Online Course: Growing the “YOU” of Innovation Power 

 Tap into Russ Strong’s experience and increase your probabilities for Innovation.

– Learn from Russ Strong’s stories and discussion – with linked references and further reading – and expand your awareness and creativity as a Cross-Discipline Creative. Gain a competitive edge by your effort to incorporate insights beyond those of standard innovation and entrepreneur programs

– Take advantage of unique course sections and discussion of content. For even greater growth, take a look at how you can form a group and use this material and format to tap into local mentors.

– Take advantage of course support

Note: This course is hosted on a platform on which you can post your profile, join a discussion board and connect with others taking this course. A “Resources” feature enables compiling your notes and references, and you can link back to these sections anytime.


Hi, I am Russ Strong.

Growing up working along side my father and coming across a new situation, he’d often say “You learn something new everyday”— following this with “if you are dumb enough to start with”. A little humor, a little humility, reinforcing the value of always being open to learning.

And, yes, I learned “something new everyday”. More than that, I soon realized I was also increasing my knowledge of how much I didn’t know, This furthered my curiosity and charted my early “trajectory” of exploration. I continually sought opportunities to add experience and insights to my “data bank” and “tools in my toolbox” for later innovation.

Along this path is my engineering, design and management involvement within over 60 major programs in the product development industry — from grain harvesting to tractors, to industrial equipment, to automotive, lawn and turf, ergonomics, seating and interiors, to vehicles, consumer and fitness products, architectural concepts and interior design, furniture and apps — and programs expanding into innovation in interface with national security and defense, and cities and academia.

Working across disciplines, I get to draw on the full spectrum of my knowledge base. By full, I mean from my time growing up, my continued studies, my art studies, friends and travel and wide-ranging career projects. And, I get to continually expand my knowledge base in work with emerging technologies, diverse talent in the trades, engineering and tech integration leaders, artists and designers, and community and management executives. I get to be hands-on, while linked to management. And, I love working with others of great talent and I love “making”.

BUT, there is a crazy part that comes up in this work; a crazy part that everyone working on creative and innovation programs will bump into. Tossed onto project challenges, are “people dynamics” demanding extra awareness and skills to get to desired outcomes — often requiring creativity beyond the demands of the technical and design solutions.

PEOPLE!  (…and dang if we ourselves don’t act like people also!)

Innovation and innovation outcomes ultimately involve people — both for good and the detriment.

There’s the power of teams and the healthy “people challenges” that cause you to “up your game”. This leads to better design and more refined outcomes. Great people, great people dynamics and great chemistry also leads to more fun. And, more fun leads to more innovation.

There are also people with personalities and attitudes that fight change, placing stubborn obstacles between you and higher objectives (some may come from within ourselves as well as via others, or combinations thereof). Working within this “people” dimension, I’ve enjoyed optimizing the dynamics for amazing and rapid programs, and I’ve learned from programs that unduly struggled or require tireless tenacity and patience to drive them forward.

REALITY:  amidst the talents and power for “doing”, are the times we are left to reflect on “what could’ve been if actions could be taken” — actions stalled by barriers of conflicting interests, constraints and personalities — amidst egos, turf, timelines, undue process, budget stress and others that you would never imagine.


This leads me to writing this book/course to help Creatives think cross-discipline, increase innovation opportunities, avoid pitfalls coming your way — and thus advance their career, business & community outcomes.

I want you advancing faster within your careers by way of insights from my experiences — having the course I wish I had in college.

Note:  This course is formatted for ready use as a catalyst for schools and groups to bring students and mentors together in review sessions to both deepen learning and link a community’s students and mentors.


COURSE CONTENT (in the 8-Week Format)

(also available in 16-Week Format to fit with semester timelines – providing reviews every two weeks to fit with leader discussion hosting and meeting with mentors)



Week 1.1: Intro and Opportunity Visualization an Overview

Week 1.2: Learning Your Talents – Epiphany at Tau Beta Pi

Week 1.3: REVIEW – Intro to Opportunities & Assessing Talents

                     – Further Discussion and Recommended Reading

Week 2.1: Your Place Amidst Creatives                                                                 

Week 2.2: Experience Base of Reference & Customer Empathy                         

Week 2.3: REVIEW – Place Amidst Creatives and Experience

                     – Further Discussion and Recommended Reading

Week 3.1: Direct Knowledge -Knowing What You Don’t Know – Mentors

Week 3.2: Turning Procrastination into a Professional Tool

Week 3.3: REVIEW – Knowledge Base – Pulling It Together – Mentors

                   – Further Discussion and Recommended Reading

Week 4.1: Making and Tools of Making, Each a Tool

Week 4.2: Materials and Processes in Making – CAD & Simulation

Week 4.3: REVIEW – Making & Ultimate Making

                     – Further Discussion and Recommended Reading

Week 5.1: Perception is Reality (a Russ Strong Mantra)           

Week 5.2: Customer Focus & Out Beyond Listening to Customer

Week 5.3: REVIEW – Perceptions and Customer Focus

                     – Further Discussion and Recommended Reading

Week 6.1: Writing – Illustrations – Communication as Innovation Tools

Week 6.2: Styling and Design – R&D Styling and Production Styling

Week 6.3: REVIEW – Writing – Illustration – Styling in Design

                     – Further Discussion and Recommended Reading

Week 7.1: Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Week 7.2: Constructive Griping – Speaking Honestly

Week 7.3: REVIEW – Comfort with Discomfort – Constructive & Honest Critique

                     – Further Discussion and Recommended Reading

Week 8.1: Checking Reactions at the Door – Welcoming New Ideas                   

Week 8.2: Barriers to Action – Removing Barriers – Taking Actions

Week 8.3: REVIEW – Changing Reactions – Barriers and Removing Barriers

                     – Further Discussion and Recommended Reading


In this course I go into the ways Creatives expand their awareness and abilities :

–  I bring you a unique “in the trenches” perspective — from a career spanning engineering, art and design, generating over 60 patents — that also connects to executive level decision making, global marketing and branding, to tech integration within national defense and interface with today’s academia.

–  I share how I gained the insights and skills I would later use and expand on. These are personal skills and growth actions enabling unique and influencing outcomes, and these then leading me into even cooler and higher impact programs.

–  I include stories and references on varied ways and techniques of “making” and design evolution. I provide review of actions to increase innovation — and how to draw in the contributions of others.

– I take you into industrial design and styling – applicable to, and aiding innovation of, just about any program. I also highlight common pitfalls (seldom spoken about).

–  I lead you on growth in skills and attributes for higher success within top processes of today:  “design thinking”,” integrative design”, “interaction design”, and courses such as MTM (masters in technology management) and IDT (integrated design & management). I’ve used these in my work over the past 35 years — before they were officially named — so, let’s build a “power base” to take you further with these.

–  I take you through the people, politics and bureaucracy challenges that will hit you, before they do hit you — with valuable insights into impact of personalities on the dynamics within teams and organizations — and how to recognize and bypass road blocks to your objectives.

–  I bring you insights on how other creative leaders and I look holistically across society and tech — across engineering and business, styling, art, tech integration, manufacturing, marketing and customer experience, education, sociology, health, architecture, politics and more — to track, engage, and lead creation of trends.

–  I introduce aspects of importance to you relative to networking and thoughts on both “intrapreneurialism” (inventing and creating products and businesses within corporations) and entrepreneurialism. This includes insights few others provide — things to consider as you look to the strengths, benefits and opportunities of each (and a base from which to look at hybrid opportunities, as I will cover further in Course II that is coming).


In sum, I want to advance the “You” as a Cross-Discipline Creative — and by this, radically increase your probabilities for innovation, and speed of innovation — so your programs, your companies and corporations will seize more and greater opportunities, and win bigger!!


The format of this online course allows you to highlight key points that resonate with you, make notes and discuss with others so you can best grasp and incorporate these into your life. I want you truly advancing.

At the end of each section, I provide “thoughts for reflection and consideration”. I also provide references to other books and articles, with my notes on how these fit with your studies.

Each unit is basically the price of a Big Mac meal at McDonalds. In contrast however, each is packed with “nutritional value” for advancing the power and healthy life of a Creative.


Thank you for your interest. Join us. I look forward to hearing of your growth and success.

Russ Strong


Supporting You in the Course “Growing the “YOU” of Innovation Power


Claire — Team Editor and Assistant Course Instructor of “Growing the ‘YOU’ of Innovation Power”

The courses within The Russ Initiative wouldn’t be anywhere if it wasn’t for our highly-skilled editor and course assistant assuring the ease of students’ learning. 

What is Claire Wilson’s power? She exemplifies the Cross-Discipline Creative, with wide-spanning interests and talents. Her degree is in Oceanography with a Minor in Systems Engineering. She works in oceanography and studies Mandarin Chinese. Claire enjoys reading in the tech field, writing, drawing, exploring new concepts, sports, working out, nature and traveling. Having just completed her MBA, she shares a curiosity and the creativity for continued professional growth. This drives her to help other people learn and grow also. She excels at complex and diverse projects, including editing within this course and assuring you get the most from Russ’s insights and experiences.


Russ  —  Author of “Growing the ‘YOU’ of Innovation Power”, Leader of “The Russ Initiative” and Owner of Integrated Vision Inc, Design & Innovation Consultant

The course within The Russ Initiative comes from a year’s effort in Russ Strong’s getting his wide array of insights and depth of experience into the discussions, stories and written illustrations drawn together for you. He has focused on creating the best format for ease of learning and application in your life and organizations, and Russ includes references at the end of each chapter to further reading. The cumulative is what he sees as high-yielding opportunities to advance in cross-discipline innovation. You can read his expanded bio on the page linked with the button below. When not working on design programs or writing, Russ enjoys art, the outdoors, forest, field and garden landscaping, photography, building and architecture, hiking, fun people, conversation and local eats, reading and travel.

More on Russ Strong



Course II that is coming:



“Let’s take creativity and innovation to new levels”


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