Creative Strategy: A Guide For Innovation


William Duggan's 2007 book, Strategic Intuition, showed how innovation really happens in business and other fields and how that matches what modern neuroscience tells us about how creative ideas form in the human mind. In his new book, Creative Strategy, Duggan offers a step-by-step guide to help individuals and organizations put that same method to work for their own innovations.

Duggan's book solves the most important problem of how innovation actually happens. Other methods ...

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Creative Strategy: A Handbook for Innovation

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William Duggan's 2007 book, Strategic Intuition, showed how innovation really happens in business and other fields and how that matches what modern neuroscience tells us about how creative ideas form in the human mind. In his new book, Creative Strategy, Duggan offers a step-by-step guide to help individuals and organizations put that same method to work for their own innovations.

Duggan's book solves the most important problem of how innovation actually happens. Other methods of creativity, strategy, and innovation explain how to research and analyze a situation, but they don't guide toward the next step: developing a creative idea for what to do. Or they rely on the magic of "brainstorming" -- just tossing out ideas. Instead, Duggan shows how creative strategy follows the natural three-step method of the human brain: breaking down a problem into parts and then searching for past examples to create a new combination to solve the problem. That's how innovation really happens.

Duggan explains how to follow these three steps to innovate in business and any other field as an individual, a team, or a whole company. The crucial middle step -- the search for past examples -- takes readers beyond their own brain to a "what-works scan" of what others have done within and outside of the company, industry, and country. It is a global search for good ideas to combine as a new innovation. Duggan illustrates creative strategy through real-world cases of innovation that use the same method: from Netflix to Edison, from Google to Henry Ford. He also shows how to integrate creative strategy into other methods you might currently use, such as Porter's Five Forces or Design Thinking. Creative Strategy takes the mystery out of innovation and puts it within your grasp.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Columbia Business School lecturer Duggan’s follow-up to his 2007 book, Strategic Intuition, is a practical guide to a “big idea about innovation,” aimed at individuals working by themselves, on teams, or in the context of a whole organization. The real difficulty with innovation is not the execution, but coming up with great ideas in the first place. Duggan uses the neuroscience of innovation to describe the brain’s “learning-and-memory” process of analysis to come up with the best new ideas, and to break down the process step by step—applying the strategic intuition of the previous book in a systematic way to solve problems. The process is broken into three stages: problem identification; the “what-works scan,” a survey of how others have solved the same problem; and “creative combination,” which analyzes that process to arrive at a solution. Duggan politely but determinedly critiques the management tools selected by Bain & Co. for its annually compiled top 10 list, describing the pros and cons of various methods and why his is superior. A slim but persuasive guide to innovative thinking. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Dec.)
James E. Schrager

Bill Duggan tackles the toughest part of the strategy process, the piece you can't find elsewhere: creating the new innovations that power and revitalize great organizations. For everyone who wants to make an impact, for those who want to lead, for those charged with making organizations work, you won't find this material anywhere else. If you read just one business book this year, make it this one -- because this one has a process you can apply immediately in your own organization.

Ken Favaro

There is a crisis in corporate innovation. Every company wants more of it, but few companies are happy with what they're getting. The answer? Stop brainstorming, stop ideating, no more two-day offsites: instead, read and use this book.

Glenn Hubbard

Bill Duggan has done it again. In Creative Strategy he has focused on 'what works' in generating innovation, the key to business prosperity and rising national living standards. By blending analysis and creativity -- and insights from psychology and neuroscience -- Duggan offers a formal method for generating innovation. Creative strategy will join the big ideas that have framed the study of management in the past generation. This well-written and interesting book is a 'must read' for executives and strategy thinkers.

Steve Kerr

Books on strategy and innovation tend to be of two types. Either they present theories and models that are hard to put into practice or they offer accounts of success stories that are easy to admire but nearly impossible to replicate. This book is different. It is replete with fascinating examples of things that worked, yet the examples are accompanied by clear, practical explanations of why they worked and, more important, how readers can apply the underlying principles and techniques in their own settings.

NY Creative Interns - Steph Lippitt

With this book, you too can learn how to be a spearhead of innovation.

Library Journal
Duggan (Columbia Business Sch.; Strategic Intuition) begins with an outline of his creative strategy: to appraise your problem rapidly; look for ways other companies and industries have solved parts of your problem (he calls this the “what-works scan”); and combine those effective methods in new ways. It’s a refreshingly simple methodology, easy to understand, and doesn’t require the complex diagrams that are present in so many strategy how-tos. In the second half of the book, Duggan provides his critique of other popular methods for innovation including brainstorming, design thinking, etc. This makes the book useful for those implementing his method, as well as those adapting his practices into their current workplace. He refers to best sellers from past years, listed in a narrative sources section, in addition to a comprehensive bibliography.

Verdict This is not an edge-of-your-seat read, but Duggan makes a clear case for his method of creating innovation.—Sarah Statz Cords, Reader’s Advisor Online, Middleton, WI(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231160520
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/4/2012
  • Series: Columbia Business School Publishing Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 539,572
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

William Duggan is senior lecturer in business at Columbia Business School, where he teaches creative strategy in graduate and executive courses. He has given talks and workshops on creative strategy to thousands of executives from companies in countries around the world. His most recent book, Strategic Intuition, was named Best Strategy Book of 2007 by Strategy + Business.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I Creative Strategy from the Inside 5

1 From Mind to Method 7

2 Precedents 16

3 What's the Problem? 22

4 Where Do We Look? 32

5 Creative Combination 40

6 Resolution 46

7 Get Organized 53

8 Kinds of Innovation 59

Part II Creative Strategy from the Outside 71

9 Brainstorming 73

10 Top Ten 77

11 Creative 88

12 Strategy 111

Part III References 131

Creative Strategy at a Glance 133

Sources 144

Acknowledgments 153

Bibliography 155

Index 159

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