Book of the Month

Innovation

“Radical simplicity – powerful force for change – We live in a world today where you can’t compete and fulfill impossible dreams unless you’re not able to bring the best out of your employees. For the first time since the industrial revolution you can’t build a company that is fit for the future unless you build a company that is fit for human beings. Just admit it, management as it has been practiced over the last millenniums has not been human friendly.

Look around you at the people you know and I promise you that they are more innovative, adaptable, flexible and more engaging than your organization is. Isn’t this odd, that our companies are less human than we are?

But there are beautiful exceptions and the Tata group is one of them. The authors of the book has truly captured the Nano car’s innovation process and describes  how the Tata group during the process had to handle road-blocks, detours, potholes and the struggle to break free from their own “prison of mind”, just to gain an open state of mind.

Nanovation is a beautiful story about an impossible dream in the service of an altruistic cause that came true. It’s a truly inspiring story that is telling us that business can be combined with altruism.

EinsteinDiva, Innovation Management Evangelist (www.einsteindiva.com)

More information about the book and the authors:

http://www.nanovationbook.com/

Earlier Book Reviews

Innovation to the Core

Straightforward to the Core – Innovation nowadays tops corporate agendas. But despite all the talk and enthusiasm about the importance of innovation, managers have so far found little help for innovating in a systematic way that fuels constant growth and sustained success.

Innovation to the Core is straightforward and gives the reader lots of important insights and the authors are doing that in a delicate way.  This is a great guide for every corporation who wants to grow and be more competitive, I strongly recommend it.”

EinsteinDiva, Innovation Management Evangelist (www.einsteindiva.com)

An Innovation Library Must Have – A few weeks ago I received “Innovation to the Core” by Rowan Gibson and Peter Skarzynski (with an introuction by Gary Hamel) in the mail. “Innovation to the Core” weighs in at 295 pages, but it is an easy, and pleasant read. The book is full of a lot of great material, and the influence of Gary Hamel is evident in several of the chapters.

The book starts with a premise that I agree with, which is that too many companies view innovation as a specialized activity to be handled by specialists – in much the same way that people viewed the quality movement in its early days. Now of course companies endeavor to embed quality throughout the entire organization and seek to make it a core competency. The same thing now needs to happen with innovation in organizations that want to be able to both sustain themselves and win in the long term:

“Despite the gargantuan nature of the challenge, building a deep, systemic capability for innovation is now the inescapable imperative for every company – as important to an organization’s success and survival as the quality movement was in its day.”

To create the preconditions for systemic innovation you have to:

1.Create time and space for reflection, ideation, and experimentation
2.Maximize the diversity of thinking
3.Foster connection and conversation (“combinational chemistry”)

Before reading this book, I’ve been trying to convince people that insights are more important than ideas and that the quality of a company’s insights and execution are what will differentiate the winners from the losers in today’s marketplace. This insights conversation has always been difficult because people always want to jump to the ideas – thinking that the idea is king.

It was refreshing to see that the authors of “Innovation to the Core” also feel that successful and sustainable innovation starts with the insight, and so Chapter 3 is all about building a foundation of novel strategic insights predicated on “Four Lenses of Innovation”:

1.Challenging Orthodoxies
2.Harnessing Discontinuities
3.Leveraging Competencies and Strategic Assets
4.Understanding Unarticulated Needs

There are additional ways to generate insights to build sustainable innovation on, but these are a good starting point, and Chapter 3 by itself makes a purchase of this book worthwhile.

Once you identify the insights you are going to build on, then you can get on with producing a torrent of new product or service ideas and even attempt to innovate across the business model. One other key distinction that the book makes is that innovation doesn’t have to be risky, and that when you look at your innovation portfolio, you should have a balance of ideas with differing levels of potential impact on the industry.

Timing is incredibly important to successful innovation too – both in terms of determining when to ask the right questions but also when to ramp up the level of investment in an idea. Ramp up the financial investment too soon and you may doom the project to failure from accumulating losses and progress that can’t be accelerated by greater financial commitment. But, ramp up the financial investment too late and someone else may beat you to the market. The key is to identify which barriers to successful development can be accelerated by increased spending, and which can’t.

I also liked how the authors of this book allocated some of this book to the importance of the demand side of the innovation equation. Companies that focus only on generating a greater number of innovation ideas without creating the conditions that increase the desire and capabilities of managers to develop an increasing number of innovation ideas, will face a higher chance of innovation failure over the long term.

Taken all together I found “Innovation to the Core” to be an interesting and important read for any manager looking to gain a deeper understanding of what’s required for creating systemic innovation. The book was worth the time investment.

To view our three-part interview with Rowan Gibson, please visit [..] (Amazon review, March 18, 2010)”

Braden Kelley,  (www.blogginginnovation.com)

More information about the book:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1422102513/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

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Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire(Book of the Month – October 2010) is a non-stop enjoyable ride. Braden Kelley has truly captured the essence of how to work with innovation, not only in a theoretical but also in a practical way. The author’s holistic approach on how to build and diffuse visions, strategies, goals and insights throughout the organization is an excellent example on how to implement and create an organizational culture where all employees participate to make their organization to become more innovative

Mr. Kelley delivers the proper medicine on how to overcome typical organizational blockages to innovation, which can be found within a company’s vision, strategy, goals and insights
All the useful “hands on” strategies and real-life examples lifts the book to a higher dimension.

Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire is a great resource for both experts and novice in the field of innovation. Add this book to your collection and you will have a tool that helps your organization make innovation sustainable.”

EinsteinDiva, Innovation Management Evangelist (www.einsteindiva.com)

“Braden Kelley has delivered a book that helps people move innovation from theory into practice. Given our experience innovating with clients over the past 40 years, I believe Stoking Your Innovation
Bonfi re shares many useful strategies and case studies showcasing what works. Most importantly, the book helps managers identify and address the barriers to innovation within their organization—a
crucial step toward making sustainable change.”

—Mark Bernstein, CEO of PARC (www.parc.com)

“Braden Kelley has been able to abstract the realities of innovation in his book. This is not theory or science fi ction; it is about valuable lessons from real-life examples that those in charge of innovation
should be aware of if they want to design winning strategies.”

—Moises Norena, Director of Global Innovation, Whirlpool Corporation

“Braden Kelley helps to demystify innovation, helping readers to understand how to deliver strong and sustainable yield from their innovation efforts. Stoking Your Innovation Bonfi re is a great
primer for any organization focused on advancing its approach to innovation.”

—Joe Boggio, Director of Innovation, U.S. Commercial Sector

More information about the book:

http://www.business-strategy-innovation.com/wordpress/stoking-your-innovation-bonfire/

http://www.amazon.com/Stoking-Your-Innovation-Bonfire-Sustainable/dp/0470621672/ref=cm_rna_own_review_img

Subscribe to Einsteindiva.com and you will have the opportunity to win the book of the month!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

einsteindiva.com October 31, 2010 at 17:13

Congratulations Ornerud D!

You are the winner of the book of the month – October 2010

Reply

einsteindiva.com December 25, 2010 at 17:07

Congrats Hannah Toes! You are the winner of Book of the Month. Please email me your address and I will send a copy of Gibson’s book, Innovation to the Core.

Reply

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