Susan Linder
How To Drive Innovation & Growth In Your Consulting Business

We have so many brilliant minds working on producing great innovations, but we only hear from a few of them. Why? Because, often, these innovation experts struggle with their communication. Today’s guest, Susan Lindner, has observed this, leading her to create Innovation Storytellers—a consulting firm that helps companies to communicate more effectively with their ideas and get those ideas out there. In this episode, she joins Michael Zipursky to tell us more about the importance of storytelling, especially in driving innovation and growth to our consulting businesses. She takes us through the process of how to develop stories and effectively tell them. On other avenues of growth, Susan then talks about using speaking engagements to maximize business revenue. Tune in to hear more about growing your business as Susan dives deep into other important topics, from business models to mindset shifts and more!

How To Drive Innovation & Growth In Your Consulting Business With Susan Lindner: Podcast #289




In this episode, I’m here with Susan Lindner. Susan, welcome.

Thank you so much for having me, Michael.

I’m excited about our conversation. For those who aren’t familiar with you and your work, you are a storytelling coach, a consultant, and a keynote speaker. You are an entrepreneur because you’ve run multiple companies. We’ll get into all that. You are the Founder and CEO of Innovation Storytellers, which is a consulting firm that helps companies to communicate more effectively with their ideas and get those ideas out there. You work with organizations like WeWork, AT&T, GE, and a whole bunch of others. There’s probably a lot more that you want to add and maybe even correct something that is there about your companies. Anything that I need to adjust there or cover at a high level?

That’s great. The work that I’m doing is helping turn innovation experts into incredible storytellers so that they get the resources, runway, and recognition that they deserve because so often, they do not.

I love the clarification that you made because you said something there that is important to put a bit of a spotlight on, which is innovation experts. We’ll talk more about that because that to me makes it sound like you’re very targeted in who you want to speak to and who your ideal client is. In the work that you’re doing in terms of helping people to tell their stories or bring their ideas to life, that’s applicable to almost everybody on Earth, or at least a lot of people. You’ve been very selective. I want to get into that. Before we do, we need to start with how you got to where you are. The way that you were introduced to me and recommended to come on the show was, “You have to ask Susan about her time in Thailand because she was doing something very different from consulting.”

You were working as a field epidemiologist in Thailand, seeing people dying from AIDS. The thing that I’ve heard and maybe from our research is you didn’t know how to communicate how deadly this virus or this disease was at that time. You wanted to make sure that people who were at risk could know about the danger of this. If you could take us back to that time, what was going on, what were you thinking, and how does that connect to the business that you have now?

For me, it’s a very direct line. Other people don’t necessarily get it, but it’s inescapable. I’ll take you back to 1994 Northern Thailand in Chiang Rai Province, which is right on the border with me and Mark. At that time, 1 in 6 sexually active people were HIV positive. Where I lived, there were three AIDS funerals a day and the red-light district that I was charged with working in had already gone out of business because most of the sex workers and many of their customers had already died. Given capitalism what it is, where there is supply, there is demand.

A new red-light district opened and my job was to begin to understand. Everyone was very clear about what HIV was and how people were dying. No mistaking that. The challenge was how we get people to use condoms. There were no medicines available at that time. Clean syringes were not an option. I was in the Golden Triangle area, home to opium and heroin use, and those were not readily available. The condom was our first line of defense. I work in innovation, so we love tech, new tools, and all those cool things. If you were to guess, Michael, as a breakthrough innovation technology, how old is the condom?

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