Return on Ideas: A Practical Guide to Making Innovation Pay / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $19.97
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 66%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (8) from $19.97   
  • New (4) from $29.44   
  • Used (4) from $19.97   


David Nichols has written a practical guide to getting more, higher quality new ideas from all the resources you put into your innovation process. return on Ideas gives you tools, techniques and process to upgrade the way you tackle innovation, illustrated with examples from companies such as You! Sushi, Apple, Vodafone, Unilever, P&G, Danone, American Express and Ben & Jerry's.

The book sets out why innovation funnels are stifling new ideas, and offers a new methodology, rocketing, to tackle the problem. This is laid out in practical terms covering:

  • Simple Process: a four stage 'rocket' approach that builds and improves on existing processes, rather than throwing them out
  • Pragmatic Tools: for each stage simple, practical tools are given, with examples, for you to put to work immediately in your own company
  • Pitfalls to Avoid: no process is flawless and the key innovation pitfalls are highlighted with simple avoidance techniques to help you stay on the path to great new ideas

Return on Ideas is an ideal accompaniment to the other brandgym books: the Brandgym, Brand Stretch, and Brand Vision, all by David Taylor.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470028575
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/11/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 7.76 (w) x 9.61 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

David Nichols is a marketing coach who “makes us feel like we can achieve everything we want” according to one of his global brand director clients. He teamed up with David Taylor in 2006 to become a Managing Partner of the brandgym, a consultancy that coaches teams to create a clear brand vision and the action plan to turn this into growth. He has led brand vision and innovation projects for many global companies and brands including Castrol, Vodafone, Unilever and Cadburys.
David is the author of “Brands & Gaming: The computer gaming phenomenon and its impact on brands and business” published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2005, cataloguing the rise and rise of a new global cultural phenomenon that is going to change the marketing landscape forever.
He started his career at OC&C Strategy consultants, moving on to the marketing consultancy Added Value where he spent 11 years rising to be Managing Director of the UK, including stints in Paris and as MD in Australia.
David has written and produced three full scale musicals and managed a professional improv troupe, The Impro Musical, working with Tony Slattery, Eddie Izzard and Greg Proops.
He has a first class degree in Aerospace Engineering from Bristol University and in his spare time is an aerobatic pilot.
Contact David at

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

About the Author xiii

Acknowledgements xv

1. This is getting us nowhere 1

What is the problem? The Funnel 1

2. How to navigate this book 5

Segmenting users 7

PART I: The Case Study 11

3. The Calippo Shots story 13

Headlines 13

The Ice Cream scene 14

Starting with a clear vision 15

Generate lots of high quality ideas 16

Quickly getting down to the best ideas 18

Building the best ideas into winning mixes 19

After launch 20

Key takeouts 20

Handover 21

PART II: The Challenge 23

4. Innovation isn't working 25

Headlines 25

Innovation's the thing 25

Innovation isn't 28

Funnels Don't Work 29

Ten ways funnels stifle innovation 32

A dizzying conclusion 46

Key takeouts 53

Checklist: Is innovation being stifled by your funnel? 53

Handover 54

PART III: The Core Idea 55

5. A new innovation paradigm: The Rocket Motor 57

Headlines 57

Innovation is, in fact, Rocket science 58

Key takeouts 66

Handover 67

6. Rocketing: Destination 69

Headlines 69

Being clear 69

Hamster-wheeling 73

Begin with the end in mind 74

Key takeouts 91

Checklist : Destination 91

Handover 92

7. Rocketing: Combustion 93

Headlines 93

Not enough good ideas 93

7.1 Continuous Insight Fuel 95

From insight to fuel 95

360-degree Insight 96

360-degree Insight Sources 97

7.2 Multiple Ignition In Parallel 110

Igniting the insight fuel 110

Parallel processing 110

Lisa and Mac 114

Practical Ignition Tools 115

7.3 3 Bucket Principle 128

What it is 128

Grave-robbing 131

7.4 Coda: A whole year view of Innovation 134

The 15% rule 134

Your typical year 134

Key takeouts 136

Checklist: Combustion 137

Handover 137

8. Rocketing: Nozzle 139

Headlines 139

From Whittle to 'Wow' 139

Picking winners is a lottery 140

Show business: Theatre Rules 143

Poor external screening 150

Show business: Idea Power 150

Key takeouts 157

Checklist: Nozzle 157

Handover 158

9. Rocketing: Expander 159

Headlines 159

Keeping positive 159

Innovation Antibodies 160

Expand not evaluate 161

Be a builder not a knocker 162

Execution is everything 170

Get real feedback 170

Launch then tweak 176

Key Takeouts 177

Checklist: Combustion 177

Handover 178

PART IV: The Entertainment 179

10. Ten innovations that make it look easy 181

Innovation shortcuts 181

New brands are innovations too 182

The 10 Innovations 183

PART V: The Practicalities 205

11. Doing it faster 207

Headlines 207

It always takes longer than you want it to 208

Case Study: Project Blues for Unilever Foods 209

The Approach 209

Plan in decisions 210

Smaller teams 212

Parallel Ideation 214

Real-time insight 216

Fast agencies 217

Blues: The result 218

Key takeouts 218

Checklist: Doing it faster 218

Handover 219

12. Avoiding the pitfalls 221

Headlines 221

Pitfalls and Pratfalls 222

Nine innovation pitfalls 223

No. 1: Oops, the product is useless 223

No. 2: 'Not invented here' syndrome 226

No. 3: The 'could it be. . .?' killer 229

No. 4: Over-testing 231

No. 5: Killing by proxy 233

No. 6: The off-guard boss 235

No. 7: 'Yes, but. . .' 237

No. 8: Poor casting 238

No. 9: Giving up 240

Handover 242

Appendix: Rocketing toolkit 243

Index 255

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)