to ILA’s Learning Management System – the ILA Guide.

Within, you’ll find weekly collections of videos, reading materials, presentations, and templates. Each week is organized to complement and support you within the current arc of the program.

Cohort and Coaching Communication

Questions about the content? Looking for more resources about a particular topic? Forgot what you should be working on this week?

Get the support you need at any time, from your program coaches and one another! You have 24-7 access to ILA’s community slack channel.

Time Commitment

The Innovation Leadership Accelerator is a 12-week, part-time program. We designed it to fit your current work and personal schedules, while still having a lasting impact on your work and the teams to lead. And yet, you will need to push and stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone.

To get the most out of the program, expect to spend a minimum of 5 hours per week:

  • 1 – 2 hrs on reading and materials
  • 2 hrs applying frameworks to your Innovation Capstone Project
  • 1 hr in your Peer Coaching triad
  • 90 mins (bi-weekly) participating in the Group Coaching calls

Our most successful participants spend 6-8 hours per week:

  • Connecting with other participants outside of their triad
  • Reviewing program insights with co-workers and managers
  • Interviewing and learning from your project stakeholders
  • Diving deeper to get and give the most during the Closing Retreat

This will be a journey. We will support you and hold you accountable, up to the level that bold, inspiring leaders require.

Certificates of Completion

With your successful demonstration of the program pillars, you will be provided a Certificate of Completion during the program’s Closing Retreat.

Please write to us if your company has specific certificate requirements.



Detailed Syllabus

Kickoff Call (60 min video call)

Arrive, check in, and meet your coaches and one another.

Get familiar with the program norms, expectations, and logistics.

Show up ready for the opening intensive – includes a review of preliminary resources in the ILA Guide.


W01 continued: 2-Day Opening Intensive

Day 1

  • Mindful Check-in & Setting Intentions
  • Building your Leadership Model
  • Mapping Innovation
  • Facilitation Essentials
  • Innovation Improv
  • Leading with Vulnerability
  • Reflecting, Journaling & Checking-out

Day 2

  • Mindful Check-in
  • Attentive Coaching
  • Design Thinking Essentials
  • Framing Complex Problems
  • Building your Innovation Challenge Map
  • Preparing for the rest of the program
  • Reflecting, Journaling & Checking-out


 The Facilitator’s Stance

This Week

Meet with your Triad for the first time. Practice your coaching questions: How are we each living our Leadership Model?

Abstracting your problem.

Share your innovation hypothesis.

+Group Coaching

With special guest Helge Hellberg, Executive Coach

  • Somatic awareness
  • Active listening
  • Mindful acknowledgement of the other


: Modular Design Thinking

This Week

Brainstorming as a conversation

Schedule your 1-on-1 coaching calls with the program coaches

Triad meeting: Practice Coaching and Feedback on our innovation challenge and/or leadership model


W04: Remote Facilitation and Visual Thinking

This Week

Leverage tools like Mural and Miro to enhance an in-person or remote collaboration

Explore the shared Mural templates to help organize and visualize your Innovation Project

Triad meeting: Practice coaching and feedback on your Innovation Project and/or leadership model

+Group Coaching

Remote Facilitation with guest mentor from online collaboration company

+1-on-1 Coaching

Discuss your ideas, challenges, and needs directly with program coaches, Daniel Stillman and Jay Melone


W05: Iteration

This Week

Explore New Haircut’s Duco app to learn more about design sprints

Triad meeting: Practice coaching and feedback on your Innovation Project


W06: Prototyping to Learn

This Week

What do prototypes prototype?

Mapping stakeholders: networks, impact radials, spectrums, and grids

Approaching research interviews: 2 models to experiment with

Prepare your mock interviews

Triad meeting: Mock stakeholder interviews + coaching and feedback

+Group Coaching

Group presentation of your leadership model

Pop quiz with RTB feedback


W07: Finding and Getting Feedback

This Week

Stakeholder interviews to learn and refine your Innovation Project

Triad meeting: Practice coaching and feedback on your Innovation Project


W08: Leaders are Experience Designers

This Week

Disprove your innovation hypothesis

The Airplane Experiment

Part 1: Learning to facilitate experiences // Prep for Closing Retreat – Leadership Experience Interactive

Schedule your 1-on-1 coaching calls with the program coaches

Triad meeting: Practice coaching and feedback on your Innovation Project

+Group Coaching

Group share out: your own RTBs on your Innovation Project, with group reflection and feedback


W09: Storytelling and Iteration

This Week

Storytelling Part 1: Sketching your story arc

Storytelling Part 2: Iterating your story arc

Storytelling Part 3: Who is your audience?

Storytelling Part 4: Story as distillation

Part 2: Learning to facilitate experiences // Prep for Closing Retreat – Leadership Experience Interactive

Triad meeting: Practice coaching and feedback on your Innovation Project

+1-on-1 Coaching

Closing Retreat check-in with program coaches, Daniel Stillman and Jay Melone


W10: Change is Hard

This Week

Head’s down and head’s up on your Closing Retreat assignments

Triad meeting: Practice coaching and feedback on your Innovation Project

Cross-triad meeting: Gain new insights from others outside your triad

+Group Coaching

Bree Groff of SY Partners joins us to lead an interactive discussion on change

  • Honoring the fear and loss of change
  • Helping people transition through change
  • Share the change you hope to inspire


W11: Cranking on Closing

This Week

Head’s down and head’s up on your Closing Retreat assignments

Triad meeting: Coaching and feedback to refine and finalize your Innovation Project

Cross-triad meeting: Gain new insights from others outside your triad


W12: Executive Stakeholder Feedback

This Week

Head’s down and head’s up on your Closing Retreat assignments

Triad meeting: Coaching and feedback to refine and finalize your Innovation Project

+Group Coaching

Special guest mentor to help you practice sharing your story with executive stakeholders


W12 continued: 2-Day Closing Retreat

Day 1

  • Mindful Check-in & Setting Intentions
  • Lead your Leadership Experience Interactive + RTB feedback from the group
  • In-person extended Triad sessions – review and refine your Innovation Project
  • Reflecting, Journaling & Checking-out

Day 2

  • Mindful Check-in & Setting Intentions
  • Present your Innovation Project + RTB feedback from the group
  • In-person extended Triad sessions – honoring and preparing for what’s next
  • Reflecting, Journaling & Checking-out
  • Final closing and remaining a community
Joining the Cohort


If you’re interested in joining and would like additional info, leave your info below and we’ll be in touch once applications reopen.

Want to join a future cohort?
Get notified when we announce the next one!