Najja is principal and founder at Phoenix Innovation Group, LLC, Buffalo, New York. To the community at large P.I.G. is home to strategic innovation, creativity tools and techniques, and soft-skill training. Phoenix Innovation Group powers a soft-skill incubator expressively titled The Burnward. At-The Burnward, all perspectives, attitudes and collaborators have a safe space to get it “wrong” for the benefit of growth, insight and progression. With an open-door policy; creatives, innovators, managers and those looking for wild and crazy ideas can drop to experience the “burn” of transformation. Najja is truly a gifted consultant and facilitator. He possesses affectionate skills that many find difficult to own, hone, and or teach. Steeped in strategic planning, design thinking, awe-inspiring storytelling, and transformational management consulting, Najja leads with service from a creative mindset.
As an adjunct lecturer in State University of New York at Buffalo State, he teaches courses in Creative Problem-Solving and Mastering the Academic Environment. In addition, to teaching he has consulted with and for such organizations as Roger Firestien Creativity Consulting, Know Innovation, Innovate Faster, National Science Foundation, University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, University at Buffalo Law School, UB Educational Opportunity Program, North Pennsylvania Episcopalian Diocese, State University of New York Buffalo State Equity & Campus Diversity, and International Pathways Program. Other clients have included Aloma Johnson Charter School, Positive Ladies United Striving for Excellence, Urban Equity Management Group, SereniTea and numerous other service-industry, government and business clients across North America. Najja’s background is immensely diverse. He volunteers his time with mentorship and facilitation to college students, Upward Bound, University College Program, and Buffalo Public Schools, to name a few. P.I.G. is currently sponsoring three classrooms within Buffalo Public Schools. He is a proud veteran of the United States Air Force, where he served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Najja is decorated with several awards, medals and coins. In his spare time, Najja likes to travel, study patterns of history, writing, boxing, reading and cooking. Najja hails from the lower East Side of Buffalo, New York. His greatest passion and inspiration for integrity, service and enterprising excellence is being an active father to his marvelous son, Najja Akeem.
Dear colleagues and community,
It can be difficult to know who’s services to recommend when friends, family, clients, or patients experience burnout, idea-fatigue, poverty-of-thought, of sheer creative problem-solving skill deficits. Enriching those soft science–skills requires a high level of knowledge, imagination, and evaluation. Similar services use generic, or out-of touch approaches to evaluation and enrichment. We believe that it is important for Phoenix Innovation Group to reach out to our community, and describe our approach to creative problem solving and creative thinking. Our facilitators are here to guide you through this process, your process, while encouraging you to be yourself–and contribute to said learning process. We describe our approach in this way:
–A thorough assessment produces the precise cause of mechanical manifestations and a large collection of findings to accurately describe the lack of creativity, the type of press (environment), and how this atrophy in creativity/creative thinking affects the holism of the individual –The implementation plan is personalized to each creative (individual) using high value facilitation and consultation methods for that creative’s specific findings. Every session is handled as a challenge as well, continually updating the collection of findings.
CRIG Strategies always include 4 things: • Creativity fanning: everyone is creative and possesses the ability to develop the problem-solving skills that are essential in your personal and professional lives. Through the recognition of your own creative potential, self-reflection, skill development, and the planning for your future; it is our mission to equip you with skills and tools that will aid you in empowering yourself to lead life charged-up. Again, creativity is a natural life skill! It is learnable, teachable, and able to be deliberately developed further through creativity training and creative problem-solving learnings. • Resilience education: informing the creative on the process of adapting-well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. It means “bouncing-back” from difficult experiences. • Imagination the-rap-u-takes: (pronounced therapeutics) contemporary, evidence-based programming progressively increases the creative’s tolerance to ambiguity and restores confidence with use. Here, we 1) catalog the creative’s memories, experiences and perceptions, 2) take ownership of the creative’s story by accepting personal responsibility and changing the narrative, 3) dig-deeper into the creative’s feelings and triggers, 4) gain a perspective of “wins & losses”–viewing hardship as “trial and learn” to be greater, 5) deliberately exploit divergent thinking for a sustained positive attitude and thinking. • Grit advancement: influences the creative’s overall quality of work. It is their mental commitment to excellence. Grit is defined as “behavioral persistence in the face of adversity, and sustained, passionate pursuit of goals.” (Duckworth, 2016) It’s often said that grit and growth mindset go hand-in-hand. In a growth mindset, “people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work–brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” (Dweck, 2015)
Exercise methods most commonly used:
⁃ Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS)
⁃ Stick’em Up Brainstorming ⁃ Brainwriting ⁃ POINt : Pluses, Opportunities, Issues, and New thinking ⁃ PPCo: Pluses, Potentials, & Concerns (overcoming concerns) ⁃ Reframing Problems ⁃ Assistors and Resistors ⁃ Appreciative Inquiry ⁃ Storyboarding ⁃ Strategic Planning ⁃ Design Thinking ⁃ Intrinsic and Extrinsic Values Ground rules for creative thinking: Divergence: ⁃ Defer judgment ⁃ Strive for quantity ⁃ Seek wild and unusual ideas ⁃ Build on other ideas ⁃ Incubation Convergence: ⁃ Be Affirmative ⁃ Be deliberate ⁃ Check objectives ⁃ Improve ideas ⁃ Consider novelty Other: ⁃ Exploration of Human Capital (i.e., cultural, social, relationship, experiential, scholastic), and how it impacts the creative’s life and finances. ⁃ “Credentializing” (the act of placing another’s work history, life history, or educational credential, over one’s own diversity, as validity or credibility)
If you would like to meet with me, or would like to contact me for any reason, my contact information is noted below. If you call, please leave a message if the call is not answered. Thank you!
Najja A. Bouldin, MS Creativity Strategist | Management Consultant
Phoenix Innovation Group’s “The Burnward” Buffalo’s Premier Soft-Skill Incubator 128 Pearl Street Suite 1, Buffalo, NY 14202 www.phoenixinnovationgroup.com
The more I learn, the more I understand that I know nothing at all.
My son, Najja. He’s a living example of raw creativity. His imagination and dreams inspire me, daily.
Soft (science) skill incubation
Making plan A work
That I’m highly creative.
CRIG Strategies (creativity, resilience, imagination, and grit-strategies)