We want our clients to master the territory between thought and action, enabling them and the people they work with to:

  • achieve unprecedented results
  • act quickly, decisively and creatively on opportunities and problems
  • work together with grace and ease

Innovation Associates was founded in 1976 by Charles Kiefer to help large, technology-based companies improve their innovation capabilities. Joel Yanowitz joined in 1978. Together with the rest of the IA staff, they pioneered the body of concepts and methods of Learning Organizations on which IA co-founder Peter Senge published his landmark management best seller The Fifth Discipline. More recently, our work has focused on helping large enterprises get greater results from their innovation efforts through applying the logic and methods employed by serial entrepreneurs to create the future in the face of extreme uncertainty. To learn more about IA’s history, click here.

Charles Kiefer


Charles Kiefer is President and Founder of Innovation Associates, Inc., a pioneer among consultancies in bringing demonstrated innovation performance results, initially to technology-based companies and now serving multinationals across industries.

Along with Peter Senge of the landmark management best seller The Fifth Discipline, Innovation Associates helped establish the concepts and methods that would become known as “organizational learning”, enabling large organizations to evolve from being driven by circumstance and managed through compliance, to revitalization through aspiration and deep commitment. Most recently, Mr. Kiefer and Len Schlesinger (President Emeritus of Babson College) developed concepts based on the logic and methods of serial entrepreneurs to create the future in the face of extreme uncertainty.

Currently, Mr. Kiefer supports global companies’ executives and their teams in leveraging the human side of their enterprise, to improve the quality of their thought. His extensive experience with major multinational corporations and success in his own ventures confers him an uncommon business-oriented perspective to human-resource issues. In his consulting engagements, Mr. Kiefer steers clients to most effectively manage both the technical (“hard”) and human (“soft”) aspects of change, creating more-flexible operations and collaboration across traditional hierarchies, towards discovery and successful execution of new business opportunities. He has lectured on corporate entrepreneurship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) Sloan School of Management.

Mr. Kiefer grew up in Arlington, Virginia, holds degrees in Physics and in Management from MIT, and has served on the staff of the United States Senate, in the MIT Administration, and as an officer of the management consultancy Arthur D Little. He has authored four books and numerous articles on entrepreneurship and insight. He lives with his wife near Boston. His three children are all entrepreneurs (and, most days, love it).

Joel Yanowitz

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

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

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