Robert Rosenfeld | Founder & CEO
A World Leader in InnovationRobert Rosenfeld’s passion is innovation, which he believes is the lifeblood of every organization, and he founded Idea Connection Systems Inc to achieve that purpose. He knows that the most critical success factor to nurture and sustain innovation is an organization’s ability to release the potential of its people, and he has devoted 40 years fostering innovation-fostering through developing tools and approaches that unleash an organization’s potential to innovate. Twenty-two years ago he founded Idea Connection Systems Inc., a consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations make innovation happen through people. He has worked with numerous organizations and at conferences all over the world including Europe, South America, India, APAC and the United States.
Founded the First Office of Innovation™Early in his career as a photographic scientist at the Eastman Kodak Company, Bob recognized that innovation begins with an idea, and ideas are originated and developed by people. A new idea becomes an innovation only by realizing a quantifiable gain. In order to accomplish this, the idea must move through a process, which may be visible or invisible. While business and technology play a critical role throughout the process, the human element is its animating force. Many organizations understand this concept, but have difficulty putting it into practice.
Bob’s ability to identify and understand the human and organizational dynamics behind innovation led to the creation of the Eastman Kodak Company’s Office of Innovation™ in 1978. This was the first infrastructure of its kind to ever be successfully implemented inside an organization. It provided Kodak employees with a systematic way to develop their ideas and obtain funding to convert them into business opportunities.
He expanded the initial Office of Innovation™ into a worldwide corporate network—a network that helped to transform ideas into over two billion dollars in revenue and cost savings (measured in current dollars) for Kodak.
Idea Connection Systems, Inc. FormedIn 1988, Bob founded Idea Connection Systems, a company dedicated to releasing an organization’s innovative potential. While this applies to products and services, it also affects an organization’s people and culture. He noted that while innovation is a critical component to a company’s vitality, sustaining innovation was more important. Idea Connection Systems, therefore, focuses on three areas: innovation leadership and creating culture; innovation inclusion and leveraging differences; and innovation systems. Today, his company serves public, private and international clients, including many Fortune 200 companies, such as: Aventis, Bausch & Lomb, the Eastman Kodak Company, ExxonMobil, Frito-Lay, General Mills, the General Motors Corporation, Hallmark Cards, Kimberly Clark, Praxair Technology, BP Amoco, the Quaker Oats Company, Raytheon, and the Xerox Corporation. Idea Connection Systems has also worked extensively with regional and national governmental agencies.
Appointed As International Ambassador of the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award for Creative Leadership (SEA)August 2013, during the European Forum Alpbach 2013 Bob Rosenfeld, (along with U.S. Senator Marc R. Pacheco) was appointed as the first International Ambassadors of the world renowned Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award. The Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award (SEA) is an international award honoring companies for their leading role in innovative projects featuring sustainable entrepreneurship. In addition to receiving his ambassadorship and the award, Bob provided a keynote address for the European Forum Alpbach, which is one of the most prominent gatherings of international thought leaders for the European Union and is annually attended by heads of state and diplomats, business and academic leaders, and students of leading world universities. Bob continues to help bridge leading innovators in the US with those found in the EU.
Recipient of the Excellence In Innovation Award (EIA)January, 2011 – Mumbia India- Bob received the Excellence in Innovation Award during the 4th Indira India Innovation Summit, sponsored by the Indira College of Engineering and Management (ICEM). ICEM is the latest addition to the Indira Group of Institutes, India’s premier and fastest-growing education Group approved by the All India Council for Technical Education, New Delhi, the Directorate of Technical Education, Maharashtra State and affiliated to the University of Pune. Brazil
February, 2008 – Mumbia India- Bob received the Excellence in Innovation Award during the 1st Indira India Innovation Summit, sponsored by the Indira College of Engineering and Management (ICEM).
U.S. Community Peace Award RecipientApril, 2004 – Rochester, NY – Bob was awarded the Community Peace Award by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Greater Rochester Commission for recognition of outstanding service to the citizens of Rochester and Monroe County for his work on the Bi-Racial Partnership for Community Progress.
Named Innovator in Residence at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)Since 1980, Bob has had a long and productive association with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) in Greensboro, North Carolina. Over 25 years ago, he co-founded the Association for Managers of Innovation (AMI), which was begun under the auspices of CCL and continues to exist to this day. He designed and taught two courses at CCL dealing with innovation and effecting change. In May 2006, Bob was named CCL’s first “Innovator in Residence” because of his innovation experience that spans working with large and small entrepreneurial companies, government agencies, and not-for-profit companies.
In 2008, Bob was awarded Innovator in Residence Emeritus status at CCL.
Innovation Industry PioneerFounding Fellow- 1981-Association for Managers of Innovation (AMI™) is a pioneering organization comprised of committed individuals who foster and leverage creativity and innovation in organizations and society. AMI™ identifies leading edge innovation, shares experiences, sponsors research, and recognizes innovation and creative processes.
“The Invisible Element: A Practical Guide for the Human Dynamics of Innovation” (2011)In 2008, Rosenfeld teamed up with Gary Wilhelmi as co-author and Andrew Harrison as writer to build upon the foundation of Making the Invisible Visible. What followed is a new book that sets the principles into applicable motion. The Invisible Element explains the principles behind creating a sustainable culture of innovation and provides a practical guide of their implementation.
“Making the Invisible Visible: The Human Principles for Sustaining Innovation” (2006)Bob’s first book makes visible the human principles for sustaining Innovation. It integrates his years of experience and learning about the importance of the human element in sustaining innovation. He has presented these concepts from his book in a course at CCL titled “Workshop on Innovation.” Bob has also presented his concepts to numerous organizations and, with his company, is actively involved in applied research.
His contributions have been documented in many other books, including Managing Innovation in The New Millennium, edited by S. S. George (2002); Positive Turbulence, by Dr. Stanley S. Gryskiewicz (1999), Managing with the Wisdom of Love, by Dorothy Marcic (1997), Corporate Creativity, by Alan G. Robinson and Sam Stern (1997), When Giants Learn to Dance, by Rosabeth Moss Kanter (1989), The Pursuit of Innovation, by George Freedman (1988) and The Creative Edge, by William C. Miller (1987). Bob has had many articles published and has also been granted numerous patents and research disclosures.
Innovation Strengths Preference Indicator® (ISPI®)In 2008, Bob spearheaded an Idea Connection Systems team in the creation of the ISPI®, an innovation tool used to highlight peoples’ orientations for innovating, as well as how they prefer to innovate with others. The ISPI® is used for individual growth, team formation and analysis, as well as organizational cultural assessment. The ISPI® has been used in various organizations in the military and government, in addition to private sectors that include research and development, technology, banking, marketing, education and non-profit, and finally with families.
In 2010, CCL began using the ISPI® in their innovation programs. Exploratory research is being done at companies and educational institutions including Raytheon and Harvard.
Social EntrepreneurIn 2001, Bob served on Rochester, NY Mayor William A. Johnson’s Commission on Race and Ethnicity. The Commission was charged to reduce the racial polarization in the City of Rochester. Teamed with a diverse group of business and community leaders, Bob and his Idea Connection Systems team created and developed the “Biracial Partnerships for Community Progress” program, an innovative process for breaking down barriers between races. This later became known as Mosaic Partnerships™.
This program has also been implemented in Greensboro, NC in 2004–2005, and in Milwaukee, WI in 2006 to present. The Mosaic Partnerships™ program enjoys an overwhelmingly positive response from these communities as it continues to work toward bringing about the genesis of a prejudice-free society. It has received wide attention attracting the interest of other municipalities and several colleges and universities. Mosaic Partnerships™ has also attracted interest in Chile, South Africa and India to help resolve long-standing conflicts between groups of people.
Keynote Addresses include:India – Forum for Emotional Intelligence Learning and Leadership Seminar on Innovation and Emotional Intelligence -2012 – “Companies don’t innovate, people do”. Forum for Emotional Intelligence Learning world class association of dedicated practitioners and academicians committed to sustainable development for a peaceful and fulfilling society-Based in Mumbia, India
Brazil – 34th National Conference On Management Full Of People – 2008 – “Innovation for the future of the world, near future”. CONARH ABRH-Brazilian National Association of Personnel Management is the biggest event of personnel management in Latin America and second in the world.
India – 4th Indira India Innovation Summit 2011 – “Fostering and Promoting a Culture of Innovation throughout your Business to Drive Revenue and Growth”. Indira College of Engineering and Management (ICEM) India’s premier and fastest-growing education Group and nationally recognized as the epicenter of innovation for the Indian continent.
- Forum for Emotional Intelligence Learning -2012 –awarded for his contributions and participation with the Leadership Seminar on innovation and emotional intelligence –held at the Rotary Club of Bombay Powai
- Brazilian National Congress for the Management of People -2008 – awarded for his leadership and vision of Innovation in Human Resources –held in Sao Paulo, Brazil
- National Defense University Industrial College of the Armed Forces – awarded for his contribution to stimulating Innovation in the Armed Forces.
- Greater Metro Chamber of Commerce  – listed as one of the Top 100 Companies in Rochester, NY.
- Martin Luther King Community Peace Award  – awarded for his contribution to the eradication of prejudice in the Rochester Community.
- Community Renaissance Award  — awarded for his contributions for the improvement of race relations in the City of Rochester.
- Excellence in Innovation Award  – Innovation Summit held in Mumbai, India.
Active on Boards of DirectorsBob currently serves and has served on the boards of many local and national organizations, including the Governing Body of the Bahá’ís of Rochester, New York, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Eastman Commons (creating homes for the homeless), and is the founder of Odyssey of Humanity, a not-for-profit enterprise that promotes racial harmony and inclusion in cities or companies. He is also a founding member of Association for Managers of Innovation and has served on the Creativity International Advisory, Board and Green Acre Bahá’í School Advisory Council, and Diversified Technologies Resources, Inc.
Bob’s Personal CommitmentsBob’s personal commitment to helping society and his neighbors is another lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Bob and his family have shared their home to help individuals with their personal transformation and transitions in their lives. Over 130 people have lived with their family; some staying as part of the household for as long as five years. The blend of people Bob has sheltered includes immigrants moving to the US, struggling college students, the recently released from incarceration, and some facing short term difficulties who need a refuge. The Rosenfeld family and the business share a common mission: releasing the creative potential of people and fostering unity within the world.
Bob and his wife Debbie have been married for over 30 years. They have seven children, five of whom are adopted, and six grandchildren who live in Rochester, New York. The diversity of their family is a true reflection of the world today and inspires Bob to continue to understand humankind and find ways to cope with the struggles facing modern society.
Publications“The Invisible Element: A Practical Guide for the Human Dynamics of Innovation” by Robert Rosenfeld and Gary Wilhelmi with Andrew Harrison (Innovatus Press, 2011).
“Organizations Don’t Innovate, People Do: Trust is the Foundation.” by Robert Rosenfeld, Gary Wilhelmi, and
Andrew Harrison. The Innovation for Development Report 2010-2011: Innovation as a Driver of
Productivity and Economic Growth, edited by Augusto López-Claros.
“Broken Trust is Bad for Business”, by Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR. Society for Human Resource Management,
March 10, 2011.
“Community Healing: Tales of Troubled Cities”, by Steve Taylor. Society for Human Resource Management,
September 9, 2010.
“Cultivating an Innovative Workforce”, by Robert Rosenfeld. ExecBlueprints, Books 24X7, 2009.
“Como Correr Riscos e Inovar com Sucesso”, by Robert Rosenfeld, Conarh, Jornal Estado de S. Paulo, Brasil,
“Keep Those Ideas Flowing”, by Robert Rosenfeld. South China Morning Post, May 2008.
“All About People: Why Leaders Need to Know the Human Side of Innovation”, by Robert B. Rosenfeld.
Leadership in Action, Vol. 27, No. 6, January/February 2008.
“Building and Maintaining a Strong Company Culture”, by Robert Rosenfeld. ExecBlueprints, Books 24X7, 2006
“Creating an Innovative Workforce”, by Robert Rosenfeld. ExecBlueprints, Books 24X7, 2006.
“Making the Invisible Visible: The Human Principles for Sustaining Innovation”, by Robert Rosenfeld with John
Kolstoe (Xlibris, 2006).
“Fostering Innovation: Commitment Behavior and the New Corporate Covenant”, by Robert Rosenfeld, Managing
Innovation in the New Millennium edited by S. S. George, The ICFAI University, 2002.
“Unausgesprochene Geheimnisse der Innovation”, by R.B. Rosenfeld and Michael Seebacher. Die Kraft aus der
Basis im Unternehmen, Wirtschafts Politische Blatter 5, 1997.
“How Corporate Universities Can Spark and Sustain Innovation”, by R.B. Rosenfeld. Corporate University
Review, Vol. 5, No.5, September/October 1997.
“Building the Bedrock for Innovation”, by R.B. Rosenfeld. Innovation on My Mind, www.Innovating.com, Issue IX,
“Technology Transfer: The Integration of Technology, Business Acumen, and Human Dynamics”, by R.B.
Rosenfeld, M. Winger-Bearskin, D. DeMarco, and M. Golia. Presented at a 1993 conference
held at Carnegie-Mellon University.
“Entrepreneurs: Who Are They and How Do We Find Them? A KAI study”, by R.B. Rosenfeld, M. Winger-
Bearskin, D. DeMarco, and C.L. Braun. Discovering Creativity, edited by S.S. Gryskiewicz, 1993.
“Delineating Entrepreneur Styles: Application of Adaption-Innovation Subscales”, by R.B. Rosenfeld, M. Winger-
Bearskin, D. Marcic, and C.L. Braun. Psychological Reports, August 1992.
“Adaptors and Innovators: Partners and Opposites—a revolutionary theory with practical implications for agents
of change”, by R.B. Rosenfeld, M. Dubras, M. Winger-Bearskin, and C.L. Braun. In M. McDonald Edition of
Forging Revolutionary Partnership: Organizational Development.
* “Principles of Consultation Applied to the Process of Innovation in a Corporate Environment”, by R.B. Rosenfeld
and M. Winger-Bearskin. The Journal of Baha’i Studies, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1990.
“KAI Subscale Scores”, by R.B. Rosenfeld and M. Winger-Bearskin. Paper presented at the 1st European
Conference on Creativity and Innovation, the Netherlands, December 1989.
† “Innovation Through Investment in People: The Consideration of Creative Styles”, by R.B. Rosenfeld.
Presented at the Second Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Symposium, U.S. Small Business Administration, March 1985. Became a chapter of Key Issues in Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship by
B.G. Whiting and G. T. Solomon, 1989.
“The First Step to Implementing New and Better Ideas”, by R.B. Rosenfeld and J.C. Servo. Intrapreneurial
Excellence, November 1985.
* “Business and Creativity: Making Ideas Connect”, by R.B. Rosenfeld and J. C. Servo. The Futurist, Vol. XVIII,
No. 4, 1984. Chosen for their Special Section on Creativity.
“The Innovation Center”, by R.B. Rosenfeld. Presented at the Creativity and Innovation in Bureaucracy
Symposium, Washington, D.C., 1983.
“The Development and Philosophy of the Photographic Divisions’ Office of Innovation (PDOI) System”, by R.B.
Rosenfeld. Selected Readings in Creativity, Volume II, edited by S.S. Gryskiewicz, J.T. Shields, and W.H.
† “Idea Evaluation in a Large Industrial Organization: The Photographic Divisions” Office of Innovation,
Proceedings – Creativity Week IV, Center for Creative Leadership, 1981.
* Award-winning publication.
† Reproduced in more than one publication.
Patents and Research Disclosures“Ultrasonographic Elements Containing Multiple Layers and Processes for Their Use”, by R.B. Rosenfeld, Bacon,
Raleigh. U.S. 4,269,914, May 1981.
“Ultrasonic Imaging” Disclosed Anonymously; Research Disclosure Vol. 201, Item 201, Jan. 1981.
“Ultrasonography: Exposure Apparatus”, by R.B. Rosenfeld. U.S. 4,232,555, Nov. 1980 (European Patent 18,
269, Jap 55/142,336)
“Ultrasonography: Imaging of Internally Fogged Silver Halide Elements”, by R.B. Rosenfeld. U.S. 4,228,230, Oct.
1980. (European Patent 13,652, Jap 55/096,943)
“Ultrasonography”, by R.B. Rosenfeld. U.S. 4,223,082, Sept. 1980. (JA 54/000,618; W. Ger 2,806,517; Bel.
864,089, Ne 7,801,872; Fra. 2,381,343)
“Chemical Sensitization of Non Aqueous Poly (Vinyl Acetal) Peptized Silver Halide Emulsion”, by R. B.
Rosenfeld. Research Disclosure Vol. 148, Item 14879, Aug. 1976.
“Non-Silver Halide Photosensitive System”, by R.B. Rosenfeld, Goff, Solberg, Lincoln. Research Disclosure Vol.
141, Item 14132, Jan. 1976.
“Direct-Positive Photothermographic Materials”, by R.B. Rosenfeld, Solberg, Thatcher. Research Disclosure Vol.
139, Item 13944, Nov. 1975.
“Reversible Printout Photographic Material”, by R.B. Rosenfeld. Research Disclosure Vol. 121, Item 12144, May