Robert Snyder

Robert Snyder

Robert Snyder is the founder and president of Innovation Elegance, LLC. Robert’s thirty-year career spans roles such as developer, project management, change management, sales enablement, and the performing arts. His career path includes corporate roles, consulting roles, startups, PMP, and Agile certifications. He has performed in numerous vocal, dance, and theater ensembles. Robert earned his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and his MBA in Strategy from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Robert published his first book early this year, “Innovation Elegance: Transcending Agile with Ruthlessness and Grace.” He expects to publish his second book in May, “Innovation Portfolio: Five Verbs Shape Your Team’s Legacy.”

Presentation: Innovation Elegance: A People-Centric Methodology To Solve VUCA and Improve the Job Market

Metaphors can be powerful models to persuade and shape behaviour.

At the moment, the single metaphor that best describes too many work cultures is a communication traffic jam. Day-to-day, we have meeting gridlock and messaging overload. These traffic jams make us frantic – not fast – as all moving objects in the traffic jam slow down. The traffic jams discourage innovation and discourage hiring innovation workers, which hurts the job market.

More attractive and valuable metaphors exist and are achievable. One is an expectation factory. A healthy team sets expectations and then meets those expectations. The second metaphor is an asset portfolio. A team with the right documentation reduces churn in expensive meetings. The right documentation improves the scalability, efficiency, and speed of information sharing. The right documentation combats tribal knowledge. These documents qualify as an asset portfolio. The final metaphor is the performing arts. The arts of improv, music, partner dance, and theatre are role models for collaboration, ambition, and customer-centricity. Although simplistically aiming for speed yields traffic jams, aiming for a symphony yields a sustainable speed.

This session explores how these three metaphors – and re-imagining the RACI framework – convert a culture of low discipline and empathy into a culture of high discipline and empathy. The tools (many of which you are already familiar with) convert a culture of VUCA into a culture of Elegance. The confidence of a symphony improves the confidence to innovate more, hire more, and improve the job market. It’s a bold ambition, but not a mysterious one. It’s time to solve VUCA.


  • Replace the RACI framework with Five Verbs to avoid Verb Sprawl, reduce noise, and improve the durability of teamwork
  • Adopt metaphors of an expectation factory, an asset portfolio, and the performing arts to ease communication traffic jams and shape a culture of discipline and empathy
  • Be confident that you can survive, lead, and navigate any project environment with sanity, self-respect, and psychological safety