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RIDG: Royal Innovation Design Group – From Whiteboard to Reality

August 29, 2016

Michelle Royal, Founder and CEO at RIDG, has her origins in a very unusual background. Michelle was born and raised in Arkansas in a modest upbringing where both of her parents were hard-working entrepreneurs, working as many as three jobs at a time to make ends meet. Her father was a personified entrepreneur, chasing one big wild idea after another that was going to be “the one”. For every wild idea her father had, her mother had a system that was able to translate that idea into reality. One day, they finally landed on the opportunity of a lifetime, owning and operating the first Subway Sandwich restaurant in Arkansas, one of only 300 total in the United States and the world. Michelle grew up and observed the ongoing-scaled innovation systems inherent in the Subway Franchise system as it expanded to be the global franchise phenomenon of over 42,000 stores worldwide. Michelle grew up in that franchise system and her parents personified the American Dream rags-to-riches story.

The only person in her family to attend college, Michelle studied art and psychology because she fervently believed that everyone is innately creative and it is our responsibility to use our creativity to better the world. Her idea was to help people navigate the use of creative processes to unlock transformative change. Like her father, she followed one wild idea after another throughout her career development until she found her vehicle for success.

Michelle encountered her “A ha!” moment while volunteering at the 2006 Sarasota International Design Summit. It was at this conference, surrounded by many influential innovators, that she found her tribe of people and true passion — using innovation to unlock an individual’s potential and create lasting change. She recognized that everyone in the world had the capacity to trigger their innovative power…they only needed the knowledge.

After being inspired at the conference, Michelle founded and became the sole proprietor of a company called, “How Do You Innovate?” She was exploring and answering the question of how to innovate personally and professionally in business and diverse economic ecosystems. Within a short time, Michelle began to do more innovation consulting which led her to work with the European Union (EU) on an economic development project as the Leading Innovation Coach.

Upon the completion of this project, Michelle returned to the U.S. where she hit a mental bump in the road. She was held back by her own fears and tried to package herself within a traditional context of consulting. Despite this setback, she used the innovation process to return to her original skillset, regaining her focus, embracing her niche and beginning to visualize ideas for others. This breakthrough in 2013 led to Michelle founding RIDG (Royal Innovation Design Group) powered by the mission to build better innovators.

RIDG focuses on design thinking and innovation processes to help companies shape, visualize and tell transformative stories driving the necessary change to simultaneously grow people and profits. Because companies are trying to provide seamless transition during complex changes, you will rarely see RIDG’s work meet the public eye. The team at RIDG assists companies dealing with complex problems or facing multifaceted change. The complex reality can cause people and organizations to get stuck in old beliefs and systems. RIDG is able to help companies clarify their overall story or internal message by constructing clear, positive outcomes and unlocking the potential to collectively lead the company to success.

Michelle believes that innovators already exist within a company, household, or community; it is only a matter of unlocking the problem-solving power through targeted techniques. Some of the tools and resources that RIDG uses are design thinking, visual facilitation, graphic recording and Michelle’s 20 years of experience helping companies and communities innovate. Michelle explains that visuals are sixty-six thousand times faster than text because they tap into the brain’s unconscious and subconscious. These visual processes and products pay silent dividends on daily behavior creating the exponential results companies are seeking. As Michelle says, “It is like having a goal to land on the moon and your company can either be a snail or a rocketship.”

The process works. Approximately 50% of RIDG’s clients experience a doubling of revenue through their targeted, proven process for innovation. The most powerful aspect about RIDG is the passion of its team who is committed to the application. The concept is to take ideas from whiteboard to reality – putting innovation into a realized idea in order to inspire a team’s fireside chat and turning it into a bonfire for the community.

Learn more about RIDG: Royal Innovation Design Group by following them on Twitter and

Linkedin or liking RIDG on Facebook!

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This post was written by Elevate, Inc.

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