What Inspires Innovation? An Interview With ImageThink CEO, Nora Herting

ImageThink co founder Nora Herting scribes for al gore at sxsw 2015
ImageThink co-founder & CEO graphic records for Al Gore at SXSW.

What is the critical difference in how ImageThink works?

Innovative thinking is at the core of ImageThink, from our inception, to our organizational structure, to the ways we collaborate with our client base.  

When I co-founded ImageThink 10 years ago, graphic recording was just starting to become more widely recognized as the valuable tool for strategic thinking that it is. And while in the early 2000s, there were several graphic recorders working on a freelance basis, ImageThink was one of the first dedicated graphic recording firms to offer 360 degree support to clients from both a management and execution perspective. That in itself was quite an innovation in the graphic recording field, and we are still growing and developing the ways that we collaborate with our clients today.

ImageThink graphic recordings at a small brainstorm meeting.
Graphic recording gives us a window into fascinating industries, and keeps us all learning and mentally nimble.

What inspires you to innovate at ImageThink?

One thing that inspires me to stay innovative is the passionate, intelligent, and collaborative team I’m privileged to work with. As a small company, each individual has the ability to leverage multiple modes of thinking at once—from project managing to executing—that always keeps us on our toes and keeps us collaborating. 

But if innovative thinking was the impetus for ImageThink, it’s also the reason our clients choose to continue to work with us.  Our clients turn to us to infuse their strategy sessions and brainstorms with a creative approach to difficult problems. One of our core values is ‘Curiosity’- which I believe is the catalyst for all creativity. Being curious about our clients, their challenges and our own processes ensures that we stay at pace with our marquee clients, who are consistently making breakthroughs.

How has that inspiration moved the needle/generated success for your company?

We owe our success to this clientele base of curious and exploratory thinkers. Our earliest adopters, technology companies like Google and marketing firms like Ogilvy, were part of industries where staying ahead of trends is key to survival and growth.

From 2009 to today, our roster of clients has grown to include many Fortune 50 companies across industries, from technology and pharmaceuticals, to marketing and advertising, to education and retail. I’m very grateful to the support of our clients, and to have the opportunity to be in the room with some truly incredible entrepreneurial minds. With every meeting we support, we learn something new from our clients, and bring those new insights and inspirations back to the team.

It’s an incredible feeling to know that as we help our clients achieve their strategic goals, we are also gaining new knowledge and insights in return.

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