Strengths 2.0: How to Apply Design Thinking to Individual (and Team) Strengths and Weaknesses

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Stop it: innovate instead. This two part workshop will help your team:

  1. Learn how to identify, understand, and accept unique strengths (and how they relate to weaknesses) in order to decide what to focus on, and what to delegate, team up on, or outsource
  2. Understand how to use principles from "design thinking" to deliberately design lives, careers, and teams maximizing native strengths in order to achieve breakthrough performance.  
  3. By designing around individual weaknesses, create higher engagement and greater collaboration with your teams, and colleagues by leveraging the diverse strengths of the team.

 Click here to see John’s TEDx talk on Strengths.


PART 1 (45 - 120 minutes): In this powerful keynote and optional experiential workshop, John K. Coyle integrates his experiences from the Olympics – both as a silver medalist and analyst with NBC. A compelling storyteller, John demonstrates, through the metaphor of sport, how individuals and teams can identify and leverage their specific strengths and gain the perspective required to design around their weaknesses. He explains how, in trying to “fix” his weaknesses in pursuit of the highest levels of sport, he failed miserably and nearly quit and at the same time lost touch with the people around him. He then designed a new approach, based on his strengths, which resulted in a world record-breaking performance and significant influence into how the sport itself was conducted. [Optional] During the session each participant will take a self assessment of strengths and weaknesses, identify the relationship between the two, and search for "hidden strengths." The program concludes with a compelling and heartfelt story about why pursuit of strengths matters, by showing how a small gesture changed the trajectory of a boy’s life. As a result, participants learn how to become more of who they already are, how to best work with their colleagues, and why it all matters.

[Optional] 360 Strengths Assessment: John offers a pre-program peer assessment and an in-session self-assessment of personal strengths and weaknesses. Several weeks before the event, each attendee will receive an assessment tool that allows them to seek anonymous feedback about their personal strengths and weaknesses as viewed by peers, subordinates and colleagues. An individual summary report is delivered to each attendee as part of John’s presentation, and provides a great tool for introspective analysis and planning by comparing the perceptions of others to their self assessment. ———————

OPTIONAL PART 2 *(60 minutes):* In a follow up session after the team has had a chance to individually process their assessment results, the team will regather for a facilitated session to share their results with each other and identify steps and plans to maximize individual and team performance. By airing and declaring weaknesses, and finding team members with complementary strengths, the team will build trust and learn how to bring their best selves to address the challenges facing them.

Who will benefit? This program is particularly well-suited to:

  • High achieving groups, such as sales teams and management consultants looking for an extra edge;
  • Individuals who are about to begin a new endeavor or new phase of life and are contemplating how to become their personal best;
  • Managers who are dealing with change and/or challenging groups of employees; and
  • Business units in growth mode who need to integrate different cultures and teams Business units in growth mode who need to integrate different cultures and teams

Time 2.0 Counterclockwise - How to Unwind Cognitive Time and Live Forever 

Summary: Why is time accelerating? Why did summers as children seem so much longer than a summer as an adult? Is there any way to design our lives to slow, stop and reverse the acceleration of time? John explores the cognitive biases and errors that govern "experiential time" and explores ways to slow the ticking of the clock in service of the most precious commodity we have: time.


Time is our most precious commodity. Sadly, 98% of adults surveyed agreed that "time seems to be accelerating - each year feels a little shorter than the last." In the same study 64% of adults said that compared to now, summer as a 8 or 9 year old lasted “forever.” Life is not only short, it is actively getting shorter. Why is time accelerating? Why did a summer as a child seem so much longer than a summer as an adult? Is there a way to design our lives to reverse these trends and instead slow and expand time? Yes! John demonstrates how despite the clocks all around us, time, as we experience it, is not linear. It speeds up, slows down, freezes or disappears entirely - based on the focus, stimuli and environment in which our brains process it. John has been chasing time his whole life, first as a speed skater and cyclist, trying to compress more activity (meters, laps, miles) into less time. His obsession with time stretched into his corporate resume, where he consulted with Goldman Sachs to ready their systems for the year 2000 (Y2K), Time-Warner on instant digital offers, and Enron, where he helped build online trading systems that reduced transaction times and increased trade velocities. He continues to focus on time as an NBC commentator/analyst for the Winter Olympics and in his ongoing study of horology.

This keynote will inspire your audience to make the most of their talents, lives, and time. He will help you see "time" in a completely new, counterintuitive way. As a result of this program you will:

  • Understand the forces that govern experiential time and how cognitive biases in your brain cause time to accelerate.
  • Discover actions you can take to manipulate the cognitive biases toward time in your brain and reverse the process of time slipping away.
  • Learn how to design your life to create intense and memorable experiences that expand - even create time.

Click HERE to see John’s TED talk on Time.

Optional add-on for deeper engagement: John offers a working session to explore each of the three laws of experiential time in depth, identifying opportunities to increase breadth and depth of experiences, seek and create more moments of flow, and through a patterns analysis of each individual's most meaningful memories find ways to create "event horizon moments" that expand or even create time.


4 Movements In Time: An Exploration of the Nature of Time Via Music, Movement and Metaphor 

Part talk, part performance art, part concerto, this syncopated and coordinated sharing of piano, dance and the spoken word is all centered around the non-linear nature of experiential time. The one hour and fifteen minute performance weaves together music, art, poetry, dance and an exploration of the nature of time. Intellectual, inspiring and emotional, this is an experience like no other. Enjoy as gifted performers John K. Coyle, horologist, professor of innovation and Olympic athlete, Ani Gogova, celebrated concert pianist, and Tess Collins, modern dance professional put life, music and movement to the most common and important word in the English language: "time." 

Click HERE to see a short video of this performance (coming soon).


Innovation Leadership 2.0: Training the Leaders of Tomorrow

(Programs from 1 hour - to 2 days): If innovation is the key to successful business growth in the future, then why are we not giving the leaders of tomorrow the tools, skills, practices and knowledge to innovate? John leverages his long immersion in innovation and "Design Thinking" to create and deliver custom programs to teach leaders the innovation mindset, skills and toolsets. Potential elements:
- Cultivating a culture of innovation
- Design thinking & ideation
- Innovation antibodies (victim vs. creator)
- Innovation culture kryptonite (fixed mindset vs. growth mindsets)
- Diversity, inclusion and innovation