The Idea Hunter: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make Them Happen [NOOK Book]


"Breakaway ideas come to those who are in the habit of looking for them."
?from the Introduction

Ideas are arguably the most valuable asset in an information-based economy. But how do you find the best ideas?the kind that can boost careers, change organizations, and ramp up the value of projects? Why do some people seem to come up with these ideas whenever they need them?

In this myth-busting book, the authors reveal that great business ideas ...

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The Idea Hunter: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make Them Happen

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"Breakaway ideas come to those who are in the habit of looking for them."
from the Introduction

Ideas are arguably the most valuable asset in an information-based economy. But how do you find the best ideas—the kind that can boost careers, change organizations, and ramp up the value of projects? Why do some people seem to come up with these ideas whenever they need them?

In this myth-busting book, the authors reveal that great business ideas do not spring from innate creativity, or necessarily from the minds of brilliant people. High-value ideas come to those people who are in the habit of looking for such ideas—all around them, all the time. These are the Idea Hunters. Such people do not buy into the notion that the only great idea is a pristinely original one. They know better. They understand that game-changing ideas are already out there, waiting to be spotted and then shaped into an innovation.

The authors present an eclectic band of Idea Hunters, ranging from Thomas Edison, Mary Kay Ash, and Walt Disney, to Warren Buffett, Apple's Phil Schiller, and others including the leaders of Twitter, Pixar Animation Studios, and the Boston Beer Company. These people have certain characteristics embodied in the four I-D-E-A principles (Interested, Diverse, Exercised, and Agile). They also know their gig—their personal mission, and why it matters. They don't let the organization, job, industry, or profession define their Idea Hunt. And they recognize how the world around them connects with their plans and projects.

Step by step, The Idea Hunter unveils a strategy for unearthing new ideas in any industry or organ- ization. It is a must-have resource for anyone who wants to tap into the successful business ideas that are just waiting to be rediscovered.

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  • The Idea Hunter
    The Idea Hunter  

What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"Humans make progress by discovering new ideas, but also, importantly, by repurposing the ones that already exist. Boynton and Fisher show how each of us can get better at this critical skill, identifying and reapplying existing ideas."
―Paul Romer, Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research

“Hunting is an apt metaphor.  Ideas exist everywhere in the wild. The trick is knowing where to look for them and how to capture them.  Boynton and Fischer tell us how.”
―Ron Sargent, Chairman & CEO, Staples, Inc.

“The Idea Hunter is unique.  It’s about curiosity, agility and perpetually hunting for better ideas.  It’s a must read for anyone who wants to compete and collaborate more effectively each and every day.”
―Greg Brown, President & CEO, Motorola Solutions.

“This book upends a number of persistent myths about innovation and what it takes to be an ‘idea person.’ It shows that what’s required is not spectacular creativity or remarkable IQ, but curiosity—a genuine desire to engage in a daily search for ideas.  It will help transform the way you and your business operate.”
―Jay Hooley, Chairman, President & CEO, State Street Corporation

“The Idea Hunter is not only an enjoyable read. It offers a practical method so that anyone or any firm can learn the secrets of harnessing the power of ideas to drive success.”
― Laura J. Sen, President & CEO, BJ’s Wholesale Club

“Boynton and Fischer offer powerful and practical advice on how to jump-shift the flow of ideas in your organization.  This will become required reading for any leader intent on shaping a high-performance organization.”
―Michael D. White, Chairman & CEO, DirecTV

Observe, ask questions, be curious, dare to throw odd ideas into a group’s conversation to make it better. Be an Idea Hunter!
Ton Büchner, CEO, Sulzer, Ltd

My company aims to add about $4 billion in new sales every year. This won’t be possible without everyone in the organization contributing new ideas. The Idea Hunter is an essential guide to systematically developing this critical capability.”
― Werner Geissler, Vice Chairman, Global Operations, Procter & Gamble

“Thrilling, fun, and inspiring, The Idea Hunter tells stories and discerns patterns of behavior and habits shared by the great innovators of the past century. It finds similarities among the greats ranging from Warren Buffet to Steve Jobs, and even going back earlier in the century to Walt Disney and Thomas Edison. Through brief stories and simple self-reflection exercises, this book distills the quirky essence of leading imagination in a way we can consume it, and hopefully aspire to become one with it.
― Aaron C. Sylvan, Serial Entrepreneur and Technologist (One Technology, TrustWorks, LemonadeHeroes, Sylvan Social Technology)

“We rely on using the ideas of thousands of experts to win against tough competition in a crowded market. Using The Idea Hunter as a trail map, any leader can win the daily wars of ideas that differentiate the innovator from the rest.”
―Jack Hughes, Chairman and Co-founder, TopCoder, Inc.

“Idea hunters are normal people, with a normal life in a common social contest. The only difference is that they have an open mind and are skilled in searching. This brilliant book is an ideal guide to achieve an open mind in our complex world.”
Maurizio Marinelli, Visual Artist & President of Baskerville Research Center on Communication, Bologna, Italy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118038864
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/4/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 752,445
  • File size: 499 KB

Meet the Author

Andy Boynton is the dean of the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. He was a professor of strategic leadership at IMD (International Institute for Management Development) in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he created and directed the school's highly-rated global Executive MBA program.

Bill Fischer is a professor at IMD.He previously served as dean and president of the China-Europe International Business School, a joint venture of the European Union and Chinese government, inShanghai, China.

William Bole is a journalist and a research fellow of the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics at Boston College.

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Table of Contents

Preface:Why Hunt? xi

Introduction: Brilliance Not Required 1

Already Out ere 3

Ready to Unlearn 7

1 Know Your Gig 11

The Discernment 13

The Circle of Competence 17

Gigs Matter 19

The I–D–E–A Principles


2 Be Interested, Not Just Interesting 25

Curiosity at the Trading Post 28

Learning Machines 29

Your Brain Is Open 33

DeBning Your Own Hunt 36



3 Diversifying the Hunt 47

The Color of Your Ideas 49

WhenWeak Ties Are Strong 51

Widening Your Intellectual Bandwidth 54

Bridging DistantWorlds 58

Ideas Are Everywhere 61



4 Mastering the Habits of the Hunt 71

The Practice of Ideas 73

Begin with an Eye 75

Observing at the Ritz 77

Erecting a Personal Platform of Observation 80

Write It Down 83

Get It Moving 86

Observe Yourself 88



5 Idea Flow Is Critical 101

The Case of the Guitar Strings 104

Creating Idea Spaces at Pixar 106

Finding the "Informal Bosses" 110

Letting Ideas Percolate 112

When It's Time to "Kill" Ideas 115


6 Create Great Conversations 129

"Continuers" and "Terminators" 132

The Value of a Naive Question 136

Preparing for the Big Conversation 138

Epilogue: Thoreau and the I-D-E-A Assessment 143

References 151

Acknowledgments 161

About the Authors 165

Index 167

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Lone geniuses who hide away pondering in ivory towers seldom exp

    Lone geniuses who hide away pondering in ivory towers seldom experience those “Aha!” moments when the proverbial lightbulb switches on above their heads. The people who develop the most innovative concepts are “idea hunters,” who constantly search for pre-existing ideas they can adapt to their own ends. Management school dean Andy Boynton, professor Bill Fischer and journalist William Bole tell illuminating tales of successful idea hunters and explain – albeit with a bit of repetition – how real innovators generate great ideas; they hunt and gather. getAbstract recommends these stories and techniques to anyone seeking creative solutions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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