by Suzi Pomerantz, Community Instigator/Connectress on February 6, 2010

Charlie’s Note

My personal  mission is to inspire leaders to what they are capable of, not just what they can do.  There is a methodology which reliably generates transformation.  It requires courage, clarity and focus in uncommon arenas.  For those willing to take these commitments to heart, a bright future beckons.”

“I want to enroll people in the possibility that they can invent, ignite, and implement breakthrough innovation across their company or whatever they care most about.”

“Power comes from connection.

I am looking to connect with:

  • Possibility thinkers
  • People who appreciate the power of context
  • People wanting to make a big difference
  • People who are committed to breakthrough and transformation for themselves and their clients”

On this faculty page you can learn about The Merlin Navigator, Navigating the Future, Sustainable Transformation, Breakthrough Innovation, and about Charlie Smith, PhD.

The Merlin Navigator

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The Merlin Navigator is a Robust, Versatile, Internet Based Toolbox for leaders, executive coaches, leaders, facilitators and consultants who want to invent, ignite, and sustain innovation or transformation.

It relies on an energy-based view of the world that enables remarkable and unlikely success in corporate and government ventures.

The Merlin Navigator is;

– a system for predicting and increasing chances of project success.

– a CEO’s Transformational toolbox

– a way for Coaches, Facilitators, and Consultants to sell, renew or expand contracts

– directions for Senior Executives to manage and lead their own transformational projects

–  a snapshot of current culture in any organization to be used for overcoming Cultural barriers to Innovation Projects

– a platform for Measuring and Sustaining Transformation

-a scorecard for managing and improving alliances

– useful after any merger or acquisition to align the human aspects of culture integration

– a systematized approach to consistently creating breakthroughs

Merlin Navigator Demo

Download the demonstration slide deck so you can check it out for yourself:  CLICK HERE

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Merlin Navigator Results

Download your copy of the 33 page eBook showcasing sample results:  CLICK HERE

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Navigating the Future:  A Primer for Sustainable Transformation

Author:  Charles E. Smith, Ph.D.

This is a self-help book that tells the truth about leadership in the face of today’s challenges.   Its essence is that while good ideas, good products,  and strong intentions are important, they are not enough.  Rather, Smith suggests that organizations and projects with the most available energy in focus will prevail.  While many will say they want Transformation–at work,  in government, at home and in the world — few will summon the necessary courage and attention required to become transformational  leaders. This book is about what it really takes. Dr. Smith illustrates how to manage the issues of starting up an organization or project, and how to build alliances in mergers and acquisitions.  He provides tools and approaches that are useful in managing complex change, challenges of innovation, performance, sustainability, and morale.

Check out the video!

Read An Excerpt From The Book

Navigating From the Future is a self-help book that is not trying to help, but rather, to tell the truth about what it takes to make transformation happen and sustain it. It is written with great optimism and pessimism at the same time. The optimism comes from long experience that says transformation is always possible. The pessimism comes from the fact that most people and organizations are always living in a condition of No Exit.

In Jean Paul Sartre’s No Exit, three people are escorted into a room, where they create their own hell. When one finally demands for the door to be opened (it was never locked, only closed), the door opens, yet none of them leave.

No Exit is common in most corporate, government,
and community hierarchies.

No Exit exists in most religions and tribes.

No Exit prevails in just about anything that involves people.

No Exit eventually undermines every business, political,
economic, and spiritual system.

No Exit is the impossibility of transformation.

Transformation is a change in composition or structure, a change in character or condition. Transformation is a new possibility, a “wow” that promises more. Transformation is what makes people jump out of bed in the morning and move into their day with enthusiasm and energy. It is the opportunity to start anew or re-vitalize what already exists.

Sustainability normally means keeping a prior innovation alive. The power of transformation, however, comes with returning to a zero state – the place of creativity and invention. It involves a new and free choice to breathe life into what you already have, or to choose a new direction. Trying to keep an old choice going does not work. Recent research from an inventive, global computer chip corporation showed that ninety percent of innovation projects do not sustain. The reasons lie in all of the cultural, technical, and personal mental baggage that has accumulated. To achieve SustainableTransformation, you have to repeatedly access that empty place in the mind where free choice lives — the Moment of Change.

Many people will say they want transformation at work, in government, at home, and in the world, but few demonstrate the courage, talent, and concern for others necessary to become transformational leaders. This is not a criticism. It’s just the way it is. Most of us are ordinary human beings, doing what we do.

My hope is that telling my own truth will set more people free to navigate from the future. Telling our own truth is the code breaker in all human affairs — business, public, and private. It is the transformational element.

It’s simple, not easy.


Charles E. Smith Ph.D, Dan Chen PH.D. and Donald Duprey

Copyright February 2010

In the business, public sector, academic and military sectors, failure and missed expectations plague Innovation projects, technology implementations and other programs. In a recent Innovation conference in Shanghai, a Cisco Systems executive discussed broadly based research that showed that 90 percent of companies did not sustain innovation, 75 percent of new product developments fail, 0ver 50 percent of acquisitions fail or don’t live up to their promises, and over 50 percent of partnerships either fail or don’t live up to expectations. While success can be achieved, many organizations place too great an emphasis on technical solutions and fail to anticipate how the perspectives and interrelationships of key participants can create obstacles that yield failure and loss. This paper offers insights how organizations can accurately assess these issues, anticipate challenges, and most importantly predict the likelihood of success.


The world is littered with examples where once promising opportunities became a source of ongoing disappointment and loss.  Innovation projects, partnerships, alliances, new technology programs, — we launch these things with fanfare and enthusiasm only to suffer as a helpless spectator as commitment disappears, conflict erupts, innovation fizzles and potential profits disappear. What once seemed like a bold step forward only yields distress, embarrassment, waste, lost profit, employee rebellion and investor rage.

While these frustrations are avoidable, the obstacles and solutions that were obscure at inception seem all too clear during the debrief. What organizations want — and what they need — is a better way to anticipate, measure and address impending challenges BEFORE they create disaster. With this in hand, they have the tools to minimize gaps, achieve breakthroughs, sustain momentum and create success.

To achieve this, organizations need to recognize that key players may view the Innovation project from a radically different perspective. These differences can exist when the players are members of a common team or organization and they are magnified when players from different organizations must work together. In business, government and communities, we have become so specialized that we can’t easily talk and influence each others’ approaches to our jobs and lives without a very special effort to do so. This special effort doesn’t happen often because people are locked up in their fundamental points of view — the mental paradigms that shape what they are able to see and listen to, and which stop the possibility of collective action dead in its tracks.

The paradigm for some is the necessity for sound engineering, scientific analysis or financial justification before constructive conversation is allowed. For others, values and a bottom line of caring for people is pivotal. Other’s only see the world through a lens of profit, policy or political alliances.

The outcome of all this “Innovation Paradigm Paralysis” is suppression of the very “Possibility” that is necessary for innovation to occur. No possibility, no innovation. Key players pull in different directions and not realize it until it is too late. The lack of collective commitment and shared meaning means the group is never able to align its energy and brilliance together to yield successful innovation. What happens instead is endless, unproductive conversation trying to satisfy individual interests.

The result is Possibility Deficit Disorder, the Enemy of Innovation.

Unchecked, this impedes the development of the constructive, collaboration that results in either breakthroughs or sustainable innovation.

Possibility Deficit Disorder (PDD) is the pervasive and persistent experience of ‘no possibility’ now, and no attractive prospects in the future. PDD is widespread in modern times. At the national level it is evidenced in the lack of ambitious ventures in technology development, industrial policy, educating necessary resources, infrastructure planning, national security, and transportation. PDD can be observed at the corporate level in ineffective product development, low employee morale, low customer loyalty, high staff turnover, lack of cooperation between functions, self-protective behavior between individuals, and distrust between hierarchy and employees. PDD is demonstrated in individual lives in lack of vitality, self-expression, money, positive relationships, health, dysfunctional marriages and families, absence of ambition, and continuous complaints about how things are.

PDD is not the same as clinical depression. Depression is also accompanied by a loss of the experience of possibility. However, PDD does not necessarily imply a loss of one’s ability to cope, earn a living, or to function in daily life or corporate operations. PDD is a loss of future focus, inspiration, and the ability to create new possibilities for one’s self and others.

PDD is a major cause of the lack of innovation in corporations and national competitiveness. Successful innovation is the basis of competitive success in business, government and in life itself. There is an inverse relationship between the inability to create and sustain new possibilities and the ability to invent and sustain innovation. Curiously, because of PDD, corporations and individuals do not identify the lack of possibility as the root of their recurring challenges, problems and lack of creativity. The very condition precludes them becoming aware of the fact that the lack of possibility is the root of the problem. It is a transparent double bind.

PDD is reinforced by media, politicians and corporate leaders, whose economic or political interests are enhanced by inducing and maintaining fear in their constituencies. Fear is the killer of possibility and possibility thinking. Scared people do what they are told. Therefore, PDD is not simply a matter of psychology and human nature. It is equally a matter of values and the character of leaders.

PDD also, not obviously, helps keep the people in power in power. Either by intention or inadvertently, PDD serves people who control the most valued resources in corporations and government agencies — to have their people not experience too much possibility prevents ‘rocking the boat’ and changes in the balance of power. The modern Zeigeist Movement suggests that the pervasive interest-based banking and financial system is a primary source of PDD.

PDD can be a temporary event caused by difficult circumstances. However, it can also become an personal or group based cultural addiction in itself. The addiction falls into several classes, each with great  power over individuals and groups. These include the:

Order of the Committed Victim,

Order of Diminished Delight

Order of Perpetual Confession

Order of Incessant Explanation

Order of Insincere Apology

Order of Insincere Offers

Order of Fearful Inaction

Order of Having to Make a Difference

Order of Having to Make No difference

Order of Self Deprecation

Order of Too Much to Do

Order of Continual Tidiness

Order of Perpetually Trite Response

Order of the Immaculate Inquiry

Order of Having to Have More

Order of Nobody Tells Me What to Do

Order of Committed Inattention

Order of Desperately Seeking Salvation

Order of Perfection and Worry

Order of Terminal Service

Order of Pathetic Objectives

Order of Having to Do What You Don’t Want To Do

Order of Unworthy Existence

A rare form of PDD is found in those individuals and groups with Possibility Addiction (PA). In these cases people feel compelled to act on possibilities they discover or create. While they experience the positive effects of possibility, they usually do not follow through and are left with far too many possibilities on their plate. This is accompanied by fatigue and a sense of not going anywhere. Often they are critical of people with PDD, without awareness that their own reaction is its apparent opposite, Possibility Addiction.

Everyone suffers from PDD in some areas of their work, community, and personal lives. The very act of naming PDD is a breakthrough for many. Prior to identifying PDD for one’s self or one’s organization, it’s hard to know that Possibility is missing. For some, the addiction is too strong for them to act on the insight. Others, in the moment of seeing that they have been incapable of doing it, immediately begin to identify or invent possibilities.

PDD has many causes, not all of which have been identified. Recent brain research may provide clues. Cultures hard-wire certain behaviors and attitudes into the neurons of the brain. Culture, therefore, makes people blind to certain possibilities. Americans, for example, usually cannot see possibilities transparently available to the Chinese, such as the power and satisfaction in collective effort. Other cultures cannot and will not see possibility in personal freedom and full self-expression. It has been said that “people do not think what they are paid not to think.” Culture is the protector of the status quo and new possibilities are not welcome in many corporate, national, and family cultures.

At the broadest levels, it seems that innovation, economic, technological, and educational success derives from the sum of the sense of possibility and opportunity in the culture. Undeveloped countries seem to have less possibility in their cultures. Fundamentalist groups, certain in their beliefs, whether political, religious, ideological, or commercial, appear to struggle with new possibilities.

PDD is a pervasive disorder. War, persistent animosity, and the unwillingness to risk maintain a vicious circle of past-based behavior. At a recent Innovation conference in Shanghai, one Global IT executive discussed broadly-based research showing that 90 percent of companies did not sustain innovation, and 75 percent of new product developments fail. 0ver 50 percent of acquisitions and more than 50 percent of partnerships either fail or don’t live up to expectations.

While success can be achieved, many organizations place too great an emphasis on technical solutions and do not invent possibilities that could help them move beyond the obstacles that yield failure and loss. While PDD is not the only source of failed innovation, evidence suggests that most companies suffer from acute PDD and remain clueless as to this source of repeated difficulty.

Identity itself is a root cause of PDD. Identity is defined as, “all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing.., the distinguishing character or personality of an individual entity.” Everything seems to flow from who one considers oneself to be — one’s essential character or identity. There are national identities, e.g., to be Canadian is to be moderate, to be British is to be understated. There are personal identities, e.g., I am a father, a friend, a consultant, a believer in the true God.” There are corporate identities, e.g., “We are a service organization” or, “We are smarter than the competition.” Once you consider yourself to be anything, you seem to get stuck with it. The game is over. New possibilities are hard to come by. The past repeats itself, effortlessly guided by the identity.

Identity and possibility have an inverse relationship — the stronger the one, the weaker the other. Fear of loss of identity kills new possibility and suppresses innovation. People will give up success, relationship, sometimes life itself for the preservation of identity. Consider suicide bombers, killing themselves for who they consider themselves to be. On a planetary level, identity is the greatest threat to the survival of humanity as a whole. It is the basis of PDD at local and global levels. Most people and nations appear to be stuck with it.

There is a vast array of symptoms of PDD. While we can classify common symptoms, it is often difficult to tell the difference between a symptom and a cause. For example, PDD is related to weak relationships, lack of shared commitment, absence of respect, little environmental challenge, ineffective leadership, inability to resolve conflict, and low commitment to action. The difficulty in treating any of these to improve PDD is that there are usually so many other causes in the background that the treatment is short-lived or without effect.  This further indicates that PDD emerges from the complex culture or identity of the individual, corporation, or nation. This implies that the introduction of “Possibility” as a phenomenon in a culture or within an identity is the only way to deal reliably with PDD, and further, that treatment of symptoms, while sometimes necessary, is fruitless over the long term. Since entities have survived successfully within the identity or culture they already have, they are unwilling, except in crisis, to change it. And normally, after a crisis, they revert to their prior expressions of PDD. Therein, lies the challenge.

Symptom Checker

Adult PDD Symptoms:

Personal or group identity is the basis of decisions and behavior

Need to be right

Feel like a victim

Feel spiteful

Excessive compliance

Unable to flow with other people or situations

Unable to inspire others to what they are capable of

Unable to listen or pay attention to anything inconsistent with what is

already known

Placing the cause of things outside oneself


Require certainty

Weak relationships

Conflicts do not resolve

Corporate PDD Symptoms

Senior management knows best

Senior people and bottom people communicate mostly through

middle management

Conviction that we already know

Reality is physical

Arbitrary exercise of power

Shallow relationships

Lack of inquiry

Pattern of proceeding to solutions before agreeing on problems

Lack of innovation

Innovations do not sustain

Language disguises underlying realities

Absence of listening

Absence of free speech in practice

National PDD Symptoms

Certainty that “we” are better than other countries

Certainty that “we” are worse than other countries

Certainty that “our” traditions are the basis of our success

Conviction that the nation is on the wrong track

Certainty that our system of governance is better than others

Excessive Debt

Wealthy interest groups control politicians


Language disguises true realities

Public distracted by fear mongering

Public distracted by sports and media intensity

Promotion of values-based, inflammatory issues

Systems designed to keep the people in power in power

Absence of free speech in practice

The symptoms and the causes of PDD and Innovation Paradigm Paralysis are often the same:

  • People feeling like they have no power to act
  • Personal, professional and organizational identities that stop change
  • Ignorance of what works
  • Resignation, and compliance
  • Absence of dialogue
  • Bureaucracy stopping progress
  • Having to be right
  • People behaving like victims
  • Moving to solutions before agreeing on problems
  • Losing commitment to goals in the face of events
  • Control more important than winning
  • Unwillingness to commit to performance aspirations beyond normal
  • Avoiding each other’s domination

Alone or in concert, these characteristics can derail any chance of success. In some cases, participants may wish they had never opened the project or participated in its processes.

The Alternatives

Typically, the symptoms and causes of Innovation paradigm paralysis are easily identifiable in hindsight. Is it possible recognize them in advance? As a project begins, organizations have employed several alternative approaches to this challenge.

Some will choose to simply “wing it” and gamble that things will turn out okay.  Others choose a more proactive approach. Over the past fifty years, business leaders and social scientists have developed many methods, processes and systems that usually are effective when sponsored by enthusiastic leaders. Sadly, almost all fall out of use when the original problem goes away, or the leader leaves, or when some people resist and the rest give in to the resistance.

Well-known methods include:

– Organizational Development

– Team Building

– The Blake Grid

– Personal Power and Influence

– Process Reengineering

– Operations Analysis

– Total Quality

– Commitment based Management

– Strategic Management

– Socio-Technical Systems

– Simple Command and control

…..and dozens of others designed for special situations.

While each approach has merits, the persistent problem has been that people continue to see the world the way they did in the first place.  As a result, the new innovation development method is like a car wash — while it cleans the car in the moment, it quickly gets dirty again. In some cases, these approaches have yielded insights with no associated agenda — differences and difficulties are identified, but there is no prescription to address them. As participants from different disciplines review the results, they can reach radically different conclusions on how to solve the problem. This creates a renewed opportunity for conflict and innovation paradigm paralysis. Despite good intentions and substantial investment, organizations often struggle to accurately identify root issues, anticipate challenges and achieve lasting change.

Why Things Work — and Why They Don’t

In our years of change management consulting and management education, it appeared to us that the vast majority of the obstacles are not technical or financial. Rather they are behavioral and organizational. This is a truth that is too often avoided.

After working with engineers, scientists, performance consultants, financial experts, and others whose livelihood comes from manipulating physical realities, we found that most are addicted to technical solutions and don’t pay enough attention to relationship and alignment based solutions. These are some of the brightest and best-intentioned people in the world.  Yet they are functionally blind to what is going on in these areas.  While many speak of the social reality, most refuse to consider it seriously when pursuing solutions.

These blind spots are often the source of disaster. As organizations and agendas collide, the crucial cooperation needed for success falls apart.  In the meantime, individuals attempting to resolve issues may fail to recognize and address root causes early in the process. The resulting delays create a wedge that can split the initiative apart.

Our observation is that other things being equal, Innovation success in organizations is a matter of integrity. Of course, other things are often not equal. Leaders may be inexperienced for the job or lack character. Products may be poorly conceived and deadly competition can be ignored. Skills may be inadequate or finances missing. Still, given that a base line of these hard resources is in place, some efforts succeed and some don’t.

Consider that;

  • That four distinct expressions of Integrity that determine successful innovation  in any organized effort
  • The four expressions of Integrity include:
  • Integrity in performance and measurement
  • Integrity in relationship
  • Integrity in invention and creative thinking
  • Integrity in honoring principles and values.
  • That the combination of these four elements creates a whole that can be aesthetically and functionally ‘right’ for its intended purpose.
  • That when this combination is “fit for purpose”, energy in focus is high.
  • When energy in focus in high, Innovation goals are far more likely to be achieved.
  • Innovation Projects with the most energy in focus will prevail.


When integrity in performance and measurement exists, people Innovation Projects are rooted in enduring commitments  and people honor their word. They have a craft attitude and care about the quality of what they do. They are genuine in their purpose and care about results, not only about the process they are involved with. Every physical detail matters. Time commitments are kept. Problems in performance are acknowledged and personal responsibility is taken in service of constructive next steps. When they do not keep their word, they admit what happened and make a new commitment.


When integrity in relationship exists, people take responsibility for the quality of their relationships and for repairing them when there are problems. Their communication is usually direct and straightforward. They often appreciate the feelings and experience of people around them. They find creative outlets within their relationships and do not simply use them as instruments for their own ends. They are willing to be uncomfortable and allow discomfort in themselves or in others if it seems necessary to solve a problem or improve a relationship.


When integrity in invention and creative thinking prevails, people respect questions and inquiries as much as answers and certainties. They pay attention to what they don’t know before attending to that of which they are certain. They are especially interested in learning more about their blind spots. They seek out unfamiliar systems of thought and study them with an open mind. They engage in inquiries into topics and work towards getting beyond their existing assumptions and point of view. They are especially interested in contradictions and paradox as avenues to new ideas and discoveries.


When integrity in honoring principles and values is dominant, people are outspoken about their most important principles. They consider that higher meaning and higher purpose are the proper focus for group and individual activity. They are clear about what they value most and work to organize their time and commitments consistently. Principles are an important part of their public conversations and activities are discussed in terms of the preservation of transcendent values. Principles may be ethical or financial, personal or social, service based or technical. Principles are a genuine statement of someone’s higher purposes.
Integrity and energy, the power to act, go hand in hand. It may be high in one of the four areas and low in others. Each has its own character and way of being expressed. If Innovation effectiveness were seen as a wheel, each aspect of integrity would be a spoke. When all of the spokes are in appropriate balance the wheel can roll. When one or more is weak, the wheel will wobble or not roll at all.

Each form of integrity and energy is always being demonstrated in some fashion – even though its presence may be very weak. Relationships are always there. Neither can one eliminate the physical universe and the measurability of results. The question is, however, whether people are dealing with each other in a committed way, or whether they simply mean well.

Creative thinking and innovating occurs all the time at some level to the degree that people engage issues in an open and inquisitive way or think they already know the answers. Finally, with amoral exceptions, people have values and in every situation, they either choose to honor them or they don’t.

Which kind of integrity dominates?  The strength of any of these forms of integrity is determined by what people pay attention to. Energy flows where attention goes. Energy can be shifted to strengthen any form of integrity simply by altering the direction of one’s attention.

The problem is that each company or agency has their own entrenched way of measuring success, with an accompanying language and logic that support it. Each viewpoint carries its own set of realities, conversations and rules. Each provides a decisive context, a set of fundamental commitments and basic meanings held in the background which brings certain coherence.  And in normal affairs, a pure case of any one kind of integrity suppresses the others.


A radical shift in perspective accompanies this discussion. It is a shift to the view that successful innovation consists completely of interacting energy flows, represented in people’s power to act, individually and collectively.

Through this insight, we have now developed “The Merlin Navigator,” an energy based measurement process that puts your hands on the steering wheel of innovation as never before. The Merlin Navigator measures the impact or eight critical cultural and leadership factors on an Innovation Project’s current chances of success. With this approach, you can assess and plan actions based on increasing the amount of available energy in the system…not simply what people think.

Each year, corporations and governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars on Innovation initiatives regarding product development, growth, post-merger integration, and culture change that are destined to fail because the people involved don’t change the fundamental way they actually see and measure their effectiveness.

As we have worked with hundreds of organizations over the years, we came to see that what’s needed for successful innovation is a way of thinking and measuring that is based on an energetic and not object based view of organizations and people.

Such a point of view asserts that;

– that an organization at its core, beneath physical forms, consists of connected, interacting, organic energy flows;

– that while good ideas, good products, and strong intentions are important, they are not enough for organizational success;

– that organizations and projects with the most available energy in focus will prevail;

– that power comes from the quality and closeness of “connection;”

– that Relationship is an Energetic Connection.





-that human beings are their relationships. Integrity, therefore, is to honor one’s relationships as oneself, with respect to performance, people, imagination, and noble purpose;

Physical:  Relationship to Measurement

and Performance. “I am my word”

Emotional: Relationships with People

“I am my authenticity”

Intellectual: Relationship to Innovation

and Creativity     “I am my imagination”

Spiritual: Relationship to Principles,

Values, and the Natural World   “ I am What I honor”

– that chances of innovation success increase when leaders see their job as stewarding people’s energy and power to act;

– that available energy and power to act is predictive of innovation and project success;

This point of view allows for measures and processes that let people get their hands on the social as well as the technical barriers and opportunities for successful innovation. We simply created a language that gets closer to the energetic nature of reality.

Further, organizations need a process that helps them quickly and collectively assess cultural barriers to innovation and develop cohesive solutions. Too often, this is a missing piece that compounds the problem. Companies attempt to identify and address obstructions to successful innovation, but they quickly get sidetracked into arguments about what the obstructions are and how they should be addressed. Shifting the paradigm of Innovation from object based and linear to energetic permits a degree of quantitative and qualitative measurement, and intervention, not previously possible. This type of measurement can be done over the internet as well as face to face, and predict current chances of success based on a group’s collective power to act on an important goal.

Jonathan Smith, an American writer, states in a personal communication, “If underneath, it is all energy, and mind triumphs over matter, it can be assumed that an essential driving force in life is the simple connection when people are faced with common purpose. Such destiny is an energetic elevation because of the power of shared meaning. Wherever and whenever a person experiences a sense of destiny, it always seems accompanied by a purpose shared by others. Because of the connected nature of an energetic universe, the energy of a single person’s thought is capable of shifting a system.

If we consider the energetic interactions between people as waves and movements, like particle physics, then we can see that when two people share their energetic resources, their two perspectives combine. While each individual still maintains their own destiny, for two destinies to be aligned, a new, overarching destiny can be created. As energetic flows merge, the different energies bounce off of each other, creating ripples and changes in the energetic makeup of the situation. The new, shared destiny has the power of both the energy of the two people but also the power of the new idea.

By observing and respecting the good in other’s destinies, the energetic consequences of your actions can change a universe of possibilities. The science of picking how to energetically interpret and respond to a situation enables a life of excitement and freedom, a mind capable of developed thought, and stunning perception. As energy can manifest in any form, a person is capable, using mind over matter, to allow themselves to see such a universe: to be who they truly want to be. The relationship to destiny is the key.”

Supporting Smith’s view, in 2005, Dr. Dan Chen, Professor of Business Administration at Shandong University in Jinan, conducted a study of successful innovation and collaboration within 133 small and medium size technology firms in China. Her study supports the view that energy in focus is what matters to enable successful innovation,

She found that there is a direct relationship between substantive and procedural factors that enhance leader and employee energy (experienced power to act) and successful cooperative innovation. Each of the successful substantive and procedural arrangements enabled an increase in energy enhancing future focus, commitment to action, group alignment, strong relationships, personal responsibility for breakthrough results, respect, ability to resolve conflict and inspired leadership.

Energy Enhancing Factors

Dr. Chen’s study found these energy enhancing factors in three areas.

I.  Primary Motivation for Cooperative Innovation

Opportunity for new markets

Potential learning from partners

Technology transfer

Economies of scale or scope

Financial support

Specific expertise available

Focused manufacturing or marketing support

Shared risk and cost

II. Procedural Approaches to Cooperative Innovation

Joint development agreements

Joint research agreements Joint ventures

Customer – supplier R&D contracts

Formulate joint research organization

Licensing arrangements

Minority holdings

III. Critical Success Factors

Trust, communication and reciprocity

Resource complementarity

Safeguards in place for protecting core technology

Top leader’s commitment

Sufficient cooperative resources

Well-documented agreements

Compatible technology and business strategy with partners

Adjusting to external change

Ongoing monitoring and coordinating

Milestone appraisal

Flexible organizational and managerial style

Geographical proximity

Summary: 14 Steps to Enable Energy Based Innovation

Step One” Adopt and institute leadership to help people protect, respect, and increase energy in focus for performance, results, imagination, relationships and what they personally hold most dear.

Step Two: Encourage connection between individuals, groups, allies and customers throughout the organization with the aim to motivate, inspire mutual loyalty and willingness to set performance aspirations beyond normal.

Step Three: Create measures for the critical factors that increase or decrease energy in a given group with a defined goal. Use these measures to shape interventions that increase current chances of success by increasing energy in focus.

Step Four: Encourage and reinforce that people commit to others success as a design principle of the enterprise.

Step Five: Adopt a new philosophy of “Recovery” from lack of communication, conflicts, misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Put this into practice by teaching it to colleagues, employees, customers, allies, and adversaries.

Step Six: Make it safe for people to speak their mind, object in public, and not defer to authority when it comes to improving technology, business process, culture, communication and quality business practices.

Step Seven: Assure conversations in which leaders, managers, employees and others listen to what others deeply care about.

Step Eight: Train people how to think for themselves. This means addressing self limiting personal and cultural beliefs.

Step Nine: Break down assumptions about relationships and people that keep departments, employees, allies, adversaries and leaders from taking bold and effective action.

Step Ten: Constantly and forever improve systems and practices of communication so they reflect the way people really are as human beings, the way they listen, and the way they enroll based on their own commitments and desires.

Step Eleven: Institute relatively neutral collaborative meeting structures to assure search for common ground, and encourage win-win mentality. Use competent mediators, facilitators and counselors.

Step Twelve: Adopt and Institute the practice of meditation and honest brokers without prescribing a particular method.

Step Thirteen: Cease dependence on procedural solutions to relational problems. Recognize that procedure suppresses relationship and educate and train people in relationship skills.

Step Fourteen: Eliminate unnecessary and self serving explanation that prevents attention to quality of work, relationships and leadership.

Organizations face significant obstacles to the success of Innovation in technical projects, partnerships, mergers, technology implementations and other programs. In many cases, these challenges stem from suppressive aspects of culture expressed in discord in the perspectives and interrelationships of key participants.  While most organizations have the will and ability to address these challenges, they often fail to identify them before damage occurs.

Tools and processes based on the notion that Innovation activities with the most available “energy in focus” offer a unique Innovation Management technology that helps organizations and projects predict the current likelihood of Innovation success. It also offers solutions and tools to help Innovation projects potential and profile the predictive power to act among key participants.


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This is a “must read” for leaders managing complex change and the challenges of innovation, performance, sustainability, and morale.

What’s unique is that this book shifts the orientation of management itself — from our typical object-based approach to a consciousness & energy-based paradigm.   This novel viewpoint gives powerful new distinctions that actually challenge what organization is and could be.

Smith identifies actions that really make a difference to the quality of present consciousness and shows us how to bring energy into focus

and prevail over adversity, competition, loss of momentum, etc.

These are the tools and approaches necessary for producing sustainable transformation and ongoing success.

Leaders hungry for this success can now see the path to becoming Navigators.

Purchase Navigating From the Future at: or

“This is an important book, written in stunning clarity in areas of human endeavor and frontier thinking.  His inner and outer personal learnings are a beacon for the future of humanity.    If you read only one book on addressing the future of humans in Earth and outer space, I recommend this one.” Ken Cox,
Executive Director, Aerospace Technology Working Group & former Sr. Engineer,
NASA Apollo Program

“I know from personal experience of working with Charlie and my team that the Navigator principles work with powerful effect in business and personal relationships. There is nothing like being part of a talented group that delivers both business success and value to society at large.”
Craig Baker, Partner
Global Government
Ernst and Young London

In this remarkable book, Charlie Smith offers  the bridge between the ignorance of isolation and a grand future for humanity. He gives us the opportunity to see a world in which personal responsibility triumphs. Throughout time, Navigators have led the way and embraced the frontier.”
Frank Hennessey,  Chairman
Hennessey Capital

“Charlie Smith’s ‘Navigating from the Future’ is filled with pragmatic common sense of the type that is altogether uncommon in most organizations. Whether one is a leader or a follower, there is much to be learned between the covers of this book.” Norman Augustine,  Former Chairman & CEO of Lockheed Martin and current Chair of President Obama’s 2009 Commission to  Review US Human Space Flight Plans

“It’s easy to talk about transformation, hard to create it, and even more difficult to sustain it. Charlie Smith has written a brilliant description of transformation, and discusses what it will to take for humanity to move to the next level. His book challenges us to think in new ways about ourselves and our planet”
Frank White, Author, The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution

Our E-store at this link offers international and domestic shipping, and
sells the book at the same price as Amazon:

If you have a free Amazon shipping account, use this link:

See Charlie’s video interview about the Navigator at:,PhD

This link will take you to a demo of The Merlin Navigator,
our internet-based project assessment tool:

Contact us directly at:


Charlie Smith

Charles E. Smith Ph.D., Managing Director: Navigating from the Future

Charles E. Smith, PhD has been an executive coach and organizational development consultant to senior leaders of companies, associations, and government agencies in the United States, England, Canada, and now China, since 1969.  He is also author of  The Merlin Factor:  Keys to the Corporate Kingdom & numerous magazine & blog articles.

Charlie Smith and Navigating from the Future are Leadership Consultants, CEO and Executive Coaches, Transformational Trainers, Mediators, Political and Policy Analysts, Public Speakers, Authors and Media Specialists.

We are about transforming the world toward both Noble Purpose and Business Success. This is a world that is productive, innovative, has quality of life for everyone by their own standards, and seeks peace with Justice….. in corporations, government agencies, communities, smart cities, non profit organizations and between nations.

We Operate Globally to Invent, Ignite & Implement Breakthrough Innovation and Sustainable Transformation expressed primarily through these programs:

  • CEO and Senior Executive Coaching with Fortune 500 CEO’s, Senior Military Officers and Executives from many countries in corporations, in government and in consulting companies.
  • The Overview Experience (a three-day program).  The Overview Experience is designed to produce lasting changes in your relationship to yourself, your organization, and to the planet.
  • The Breakthrough Innovation Program.  Participants learn principles and practices of Breakthrough Innovation and apply them to their Innovation Agenda, own challenges, commitments, and concerns.


DTE Energy, Ernst and Young, U.K. Ministry of Defence, AT Kearney, Land Rover Ltd, Perkins Engines Ltd, Campbell Soup of Canada, The Rouse Company, Marion Merrell Dow,Inc.,BakeMark Ltd, Damovo Ltd, Merck & Company, Derlan Industries, International Nickel Company, Steinberg, Inc., Canadian Liquid Air, The Toronto Globe and Mail, The Environmental Protection Agency, The US Air Force, UK Ministry of Defense, Michigan Consolidated Gas Company, Olin Paper, The Southwest Electricity Board, The National Wholesale Druggist Association, The Industrial Distribution Association, Procter and Gamble, Eastern Michigan University, , IBM, Cunard-Ellerman Ltd



Dr. Smith has served on Boards of Directors for the Foundation for Mid-East Communication and the National Peace Institute Foundation. He helped create the Middle Road Foundation for Native American Youth in Taos, NM and is a past President of the Harvard-Racliffe Club of New Mexico. He is currently on the Board of Directors of ATWG (the Aerospace Technology Working Group).


Associate Prof. of Organizational Behavior Sir George Williams University

The McGill Centre for Management Education



Smith, Charles E. Navigating from the Future; a Primer for Sustainable Transformation; Create Space Publishing 2009

Smith, Charles E. The Merlin Factor: Keys to the Corporate Kingdom. Kairos Productions, (U.S.) Gower Publishing (England): 1995.

Book Chapters

Smith, Charles E., “Stage Three Leadership: From Good Ideas to Unified Action.”  Beyond Earth: The Future of Humans in Space Apogee Books Space Series ed. Bob Krone, 2006.

Journal Articles

Smith, Charles E, “The Merlin Factor: Leadership and Strategic Intent.” London Business School Strategy Review, Vol 5 (1), pp. 67-84. 1994.

Smith, Charles E.,“King’s Counsel”. London Business School Strategy Review, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 78-80, Autumn 2007.

Privately-Published Articles

Smith, Charles E., Duprey, Donald. “Possibility Deficit Disorder.” October 2009.

Smith, Charles E., Griffiths, Mike. “Board Dialogue as a Source of Competitive Advantage”. 2004.
Smith, Charles E., “Who Stole My Synergy? Synergy Management for Mergers that Work”. 2000.

Smith, Charles, E., “Why Things Work – The Merlin Navigator”. XONITEK Corporation Operational Excellence By Design (online) September 2009


Ph.D., Organizational Behavior, Case Western Reserve University

M.B.A., Harvard Business School

A.B., Harvard College

Certificate in Gestalt Methods, The Gestalt Institute of Cleveland

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